Chenin Blanc Vines

2012 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 this are unique in the world and cannot be replicated anywhere; they are truly California's greatest gift to the vinous world. 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. These sands are granite and quartz, literally blown from the Sierra Nevada over millenia. 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 September 6 a week later than the "cooler" 2010 and 2011 vintages at 23.7 Brix, 3.4 pH and 7.5 g/L . Choosing the harvest date is always an intriguing decision as our section of Evangelho is interplanted with smaller amounts of Carignane, Mataro (Mourvedre), Palomino, Muscat, Chasselas and probably some other varieties as of yet un-identified. Each of these historic varieties have different ripening trajectories giving the finished wine great complexity. As always we harvest and co-ferment in the true "field-blend" tradition.

Cuvasion & Elevage

The grapes were de-stemmed to tank where they soaked for a few days before the indigenous yeast took hold. Fermentation was vigorous giving great color, structure and soaring aromatics. We pressed the wine at cap-fall, allowing the wine to go nearly dry on the skins. Total maceration time for the wine was 19 days. After a day of settling the wine was placed in seasoned French Oak, chosen to preserve the sense of place and strong vineyard character. After malolactic fermentation completed in the Spring, the wine was given a single racking. We bottled 118 cases of 750 mLs on November 25, 2013.

Tasting Note

Dark-red to near black in color. The dark-red fruit and spice pump from the glass. The style is traditional with a firm vineyard voice. The vintage character is evident in the darker fruit, structure and concentration. Given all this the wine retains an elegance and transparency . The vineyard speaks loudly rather than the hand of the winemaker- something we firmly believe in.