97% Zinfandel, 3% Petite Sirah
93 Points – James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com
92 Points – Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media
90 Points – Wine Spectator
90 Points – Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com
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Russian River Valley
Inviting jammy fruit with pepper and mint on the nose, medium bodied with soft elegant tannins, minerally raspberry fruit. Notes of allspice and chaparral on the finish. JO (7/18)
Warm weather brought veraison early at which point we thinned the Young Vines parcel to intensify flavors. All three parcels were picked in early September and crushed to separate fermentors. After malolactic we chose the Old Vines and Triangle blocks for their richness and balanced acidity. In later tasting we added the aromatic Young Vines block to complement the wine’s sensuous fruit. This beautiful zinfandel, enjoyable on release, will develop further over seven to eight years.
Bob Ponzo has farmed these vines in the Russian River Valley for over 40 years. The vineyard, planted on deep gravelly loam soils, is four and a half miles south of Lytton Springs. Here, the Russian River Valley’s cooler microclimate ripens the grapes later than at Lytton Springs and Geyserville. Small amounts of petite sirah are interplanted with zinfandel in the oldest block.
Rainfall: 38 inches (just below normal)
Weather: A wet December and January helped ease the drought which emphatically ended in March. Cool weather in April reduced the crop a bit. Harvest started and finished in early September.
Harvest Dates: 8 & 10 September
Grapes: Average Brix 24.8˚
Fermentation: Grapes destemmed and crushed, pumped over a floating cap and pressed at eleven days.
Barrels: 100% air-dried american oak barrels (15% new, 20% one year old, 20% two years old and 45% three, four and five years old).
Aging: Ten 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; oak from barrel aging; minimum effective sulfur for this wine (35 ppm at crush, 46 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.
JamesSuckling.com (Nov 2018): 93 Points “Ripe dark plum and cassis aromas with licorice and some lightly tarry notes. The palate has a wealth of redcurrant and cassis with a bright, slightly chalky edge to the tannins. A blend of 97 per cent zinfandel, the rest petite sirah. Drink or hold.” – James Suckling
Vinous Media (Aug 2018): 92 Points “The 2016 Zinfandel Ponzo, from a site in the Russian River Valley, is a wine of power, density and impact. Black cherry, blackberry and plum fruit are nicely pushed forward. This is an especially succulent, fleshy style. The nuance and delineation of the best wines in this range isn’t quite there, but the Ponzo makes up for that with its immediacy.” – Antonio Galloni
Palate Press (Dec 2018): 92 Points “The color is lovely, a bright garnet with jewel-like clarity. Blackberry, brambles, and a touch of tobacco leaf waft up from the glass. Big, fleshy, and full bodied, the palate explodes with a basket full of fruit, blackberries, raspberries, and plums. Herbs, pepper, and mint add layers and complexity. Blackberries and raspberries linger forever. Drink with a black and blue ribeye. Highly Recommended.” – David Honig
JebDunnuck.com (February 2019): (90 Points). “From one of the cooler sites this team works with, the 2016 Zinfandel Ponzo (97% Zinfandel and 3% Petite Sirah) offers a more savory style as well as notes of herbes de Provence, plums, blueberries, and peppery herbs. Medium-bodied, silky, and elegant, it’s one of the prettier, more delicate wines in the lineup. I’d drink it over the coming 7-8 years or so, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see it keep longer.” – Jeb Dunnuck
California Grapevine (Oct 2018): 90 Points “Medium-dark ruby; deep, briary, blue and black berry fruit aroma with notes of black pepper and toasty oak; full body; rich, ripe, nicely balanced, spicy, briary, red and black fruit flavors with herbal and peppery notes; full tannin; lingering aftertaste. Drinkable now and over the next two to four years. Very highly recommended.” – Nick Ponomareff
Wine Spectator (Oct 2018): 90 Points “An appealingly old-school Zin, offering gutsy, zesty raspberry, blueberry and spicy dill flavors that finish with slightly rustic tannins. Drink now through 2024.” – Tim Fish
Average Rating: 89.6
No. of Tasting Notes: 53
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