97% Zinfandel, 3% Petite Sirah
93 Points – Erin Brooks, The Wine Advocate
91 Points – Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media
Russian River Valley
Focused raspberry and floral notes on the nose; soft and supple mouthfeel with balanced acidity and an elegant finish. JO (6/20)
2018 provided ideal growing conditions at the Ponzo vineyard. Cooler conditions typical of the Russian River Valley appellation tempered July heat spikes. A smaller crop in the Old Vine block concentrated flavor and structure. Firm acidity from the younger vines in the Back block focuses fruit and softens the mouthfeel. This elegant, approachable zinfandel will be enjoyable over the next five-to-six 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: 25 inches (below normal)
Weather: Winter rains were light this year, totaling 25 inches. Rains in April and May helped the vines get through the summer.
Harvest Dates: 15 & 22 September
Grapes: Average Brix 23.5˚
TA: 7.02 g/L
Fermentation: Grapes destemmed and crushed, pumped over a floating cap and pressed at ten days.
Barrels: 100% air-dried American oak barrels (10% new, 40% one three years-old, and 50% 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; oak from barrel aging; minimum effective sulfur for this wine (35 ppm at crush, 44 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.
The Wine Advocate: 93 Points “The 2018 Zinfandel Ponzo comes from the Russian River Valley and is blended with a 3% splash of Petite Sirah. The nose is bold and fruit-driven with tricolored berry aromas accented by notes of blood orange, licorice and dried flowers. The palate, though packed with fruit, is soft, approachable and fresh and finishes long and lifted.” -Erin Brooks (February 2021)
Vinous Media: 91 Points “The 2018 Zinfandel Ponzo is quite soft and open, even in the early going. Silky tannins and bright red fruit give this mid-weight Russian River Valley Zinfandel tons of immediacy and sheer appeal. Hints of rose petal and spice add aromatic lift, but more than anything else, the Ponzo is a forward, fruity wine to drink over the next 8-10 years. Although the Ponzo is not super complex, it is immensely pleasing.” -Antonio Galloni (September 2020)
Average Rating: 90
No. of Tasting Notes: 21
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