2001 Russian River Valley "Carlisle Vineyard" Zinfandel
15% Mixed Black Varieties
Situated in a very cool site, we picked this vineyard October 20th. Yields were 1.25 tons an acre, the lowest this vineyard has ever produced. With the low yields, small berry size, and intense color, we knew right away that this wine would be special. After a gentle destemming, the must was divided between two tanks. One tank fermented indigenously; the other was inoculated with one of our favorite commercial yeasts, BM45, a slow, cool fermenter. After 18 days on the skins, the wine was pressed into all French oak, 33% new. Malolactic fermentation proceeded leisurely, finishing late the following spring. Racked twice by positive pressure with gravity return, it was bottled unfiltered after 15 months in barrel.
Very dark crimson-purple. Almost opaque. Wonderful deep, brooding aromas of mulberry and cassis with hints of dried exotic spices. The wine enters full and rich and then explodes on the palate with intense fruit. So much fruit that it seems sweet despite being technically dry (0.14% residual sugar). Acidity and tannins are in perfect balance. Delicious now but due to its structure we suspect it will drink well for up to 8 years from the vintage. (MRO - 11/2/02)