No other variety packs as much exuberance and joy into the glass as Zinfandel. When it’s firing on all cylinders, Zin smells like all the fresh summer fruit you’ve ever tasted — a perfect reflection of the warm California sunshine in which it grows. However, the varietal can be tricky, requiring a careful balancing act between all this exuberance and the need for structure. Beyond picking the grapes while the natural acidity is still high and sugar content is low, we take a few key steps to make this happen.
All our Zinfandel is farmed without irrigation in the gravel-rich alluvial soils of the St. Helena AVA, just to the north of Rutherford. Because it competes directly for space on these soils with Cabernet Sauvignon many Zin vineyards in Napa are disappearing. But, believing this soil holds the key to the highest expression possible with this varietal we persist — refusing to plant it in more marginal areas. Petite Sirah and Carignane (traditional companion grapes in California’s famous old-vine field blends) are planted alongside and when co-fermented in the same tank these high-acid, high-tannin varieties provide all the bones that Zin needs — letting the joyful fruit take center stage. In the cellar, the wine is aged in small concrete vessels, preserving the freshness of the fruit and allowing structure to develop without relying on excessive oak, yielding an up-tempo, old-school Zinfandel that defies expectations for drinking now, as well as holding firm for aging well into the future.