Vineyard: Mokelumne Glen
Bottling Date: January 23, 2017
Release: March 1, 2017
Production: 73 cases
Drinking Window: 2017-2020
With 2016 being our third vintage working with Zweigelt from Mokelumne Glen Vineyard, we are starting to get into a groove and have a pretty good idea of what we are looking for. As soon as the skins start to soften slightly and the vast majority of the berries have reached their full purple color, we know that it is time to start picking. Once again this happened to fall on the first Friday in August, and we got all of the fruit off the vine by 10am, ensuring it arrived to the winery cold and fresh. We once again decided to ferment the Zweigelt as whole bunches, meaning with the berries still attached to the stems. This accomplishes two goals, the first being that it keeps all of the berries intact, allowing carbonic fermentation to occur inside the berry bringing a wonderful fruitiness to the wine, and the second being that the stems add their own unique floral, herbal flavors to the wine. Once again our goal of working completely without sulfur on the red wines came to fruition, as we were able to coax the wine through fermentation, malolactic fermentation, and then finally a brief barrel aging in old oak barrels all without using any sulfur. The wine was blended and bottled without fining or filtration in late January, and with no sulfur addition, so these bottles are truly alive. Conventional wisdom suggests that wines like this should be consumed right away, but the 2015 is holding up so well, who knows.
Even though it's our third year making it, the color on the zweigelt is always stunning. Almost electric purple or magenta, the brightness in the color on the 2016 is the first thing to jump out at you. The nose shows kirsch, blackberry, wet slate, and violets, along with something I can best describe as savory plum. The palate is almost salty, with blueberry and black cherry joined by mocha and black pepper. Vibrant and intense, floral notes give way on the floral notes give way on the finish to rounded tannins reminiscent of lightly roasted espresso.