ZAP: Forum of Flavors
Three fascinating expressions of Zinfandel
Kirschenmann Vineyard Zinfandel
Lodi planted in the 1910s
95% Zinfandel with some interplanted Mondeuse, Carignane, and Counoise all on their own rootstock. Soil is fine, sandy loam and decomposed granite on the west side of the AVA in an oxbow of the Mokelumne River, which, along with the typically delta breezes, helps to make this a cooler site in the AVA. Head trained, at four to five feet under the sand there is a ribbon of quartz/white chalk/limestone.
Very floral and aromatic in a slightly vegetal end of the spectrum with medicinal root veg, rhubarb, and lightly peppery spice aromas. Certainly has something akin to the aromatic profile of Chinato. Bright and fresh and rich with strawberry and slightly orange rind toned flavors. Dusty tannins and a fruit skin texture here, rather peachy, with a clean, fresh and bright finish that shows a hint of sweetness to the very red and slightly raw tart plum and strawberry flavors. 89pts
Duncan Meyer: Native yeasts, not destemmed, tread by foot, about a ten day maceration, reached about 76F, then basket pressed to one five year old puncheon and one seven year old barrel. Bottled at ten months. Our goal was to capture the essence of the site picked on the earlier side. Picked two weeks before the next winery.
A little stone fruit with lovely fresh blackberry and black cherry fruit that shows little hints of smoke, gardenia flowers, and a fine edge of basil and mint like green herb. Supple on entry followed by a nice edge of herb and soft tannins that fill out on the palate. The fruit here is a bit taut, edgy and firm with black cherry accents and some plummy base notes. A touch of wood pops on the backed end leading to a gently jammy black berry finish with lovely slightly medicinal and spicy inner mouth perfumes. Fairly large scaled but with beautiful balance and focus. 93pts
Morgan: all native yeast, probably hit 90F, aged in about 20% new oak, at racking the oak showed so it was put in some one year old barrels and mostly neutral barrels, bottled at ten months
Spicy and plummy with licorice, tarry, and toasted nut undercurrents. Sweet, smoky and slightly candied smelling. A bit hard and noticeably oaky on the nose. Hard on entry as well but with wonderfully fresh dark fruit. Just a little caramel and chocolate adding some depth and complexity on the palate. Mineral and dusty on the palate and through the long finish. Lots of crystal clear black berry, and black plum skin that is clear, and transparent. the texture and clarity of the fruit is impressive though it lacks some of the energy found some of the other wines. 91pts
Scott Klann: native yeast, 25% whole clusters at the bottom of each bin, all fermented in macro bins, watered back a touch and made a slight acid adjustment, nine days on skin, let's sit for three months. Used two new French oak barrels, the other seven were two and three year old barrels, in 2013 didn't use any new oak since this vineyard picks up oak rather readily.
Rather bright candied red fruits with streaks of violet, herb, licorice and cedar with subtle accents of briar and vanilla. Cool and broad in the the mouth with a soft richness of texture with big, juicy and slightly dark berry fruit with slightly creamy, briary framing notes. Clean and moderately long on the finish. This has beautiful clarity to the spicy plum and blackberry flavors. 94pts
Mike Officer: Struck by how different looking this vineyard is from other old vine vineyards I've worked with. It was surprising how well the fruit retained its acidity in this vineyard. Our approach to Zinfandel is Like Pinot Noir. the fruit is cluster sorted, destemmed but not crushed. Our goal was to have as much whole berry in the tank as possible. We inoculated with a yeast and fermented up to out 82F, on the skins about 14 days, pressed it in to four barrels, one of which was new French Oak, the others were five to seven years old. Racked once, sat in barrel until two days ago!
A bit hard on the nose with gingery, toasty oak, a bit of char and mineral spice layered over spicy cherry and plum fruit. Opens slowly with lovely depth and complexity. Bright, clean and pure in the mouth with Impressively fresh fruit. The tannins are firm and some woody tannins emerges on the backend, along with some toasty oak flavors and spice. Long, pure and gently spicy and shows a touch of heat on the finale. 92pts
Tegan Passalacqua: We picked two different times in the vineyard, two days apart, which yielded three tanks. Everything was destemmed, do not crush, everything is native yeast. Closed top fermentations with pump overs, in contrast to the more typical punch downs. On the skins for 14 days, 20% new oak and 20% of that was American oak. Not acidified! 3.26 ph in the finished wine.
GDP: a fascinating set of wines that shows a feminine side even when the wines are rather large scaled. There's little jamminess here, and no chunky, clunky textures. Aromatic and rather medicinal with generally spicy and tart red fruits.