51% Carignane, 48% Zinfandel, 1% Petite Sirah
Mazzoni Home Ranch
Aromas of plum, chutney, wintergreen, and cherry jam. On entry there are intense flavors of sweet tart red cherry and fresh mint. Youthful with juicy acid and chalky tannins in a long finish.
Heavy winter rainfall saturated these gravelly soils, providing abundant water to the deep-rooted old vines. An unseasonably cool summer slowed ripening, but warm weather arrived in late August, and vineyard sampling began in early September; four parcels were picked on the seventeenth, the final two on September 20. Natural yeasts carried out a vigorous fermentation in five-ton open-top tanks. Rapid extraction of color and tannin led to pressing on day five, and uninoculated malolactic progressed slowly in tank. The assembled wine was then racked to barrel, where it finished in June. This year’s selection includes those parcels heavily interplanted with carignane. Sixteen months in american oak barrels has softened tannins, and brought excellent integration. This fine wine will continue to develop over the next seven to nine years.
Giuseppe Mazzoni and his fourteen-year-old brother-in-law, Abramo Trusendi, arrived from Italy in 1898 and went straight to work at the Italian Swiss Colony vineyard cooperative in Asti, California. In 1899, the two managed to acquire hillside acreage nearby overlooking Alexander Valley from the west. By 1910 they had built a winery and begun making wine. Except for the Prohibition years, the Mazzoni family produced wine there until 1978. They were great believers in the contribution each varietal in a field blend could make to the finished wine. Accordingly, their century-old zinfandel is interplanted with carignane, which adds elegance and lively acidity, and petite sirah, which provides spice and depth. The Mazzoni Home Ranch was purchased in 1988 by Niccolo and Flora Oltranti. They have replanted parts of the abandoned hillside, and in some years we will include a small amount from these young zinfandel vines.
Rainfall: 42 inches (above average)
Bloom: Late May
Weather: Cool, late spring; cold summer; two days of damaging heat in late August that cut yields in half and was followed by a long, mild fall.
Harvest Date: 17 – 30 September
Grapes: Average Brix 25.0˚
Fermentation: Full crush, floating cap, daily pump-overs. Pressed at five days.
Aging: 100% air-dried american oak barrels (5% new, 95% two
Time in barrel: Sixteen months
All Mazzoni Home Ranch grapes, hand harvested; destemmed and crushed; fermented on the native yeasts, followed by full malolactic on the naturally-occurring bacteria; 3.2% water addition (added to two particularly ripe parcels); 0.33 g/L calcium carbonate (to moderate unusually high natural acidity) minimum effective sulfur for this wine (35ppm at crush; 91ppm over the course of aging), 9 fresh egg whites per barrel (to soften tannins); oak from barrel aging; pad filtered at bottling. In keeping with our philosophy of minimal intervention, this is the sum of our actions.
Average Rating: 90.6
No. of Tasting Notes: 46
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