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2009 Old Vines Zinfandel

2009 Old Vines Zinfandel


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Vineyard: This special wine is a winemaker’s selection of the three best barrels of Zinfandel from the old vines at Bacigalupi Vineyard. The Bacigalupi family has been growing grapes for generations, and it shows in the phenomenal quality of this fruit. Guided by Helen Bacigalupi, and farmed by her son, John, the vineyard is located a few miles south of Healdsburg, just west of the Russian River. The grapes for this wine were grown just west of the river, and are from a block of Zinfandel that is over 100 years old. The site benefits from the warm growing conditions in the Middle Reach region of the valley, while still being protected from over-exposure to the late afternoon sun by the vineyard’s terrain.

Vintage:  After the challenging year experienced by growers in 2008, the 2009 vintage provided almost ideal growing conditions for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in the Russian River Valley.  The late winter and spring seasons were dry, with warmer than average temperatures, allowing flowering to occur without event and providing good crop set.  The growing season was cool and even, with very few heat spikes allowing for extended hang time and flavor development.  A very warm end to August pushed the fruit to optimum ripeness and produced Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with intense aromatics, rich flavors, bright acidity and excellent balance.

Winemaking: The fruit was picked in the cool early morning, with grapes sorted by hand both in the vineyard and at the winery. The clusters were gently destemmed, but never crushed, leaving whole berries. The fruit was cooled to 50º and was cold-soaked for five days before it was allowed to gently warm and begin native yeast fermentation, with typical fermentations taking seven to 12 days. The cap was submerged twice daily using a combination of hand punch-downs and pump-overs. Just before the completion of fermentation, the free-run wine was drained to barrel so that the last of the sugar could ferment in barrel over the winter. The secondary malolactic fermentation was also carried out by native bacteria. The blend was crafted from our favorite barrel of wine in new oak, and our three favorite neutral barrels. In turn this was blended down to three barrels and allowed to age for an additional four months. There was one racking, and the final wine was bottled without fining or filtration.

Tasting Notes: This wine offers a beautiful nose dominated by head-turning notes of sweet black fruit, blackberry jam, overripe currants, toffee, and coca powder. On the palate, it shows elegance and restraint, with harmonious layers of sweet raspberry tart, black cherry, dark chocolate and black pepper. The finish is long and satisfying, with ample fruit, accentuated by a tightly knit core of tannins.

Technical Notes:
Varieties:  Zinfandel (100%)
Clones/Selections:  heritage old vine
Harvest Date:  October 6th, 2009
Barrel-aging:  19 months in 60-gallon French oak barrels (22% new)
  - pH:  3.91     
  - TA: 5.3 grams / liter     
  - Alcohol:  15.8% by volume
Bottling Date:  May 18th, 2011
Cases Produced:  171
List Member Price:    $38


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