San Louis Obispo County
Garnet color; cherry, strawberry-rhubarb, oak spice; sweet bramble entry, medium body, soft tannins, balanced acid, attractive oak, approachable, medium-length to finish.
Despite a small crop on the ninety-year-old Dusi vineyard, another cool growing season delayed harvest by a month. To enhance extraction of color and tannin, skins were held submerged during fermentation. The press was included for additional structure and complexity. Malolactic finished early, and the wine was in barrel by mid-November. For clarity, it was racked off its lees quarterly. This fruit-forward, approachable zinfandel will be at its best over the next four to six years. EB (10/12)
The Benito Dusi Ranch is the only vineyard in the Central Coast Viticultural Area from which we source grapes. Our Monte Bello vineyards are in the Santa Cruz Mountains Viticultural Area which is not in the Central Coast. The 1967 vintage was our first wine from this vineyard. It was planted to zinfandel in 1923 which is unusual because Prohibition had started two years earlier. Purchased by Sylvester and Catarina Dusi in 1924, the property has been farmed since the 1940s by their son Benito, the owner.
Rainfall: 18 inches (average)
Bloom: Mid May
Weather: Spring frost reduced crop, dry summer and fall.
Harvest Dates: 17 – 23 September
Grapes: Average Brix 25.4
Fermentation: 100% natural primary and secondary fermentation. 62% submerged cap; pressed at eight days.
Barrels: 100% air-dried american oak barrels (19% new, 32% two years old, 35% three and four years old, and 14% five years old).
Aging: Twelve months in barrel.
Benito Dusi Vineyard grapes, hand harvested. Destemmed and crushed. Fermented on the native yeasts, followed by full malolactic on the naturally occurring bacteria. A total of 1.4 percent rehydration (added to one fermentor during fermentation). Minimum effective sulfur (35ppm at crush, 90 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. Ingredients: Hand harvested, sustainably grown grapes, naturally occurring indigenous yeasts and malolactic bacteria, 1.4% water addition, minimum effective SO2.
Wine Spectator (31 October 2013): “Nicely briary and distinctive, with tart cherry, underbrush and spicy mineral aromas that lead to layered, vibrant flavors of wild berry, toasty dill and fennel. Drink now through 2020.”-Tim Fish (Rated: 91)
California Grapevine (Vol. 39, June 2013): “Medium-dark purplish ruby color; attractive, forward, intense, briary, toasty, black and red berry fruit aroma with hints of tobacco, bacon fat, and licorice; full body; rich, ripe, briary, slightly jammy, berry fruit flavors with herbal notes; lingering aftertaste. Developed with airing in the glass. Very highly recommended.”
(Group Score: 16.3 of 20 points, 4 of 13 first-place votes/3 seconds/0 thirds; My Score: 17 (91/100), fourth place)
Average Rating: 89.9
No. of Tasting Notes: 70
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