100% Hillside Grown, Old Vine Carignane
92 Points – Wine Enthusiast
Bright purple color, blackberry jam, fig and cocoa on the nose followed by focused plum fruit and brisk acidity on the palate. Clean lingering finish with a hint of black olive. JO (1/20)
2018 marks our twentieth vintage of carignane from the Buchignani ranch. The rocky, hillside soil, old vines, and plentiful summer heat all combine to create an ideal site for this Mediterranean grape. After several late spring rains, the vines responded with an above average crop. We harvested in two passes in the second week of September. Bright fruit and brisk acidity make this a classic example of the variety. It will be at its best over the next five years.
Stan Buchignani’s ranch is located on Dutcher Creek Road, in the hills on the far western edge of the Alexander Valley appellation. Stan’s grandfather, Dominico Cerruti, first planted a five acre block in 1927. His father, Dino, added seven acres in the 1940s and planted the last in the early 1950s. The vineyard’s climate bears a strong resemblance to that of upper Dry Creek Valley three miles to the south, where days are quite warm. Fog, which tends to hang low in the valley, burns off sooner in the hills. Carignane from the Buchignani Ranch is complex, its fine structure much like that of a field-blend zinfandel.
Rainfall: 25 inches (below normal)
Bloom: Early May
Weather: Spring rains helped make up for another dry winter. Stan’s carignane easily rode out the Labor Day heat wave and ripened beautifully a week or so later.
Harvest Dates: 6 & 11 September
Grapes: Average Brix 23.9˚
TA: 6.80 g/L
Fermentation: Natural primary and secondary (malolactic) fermentations; pressed at ten days.
Barrels: 100% air-dried American oak barrels (10% one year-old, 25% two years-old, 60% four years-old, and 5% five years-old).
Aging: Ten months in barrel
Hand-harvested, sustainably grown grapes; destemmed and crushed; fermented on the native yeasts, followed by a full malolactic on the naturally occurring bacteria; oak from barrel aging; minimum effective sulfur for this wine (35 ppm at crush, 73 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 Enthusiast: 92 Points “A laser-beam of bright, tangy red-fruit flavors lights up this medium to full-bodied wine made from hillside-grown old vines. It tastes, fresh, crisp and appetizing as cranberry, red-cherry and raspberry notes flood the palate and keep vibrating on the finish.” -Jim Gordon (January 2021)
Average Rating: 90.1
No. of Tasting Notes: 35
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