Zinfandel is a grape genetically identical to the grape called Primitivo from Puglia, Southern Italy. Our Zinfandel was grown at Chiarito Vineyard, owned and farmed by John Chiarito. John is a second generation Italian-American who planted his vineyard just east of Ukiah, twelve miles north of Hopland. This vineyard is head-pruned, dry-farmed and cultivated in a very unique and old style method of farming consisting of plowing and cross cultivating, allowing the grapes to maximize the full expression from the soil. The warm days and cool nights of inland Mendocino County are ideal for growing Zinfandel.
The 2014 harvest season was marked by a severe drought throughout California, with only some rain in spring that helped saved the year. This is also considered to be the earliest harvest season in over a decade, as well as a very condensed one, with sparkling wine production beginning in July and still wine finishing by mid-October. Even with all the obstacles put in place by nature, the quality of the wines is as high as the last two vintages for many varietals. Small berries played a big role as they brought more density and intensity of flavors to the finished wines.
Ripe red fruit such as prunes, plums and dried cherries dominate the nose with an undertone of licorice in the background. This medium bodied wine exhibits excellent mid-palate with soft to firm tannins, contributing to a long-lasting finish that is uplifted by a good amount of acidity.
Appellation: Mendocino County
Sub AVA: Mendocino
Year planted: 1991
Elevation: 800 feet
Exposure: West facing slope
Rootstock: St. George
Soil: Pinole Gravelly Loam
Yield: 2.5 tons/acre
Harvest date: September 5, 2014
Fermentation: De-stemmed and crushed to a stainless steel tank and cold soaked for 5 days at 50F to extract color and desirable phenolic compounds. Fermented to dryness at 85F. Only free-run fraction transferred to barrel where it underwent native malo-lactic fermentation.
Aging: Aged for 16 months in neutral French oak.
TA: 6.0 g/L
Cases produced: 208