2012 Pioneer Cuvee
Zinfandel, Grenache, Petite Sirah Blend
I am thrilled to release this wine, the first of my homage to the pioneers who planted the old vineyards of Sonoma Valley and Sonoma County. These old vineyards were what we now call “field blends”, comprised of many different grape varieties that were picked and fermented together. Petite sirah gave tannin and structure, Grenache gave acid, others gave color and aromatics and Zinfandel made it all taste good. When I first moved to this property in 2002 I woke up each morning looking out over one of the most famous of these field blends, the Pagani Ranch that was planted in the 1880’s. These vines were, and still are, awe inspiring and I’ve wanted to make a wine like that since that first morning.
The concern is that the various varieties ripen at separate times, so I’ve taken a different approach by making the individual wines and then blending based upon tasting trials. The Zinfandel comes from here on the Estate, the Grenache from the Rossi Ranch in Glen Ellen and the Petite sirah from the Kick Ranch. I made the blend after aging the components for 13 months, then returned it to the mostly well used French oak for another 3 months before bottling.
My tasting notes since last Fall make me think of Southern Rhone wines but with Zin fruit. Good tannin structure balances cherry fruit for a complex and harmonious wine that is equally good with ribs or a serious Saturday night dinner. Make sure to toast these forward thinking pioneers. Should age very well, drink now to 2020.