2011 Russian River Valley "Saitone Ranch" Zinfandel
8% Mixed Black Varieties (Alicante Bouschet, Grand Noir, Petit Bouschet)
Carlisle Vineyard, Montafi Ranch, Papera Ranch, Martinelli Road Vineyard, and now Saitone Ranch. Is there a stronger set of old-vine Russian River Vineyards out there? We don’t think so! Saitone Ranch is the oldest of the Piner-Olivet vineyards, planted c. 1895 on the east side of the Laguna de Santa Rosa flood plain. Curiously, rather than the typical 10-15% mixed blacks, this vineyard has a substantial amount of interplanted whites, specifically Palomino and Muscadelle, that are picked separately for The Derivative. There is, however, a small, third of an acre portion that is exclusively Alicante Bouschet, Grand Noir, and Petit Bouschet. In this vintage, we decided to pick these teinturiers along with the Zinfandel for cofermentation. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. A very exciting new vineyard designate!
Deep ruby-purple. Bordering on opaque. An intoxicating nose of black raspberry and licorice allsorts is complemented by notes of blood orange and violet. On the palate, an explosion of black raspberry fruit. Suave and harmonious tannins build through the long, spice-laden finish. Like so many of our 2011s, there is great purity, freshness, and precision in this wine. Optimum drinking for this beauty should be from late 2014 through the end of 2021. (MRO – 07/18/13)