ZAP: Forum of Flavors
Three fascinating expressions of Zinfandel
Monte Rosso Vineyard
Planted in the 1880s in Sonoma Valley
Sonoma side of Mount vender 800 to 1400 feet.
Has Zinfandel and associated varieties but also things like old vine Semillon, head pruned, or barely pruned on Tuscan red series soil, fairly large clusters, several different blocks planted,
Rich and dark with carob scented toasty oak over jammy black raspberry fruit. Fairly nutty oak. Nice and precise on entry, very mineral and earthy, decidedly rusty on the palate with lovely boysenberry and jammy black berry fruit on the palate. A little chocolate chip cookie emerges on the palate supported by rich tannins that lead to a long, earthy wild raspberry fruit laced finish. Nice, a bit chewy and a bit tart with great balance of fruit and structure, nice hint of spice and wild cherry. 92pts
Robert Fanucci: 120 year old basket press, all manual tasks, redwood bats used to punch down the cap three times a day, natural yeast fermentations, fermented in half ton bins without temperature control,
Intense floral, polleny, slightly fennel seed and again Provençal like aromas along with smoky notes and cranberry accents with growing nutty oak, latex aromas. Smooth and spicy on entry then turning tense on the palate with an edge of mineral and fine, pure cherry pit flavors. The tannins are slightly edgy but nicely balanced and firm leading to a moderately long finish rich with dusty tannins and blackberry fruit. Spicy and with attractive energy in the mouth, this shows purity and cut. 93pts
Shauna Rosenblum: our job is to champion this fruit to its full maximum potential, we do not do native fermentations, crushed into closed top fermenters that leaves about 15% whole berries, a two to three day cold soak, inoculate with Rockpile clone, something that just helps bring out whatever is there and beautiful about the wine,15% new oak.
Pencil shavings dominate the nose, deep, oily and dark fruit lurks underneath but this is reticent and rawly oaky today. A bit of insecticide florality on the nose. Tight and polished on entry with plenty of wood here, a bit of vanilla and veneer. The flavors are still oaky up front with a nice base of dark fruit but rather oak dominated. There's nice fruit here and it should emerge with time but the finish shows assertive wood tannins and a smear of woody sweetness. With air the fruit really pops, nice vibrant red berry fruit on entry, with lingonberry accent. Nice cut and purity, really vibrant though the wood seems to clip the finish. 90pts
Richard Arrowood: one block has a lot of Alicante which is judiciously sorted out, though this does include 4.5% Petite Sirah. Three day soak, went up three plus degrees brix during the soak, adds few gallons of reverse osmosis water to get the brix back down. The remarkable thing about Monte Rosso is the acidity which can have nine to ten grams of total acidity. Great for extracting color but makes it very difficult to go through malo. Use cultured yeast that is matched to the fruit profile each vintage. 15 months in 80% French and 20% American oak, a third of the total was new to be bottled in march, my focus is on much fruit as possible: destem, do not crush, pump over. Zinfandel is all about forward fruit.
Rich and perfumed with floral notes, lots of macerated herb notes, ripe and cocoa scented, and a bit candied with hints of banana and grape taffy. Lighter on entry than the nose might suggest with an earthy core to the bitter black cherry fruit. There's a nice hint of florals and orange rindy in the mouth, with lovely purity to the slightly rugged and masculine fruit. This needs some time in the bottle but has everything it needs to be gorgeous. Finishes with good length and energy, dusty, earthy and slightly blue fruited. Shows a touch of heat. 92pts
Tres Goetting: no frills hands off get out of the way approach, trying to be delicate and treat these grapes with respect, use some Burgundian techniques, it's a balance of acid and alcohol, hand sort the fruit, trying to remove raisins, crush into bins, gravity feed into open top tanks, 84 to 86 degrees max temp, cold soak for three to four days, inoculate with cultured yeasts, three punchdowns a day, extended the maceration on the skins for seven to ten days once it's dry tends to round out the acids, bladder pressed lightly into 20% new French Burgundy barrels, racked two or three times.
Pomegranate, tart on the nose with fine subtle latex and salami notes, lime leaf and chocolate and American oaky. Smooth and supple with focus on entry with a rich and supple character. The tannins are dense and slIghtly chewy with fine blue tiger black berry fruit. Very well balanced and juicy, and fairly fruit driven with a nice base of wood and vanilla cream under the strawberry and blackberry fruit. Still grapy and slightly exotic grapiness at that, before this turns a bit dark and stony on the finale. 91pts
Kori Butler: two of my favorite blocks at Monte Rosso. rattlesnake hill, the highest point of the vineyard, and en fronte el pompe, in front of the pump. The blocks are treated separately, destemmed but not crushed hand sorted pre and post destemming, two to three and a half ton open top fermenters, inoculate, looking for classic California Zinfandel, big ,dark and jammy. Three to four day cold soak, about 16 months in barrel. About 60% new French oak, 10% to 15% new American, the rest used French oak
GDP: Monte Rosso showed the most variety of the three vineyards on display today. Binding them all together is a blend of fine, ripe tannins and rather rich fruit that ranges from strawberry scented to grapy, though there was a bit of a blueberry edge to many of them, dark and powerful. Several of the wines displayed attractive mineral notes that added complexity and freshness.