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Our Estate Zinfandel Vineyard – Pagnano Vineyard

Exiting news!  We have finalized a lease for a zinfandel vineyard a couple miles west of our estate pinot noir – the Pagnano family vineyard.  The vines are an old vine clone brought from the property next door to the vineyard (no longer in grapes, sad to say).  The vines themselves are mature but not old.  We will be doing all the farming work on this vineyard, so it qualifies as an “estate” vineyard.  As part of our evaluation prior to leasing, we tasted samples of wine made from the grapes and liked it it a lot, and hope you will like the wine WE make!

The zin grapes at Pagnano vineyard are head-pruned in the old-vine fashion, but with an upright structure that opens up the canopy and gets more light and air to the fruit (as you can see in the photo above – taken this spring when they were just leafing out).  They are on the old St.George rootstock.  We have pulled the small canes and suckers from the vines, dusted them with sulfur to deter mildew, and are working to secure all the vines as they become heavy with canes, leaves and the developing fruit.  The zin vines budded out a week or two later than our pinot, but now have larger fruit clusters that are developing very well.

Eventually, the vines will be self-supporting, but as they grow they need to be tied to supports.  That was a job to do earlier this summer as the developing canes added weight that exceeded the ties that were there.

This vineyard is in the Russian River Valley appellation, where a long, cool growing season allows Zinfandel to achieve superb levels of ripeness exploding with aromas of peak-of-season ripe blackberries and boysenberries, intermingled with plum and occasionally blueberry. Overtones of black pepper are also quite common. They are quite distinct from Lodi or Amador County Zinfandels, where the greater heat levels produce big, extracted, higher alcohol wines.  Russian River Valley zinfandels maintain excellent levels of balance, appealing to both the hedonist and the classic wine drinker.

Stay tuned as we report on development in the vineyard, harvest, and the winemaking process.


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