Always a crowd favorite when pulled out, the 2012 Late Harvst Zin follows our tradition of making a serious late picked varietal wine. This 2012 red is delightfully showy with aromas of raspberry jam, sweet alcohols, cotton candy and maricino cherry. Give it a moment to open up and you swear it drinks like a cherry fruit roll up! The palate is utterly decadent with black pepper, chewy red preserves, grape jelly and a touch of sour cherry. Although the acid and tannin balance appear in this wine, they are not aggressive and will prove very useful in keeping the pulse of this Zin going deep into ageing. Cellared correctly, the 2012 L.H.Z. should survive until 2026 or longer.
Venge's Oakville Estate. The entire 14 year old Zinfandel block exists in two rows, only a mere ¼ acre. And, for the first time ever, 1/3rd of the blend is from the Pelissa Vineyard also in Oakville. We couldn’t help ourselves from trying the neighbor’s grapes! Using traditional techniques of dry farming and head and trellis training, the vines were able to achieve incredible depth and complexity. At harvest the fruit looks and feels like it has given absolutely everything it has to offer the vintage.
The mature fruit was hand harvested cool at 50 degrees F into half ton bins. We wait to pick until we can identify the grapes appearing more like golf balls than perfectly round berries. Combined yields were small and could barely be squeezed out to yield 2 barrels. 100 cases are hardly enough to go around but luckily we bottle into 375mL “half” bottles.
After careful cluster sorting, the sweet but tired black bunches were destemmed into open top, insulated bins where fer-mentation took place for nearly 15 days. Gentle “punch downs” by hand were employed to gently homogenize the fer-mentation two times daily. At the proper time during fermentation, the fruit was lightly pressed as not to supply too much tannin and astringency, and then put direct to cask. The wine was matured on gross yeast lees settlings for 10 months in three 100% new Virginia Oak by Nadalie Cooperage. Neither the removal of tannin via fining nor any sulfites were employed during the barrel ageing of this wine. Sulfites were only added once, prior to the bottling.