Russian River Valley
Nose of citrus blossom, raspberry and mango, minerally Bing cherry on the palate with supple tannins, refreshing acidity and a lingering finish. JO (6/17)
Favorable spring weather helped set a full crop at the Ponzo vineyard. The temperate climate of the Russian River Valley typically delays harvest into October, but by early September the grapes were fully ripe. After a natural yeast fermentation, we chose the Old Vines block for its structure and the Front and Back blocks for their intense fruit and aromatics. This sumptuous zinfandel will be best over the next six years.
Bob Ponzo has farmed these grapes for us in the Russian River Valley since 1999. Bob’s vineyard, on deep gravelly loam soils four and a half miles south of Lytton Springs, provides all the fruit for this zinfandel. The Russian River Valley’s cooler microclimate ripens the grapes shortly after Lytton Springs and Geyserville. Small amounts of petite sirah are interplanted with zinfandel in the oldest block.
Rainfall: 33.2 inches (just below normal)
Weather: Very wet December, followed by the driest January on record (0.05”). Cool, wet late spring helped with rainfall totals, but reduced our crop across all varieties. Harvest started early (mid-August) and finished quickly.
Harvest Dates: 10-12 September
Grapes: Average Brix 26.3˚
Fermentation: Grapes destemmed and crushed, pumped over a floating cap and pressedat twelve days.
Barrels: 100% air-dried american oak barrels (20% new, 40% one and two years old, 40% three and four years old).
Aging: Twelve months in barrel
Hand-harvested, Bob Ponzo vineyard grapes; destemmed and crushed; fermented on the native yeasts, followed by full malolactic on the naturally occurring bacteria; 1.5% water addition; oak from barrel aging; minimum effective sulfur for this wine (35 ppm at crush, 91 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.
Wine Spectator (November 8, 2017) – 92 Points “Sleek and focused, with floral cherry and dill aromas and lithely layered black raspberry, pepper and anise flavors that finish with polished tannins. Drink now through 2023.—T.F.
California Grapevine (October 2017): “Medium-dark ruby; big, rich, deep, jammy, blue and blackberry fruit aroma with spicy and peppery notes; full body; rich, ripe, blackberry fruit flavors with good depth and concentration; full tannin; lingering aftertaste. Shows forward, accessible fruit that is appealing to drink now and also worthy of further bottle aging. Very highly recommended.” (Group Score: 16.2, 1/0/1; My Score: 17 [90/100], ninth place)
Connoisseur’s Guide to California Wine (September 2017): 91 Points – “If a tad riper in tone than the winery’s Ponzo bottlings have often been in the past, but still keenly focused on bright berryish fruit from the outset, this wine picks up notes of raspberry jam and roasted vanilla beans along the way. Its full-bodied stance on the palate is held back from tipping towards heaviness by a nice bit of vibrancy in its flavors and slightly puckery latter-palate acid and tannin, and there is room here for some three to five years of beneficial cellaring.”
Average Rating: 90.8
No. of Tasting Notes: 58
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