The unique character of our 2016 Zinfandel derives from more than four decades of winemaking expertise combined with the mountain terroir of the historic Monte Rosso Vineyard and its famous red soils. These 125-year-old plus Zinfandel vines yield a meager three-quarter to one ton per acre, in a bountiful year. The distinctive fruit is enhanced by the mineral-rich, well-drained, decomposed volcanic ash soils and by the cooling breezes of San Pablo Bay. The majority of the grapes come from two single blocks that sit on a precariously steep western-facing slope of the Mayacamas Mountains. The vineyard’s high elevation exposes the fruit to additional sunlight, ensuring consistent ripening. The unique vineyard site, eight-by-eight-foot vine spacing, diligent pruning, and dry-farming techniques all combine to produce the intensely concentrated flavors of Monte Rosso grapes.
The weather during the growing season in 2016 was perfect for wine grapes, largely dry and warm, but not overly hot. We received an abundance of winter rainfall after experiencing three years of drought. The rains were a welcome relief to the thirsty vines and replenishing much needed ground water. The quality and quantity of the fruit were exceptional. The grapes were hand-picked on September 2nd, 2016.
The nose of this wine opens onto a delightful tableau of tiny red berries, balanced against just a nuance of cedar. On swirling, the nose will deepen, showing the layered beauty that is what an old vine Zinfandel can be. Take a moment, and plump raspberries, tart red currants, and just a hint of blueberry jam will unfold. Take a sip, and you will find a rich bed of tannins backing up a bracing acidity. Notice how the front of the palate is crisp, with a distinct character of tart Rainier cherries, and also how it quickly mellows into soft layers of rich brambleberry and cocoa. Overall, this wine is beautifully balanced and designed to age. This wine is unfined and unfiltered. Drink now or hold for 10-plus years.