2002 Russian River Valley "Carlisle Vineyard" Zinfandel
14% Mixed Black Varieties (Petite Sirah, Alicante Bouschet, Grand Noir, Carignane)
Old-vine Zinfandel in the Russian River Valley was tricky business in 2002. Many vineyards hung way too much fruit, not even reaching minimum sugars. But as owners of Carlisle Vineyard, we farmed aggressively, limiting yields to 1.6 tons to the acre, and picked on October 22 nd at perfect ripeness. No adjustments to sugar or acid were needed. Fermentation began on its own after a 7 day cold soak. Malolactic completed naturally the following spring. I bristle at the marketing term "non-interventionist winemaking" but this was about as non-interventionist as they come.
Dark ruby-purple in color. Gorgeous, knock-out aromas of ripe raspberries, mulberry, and cassis mixed with briary spice and spring flowers. On the palate, an explosion of fruit. Not quite as syrupy and thick as the '01 with better acidity. Elegant with incredible balance for a wine so big. Although enjoyable now, optimum drinking should be from 2005 through 2009. (MRO - 6/3/04)