Thick and glass-coating, this 2017 Old Vine Zinfandel is rich and bold on the nose, layered with honeyed blackberry, ripe black cherry, juicy plum, boysenberry pie, and black pepper with a hint of soft, sweet spice and lightly toasty vanilla. Soft tannins combine with balanced acidity, juicy black fruit, and vanilla along with notes of graphite and spicy oak on the palate.
Flat, hot and old. These grapes come from head-trained vines between 65 and 85 years old.
The 2017 Zinfandel was at the effect of the late summer heat wave as many varietals were. Many grapes would not get picked soon enough due to the heat and these grapes were not an exception. Higher than normal ripeness had us treat this as a late harvest wine. Characteristic of this varietal, more sugars were released during fermentation. The yeast could not complete the fermentation and required a new start with a new yeast protocol. The high alcohol was the villain. The upside is a dense, fruity, and bold wine.
The overripe grapes presented a challenge from start to finish. But the kind of challenge a professional tinkerer wants to deal with. These grapes actually released more sugar during fermentation and we got dealt a stuck fermentation, the high sugar caused high alcohol, which killed the yeast. We initiated a new fermentation with a heartier yeast and at the same time in the peak of winter the temperatures got cold which continued to stick the fermentation so I wrapped the barrels with electric blankets turned up high. The wine finished slowly over the next ten months. We have a classic late harvest Zinfandel - bold fruit, bold alcohol, and bold flavor.
Food Pairing Notes
Pairs well with barbequed pork ribs, leg of lamb, and red-sauced pizza and pasta dishes.