2012 Russian River Valley "Montafi Ranch" Zinfandel
11% Mixed Black Varieties (Alicante Bouschet, Aubun, Grand Noir, Petite Sirah, Peloursin, Trousseau noir, Syrah, Petit Bouschet)
Montafi Ranch, planted in 1926, excelled in this vintage, providing both quality and quantity. Well, most growers would not consider two tons to the acre as “quantity” but in the world of old vines, that’s cause for celebration! Being a relatively small vineyard (our portion is just under seven acres), I was able to perform what we call the “Gucci Pass” in this vintage. Basically, the Gucci Pass consists of me inspecting every cluster on every vine. I remove anything I don’t like the looks of – second crop, wings, primary clusters that are behind or poorly positioned, even individual berries that look funky. The goal is to make each vine as perfect as possible going into the home stretch. It’s backbreaking labor, especially for someone tall like I (some of the vines are barely a foot off the ground) but the results are well worth it. Bottled unfined and unfiltered.
Medium-dark to dark ruby-red. Powerful, penetrating aromas of black raspberry, blood orange, bay leaf, and earth emerge from the glass. Quite concentrated and palate-coating. Red and black berry flavors are enhanced by tangy acidity and supple tannins. A less nervy, more voluptuous wine than the 2011. Optimum drinking for this “grand cru” Zinfandel should be from late 2014 through 2022. (MRO – 01/18/14)