Chenin Blanc Vines

2011 Zinfandel, Evangelho Vineyard Contra Costa Co.


The Evangelho Vineyard is one of the great old vine Zinfandel vineyards left in California. Wines from vineyards like these are unique in the world and cannot be replicated anywhere; they are truly California's greatest gift to the vinous world (sorry Napa Cabernet!). Planted in 1890, on its own roots, on over 30 vertical feet of alluvial sand, these vines somehow eek out an existence despite being farmed without irrigation and produce fantastic and soulful wines.

The vineyard is at the westernmost viticultural edge of California's great delta. Warm days, cool nights and wind define the climate that shaped this spit of sand into a once thriving agricultural area. Urban growth has impacted the area and now few of the old vineyards are left. Agriculture still dots the landscape, between housing developments and shopping centers: a reminder of the area's past.

Harvest occurred on August 30, coincidentally the same exact date as 2010. 2011 was even colder than 2010; we harvested the fruit with a slightly lower brix (24.2 vs 25.8), but oddly lower overall acidity. Such are the mysteries of Zinfandel, where the chemistry of the sugar and acidity do not follow conventional wisdom. We were, again, the first winery to pick in the vineyard, preserving great acidity (pH 3.3/ TA 8.4 g/L).