2014 Pioneer Cuvée
It has been so inspiring to live and work near outstanding old vineyards here in Glen Ellen and I have come to know the Rossi ranch (planted 1910), Pagani Ranch (planted 1885) and Wellington Vineyard (planted 1892) very well. They are all old “field blends”; planted with many different grape varieties that were originally harvested together to make a multi-variety wine. The concept is that each variety brings something to the overall blend and the diversity means that some do better in warm years and others in cool years, so that each year will favor something in the mix. I’ve often wondered how these pioneers were so smart, but have guessed that the ones who planted the wrong varieties or wrong soils have had their vineyards abandoned over the past 100 years, leaving just the best ones to survive.
In this tribute to these pioneers, I’ve blended individual wines, all made from grapes grown here on the estate. The estate Zinfandel has always been the basis for the Pioneer Cuvée and it was intensely fruity in 2014 and I have used a higher percentage of it than in previous versions. The addition of Grenache (for cherry fruit and acidity) and Petite sirah (for color and structure) complete the wine without taking away the lovely raspberry fruitiness. This is my favorite of the Pioneer blends to date, each being progressively better as the estate vineyard responds to different vineyard practices, and is a worthy companion to the first Estate GSP that I released in the Spring. A wonderful match to any grilled foods, I think it will age very well for the next 5 years