Fresh ripe blackberries and blackberry jam with spicy black pepper corns predominates the nose of this zinfandel based blend. The palate threatens to overwhelm those characteristics, echoing the spice while bringing rich dark chocolate, dried cherry and more blackberry and pepper to the party. The fruit melts away on the finish, leaving behind earthy vanilla bean, smoky oak, and hints of dried fig and fresh baked bread.
Zinfandel from Sonoma County’s Dry Creek Valley forms the foundation of a “best of” blend that features a second act of Paso Robles Petite Sirah and a supporting cast of Central Coast Teroldego.
As the pinnacle of zinfandel production, Dry Creek Valley boasts growing conditions that were “heaven sent”: well-drained soils and warm-to-hot days, cool nights, and sporadic morning fog. Bevill-Wolcott Vineyard lies along the eastern bench of the valley where rocky red clay-loam soils merge with a prevailing dry climate. The region has a long legacy of producing elegant wines with jammy dark fruit, spice and a plush mouthfeel.
Petite sirah was grown at Solana Vineyards in the San Miguel district of Paso Robles, a region known for stellar Rhône wines. The site lies above the fog line at 700–1,000 feet of elevation in well-drained soils consisting of decomposed sandstone and beneficial limestone. These conditions produce optimum vine balance and small berries with rich flavors, spice and rounded tannins.
Teroldego was sourced from Mistral Vineyards in the San Ysidro district of the Santa Clara Valley AVA. Situated on the eastern foothills of the Diablo Range, the west-facing vineyards enjoy cool afternoon breezes from Monterey Bay and deep sandy-clay-loam soils. The combined effect allows the “big red” grape from Northern Italy to contribute earth, acidity and minerality to the blend.
Sporadic rain fell in early 2009 with 50% of seasonal totals occurring in March. It was the third consecutive drought year and temperatures were slightly below normal. Budbreak was delayed until mid-March while April saw successful bloom and fruit set. April, May and early June showed foggy mornings and below average temperatures, but the latter reached triple digits in mid-June. The heat spike launched a cycle of two scorching weeks followed by 7–10 cool days through most of July, August and September. Seasonable cool mornings and warm days returned in late September, but the vestiges of a Japanese typhoon dropped 3–4 inches of rain on some vineyards. We harvested most of our fruit during the clear three-week period following the storm, and were quite pleased with the results: small berries with good skin color that translated to rich, dark wines.