57% Zinfandel, 42% Carignane, 1% Petite Sirah
Mazzoni Home Ranch
Medium garnet. Ripe cherry and raspberry fruits, mint, sweet oak. Ripe red cherries on entry; juicy acid, gravelly mineral, mint; round tannins in a long finish.
A long, cool growing season requires special care in the vineyard. We harvested a small crop in late September. Grapes from five nineteenth-century parcels (and one young parcel) were crushed into separate tanks for natural yeast fermentation. After pressing, uninoculated malolactics quickly ensued, completing within three weeks. Tasting for assemblage, we excluded the young vines, combined the rest, and racked to american oak barrels for aging. Wonderfully intense aromas supported a slight increase in new oak, enhancing the dimension of flavors. This wine exemplifies why we have a deep love of old vines. It’s superbly complex, rich in structure—and at moderate ripeness! It is a wine to enjoy in any season, and will be at its best over the next six to eight 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 younger zinfandel vines.
Rainfall: 40 inches (above average)
Bloom: Late May
Weather: Young vines: all zinfandel, planted 1990s, two acres.
Old vines: mixed zinfandel, petite sirah, carignane, planted c. 1900, eight acres.
Harvest Date: 19 – 26 September
Grapes: Average Brix 24.0˚
Fermentation: Full crush, floating cap, in small three ton fermentors. Pressed at seven days.
Aging: 100% air-dried american oak barrels: (22% new, 32% two and three years old, and 46% four years old)
Time in barrel: Fourteen and a half 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; minimum effective sulfur for this wine (35 ppm at crush; 82 ppm over the course of aging); 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: 89.9
No. of Tasting Notes: 52
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