Our Zinfandel all comes from our leased Kate’s Vineyard which lies in the Kiler Canyon of West Paso Robles. We have been farming the vineyard for 12 years and consider it truly part of our Estate. The vineyard is planted on an array of aspects, which allows the separate blocks to develop considerably different characteristics. This comes into play in the cellar as the separate lots are blended together to create single vineyard, single variety “blends” of amazing cohesion.
2012 was a warm, dry year, the conditions that led to Zinfandel being planted in Paso Robles in the first place. The fruit on the vine was allowed to reach full physiological ripeness, with dark brown seeds and lignified stems. Conditions such as these tend to produce massive upfront fruit in young Zinfandel. In order to bring balance to the wine, tannin extraction needs to be maximized. To achieve this, we used a combination of 15% whole cluster fermentation and extended maceration. A regiment of twice daily punch downs and a pump over every third day promoted and gentle but steady extraction of phenolics. The wine was left on skins for 39 days, which also allowed us to extract seed tannin, which when fully mature gives the wine plenty of toasted woody tannin without having to rely on cooperage. The free run and press fractions were combined and allowed to complete malo-lactic fermentation in 20% new American heavy toasted Canton barrels and 80% neutral American barrels. After 13 months, the wine was racked out and 5% Petit Verdot blended in to add a bit more structure and color.