98% Zinfandel, 2% Petite Sirah
95 Points – Wine & Spirits
93 Points – James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com
92 Points – Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media
92 Points – Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com
91 Points – Erin Brooks, The Wine Advocate
Russian River Valley
Nose of raspberry, guava and floral notes. Bright cherry fruit on the palate with refreshing acidity, elegant tannins and finishes with an accent of pepper. JO (7/19)
This vineyard, in the cool Russian River Valley, set a full crop that ripened evenly despite a heat spike in late August that caused sugars to rise rapidly. We harvested all three vineyard blocks by September 9th, three weeks earlier than usual. The old vines contribute depth and richness; the young vines add elegant, layered fruit. Enjoyable upon release, this sumptuous zinfandel will develop over the next five 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: 61.5 inches (above normal)
Weather: A wet winter gave us the needed rains. Cool weather in the spring affected set across all varieties. Several heat spikes in late June, July and August saw temperatures over 105 degrees. Harvest started before the Labor Day heat wave hit; we quickly finished harvesting by mid-September.
Harvest Dates: 5 & 6 September
Grapes: Average Brix 23.0˚
Fermentation: Grapes destemmed and crushed, pumped over a floating cap and pressed at eleven days.
Barrels: 100% air-dried american oak barrels (10% new, 20% one, 20% two, and 50% three and four 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, 49 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 & Spirits: 95 Points (Best Buy) “A roseate red, this is the pinot noir of zinfandel. The variety accounts for 98 percent of the blend (there’s only a touch of petite sirah) and the wine transforms the thin skins of zin into a delicate, transparent structure, displaying clarity in the tannins with notes of raspberry seeds and crushed black peppercorns. It has the kind of tannins that would meld into eggplant tapenade with grilled lamb. The lasting flavors of raspberry and apple skin glow red, with wine’s energy and stamina pumped up with luscious grape gentleness. A California beauty.” – J.G. (August 2019)
JamesSuckling.com: 93 Points “Very attractive, fresh dark raspberries, red plums and blackcurrants in an upbeat mode. The palate is very plush and succulent with elegance, good weight and depth. The tannin definition really impresses. 98% zinfandel and 2% petite sirah. Drink or hold.” – James Suckling (December 2019)
Vinous Media: 92 Points “The 2017 Zinfandel Ponzo, from a vineyard in the Russian River Valley, is bright, perfumed and light on its feet. Floral overtones, vibrant red fruit and mid-weight structure are front and center. This is another 2017 that really impresses with its pulsing acids and Pinot-like feel.” – Antonio Galloni (October 2019)
JebDunnuck.com: 92 Points “The 2017 Zinfandel Ponzo sports a deep purple color as well as a juicy bouquet of blueberries, plums, licorice, and toasted spices. It’s a rounded, medium to full-bodied, supple, seamless beauty with plenty of sweet fruit, no hard edges, and a great finish. It’s another terrific Zinfandel from this team to enjoy over the coming decade.” – Jeb Dunnuck (November 2019)
The Wine Advocate: 91 Points “Medium ruby-purple colored, it opens with youthfully gregarious aromas of sliced stone fruits (smoked cranberries and red cherries), desiccated flowers, baked blueberries and gobs of underbrush, licorice and exotic spices. It’s medium to full-bodied, layered, perfumed and light on its feet, with a ripe, grainy frame and just enough juicy freshness on the long, floral finish.” – Erin Brooks (February 2020)
California Grapevine: 90 Points “Medium to medium-dark ruby; forward, briary, earthy, boysenberry and blackberry fruit aroma with hints of dill and black pepper; full body; rich, ripe, nicely balanced, dark berry fruit flavors with herbal and peppery notes; full tannin; lingering aftertaste. Developed with airing in the glass and enjoyable now or over the next year or two. Very highly recommended.” – Nick Ponomareff (October 2019)
Average Rating: 90.6
No. of Tasting Notes: 44
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