Grown throughout the Mediterranean for centuries, carignane has been planted in California since the 1870s. When low-yielding vines are matched to the right soil, it produces delicious wine. Despite unseasonably cool temperatures in June and July, these meticulously-tended, head pruned vines in northern Sonoma County ripened fully with September’s heat. After separately fermenting the vineyard’s four parcels, we chose the Top block, richest and most intense, for this wine. Aged twelve months in air-dried american oak, its moderate tannins, brisk acidity, and fresh fruit have integrated beautifully. It is meant to be enjoyed young, and will be at its best over the next three or four years.
Stan Buchignani’s ranch is located on Dutcher Creek Road, in the hills on the far western edge of the Alexander Valley appellation. The majority of the vineyard’s carignane was planted in the 1940s. Stan’s grandfather, Dominico Cerruti, planted the first block in 1927; his father, Dino, planted the last in the early 1950s. The vineyard’s climate bears a strong resemblance to that of upper Dry Creek Valley, three miles to the south, where days are warm. Fog, which tends to hang low in the valley, burns off sooner in the hills. Carignane from Buchignani is complex; its fine structure much like that of a field-blend zinfandel.
Rainfall: 40 inches (above average)
Bloom: Late May
Weather: Wet spring and a typical cool summer with no sustained heat spells
Grapes: Average Brix 23.8˚
Fermentation: Natural primary and secondary. Pressed at seven days.
Barrels: Air-dried american oak barrels (15% new, 45% one and two years old, 40% three to five years old).
Aging: Twelve months in barrel
All grapes hand harvested, destemmed, and crushed. Fermented on the native yeasts, followed by a full malolactic on the naturally occurring bacteria. Minimum effective sulfur (35 ppm at crush, 70 ppm over the course of aging). Pad filtered at bottling. In keeping with our philosophy of minimal intervention, this is the sum of our actions.
Average Rating: 89.7
No. of Tasting Notes: 58
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