ANDY ROBINSON | WINEMAKER
In our November newsletter, we signed off hoping for more rainfall and boy did Mother Nature deliver. December brought nine inches of rain and thirteen more inches to date, filling our ponds for the upcoming 2023 growing season.
Our 2021 growing season started much differently than 2023 with the driest January in 38 years. Sonoma and much of California received little rain throughout the year which led to eventual bans on irrigation throughout Dry Creek and Alexander Valleys. We experienced few extremely hot days and were happily able to allow grapes to ripen at a moderate pace without significant dehydration or loss of acidity. Yields in some varieties were reduced due to low moisture earlier in the season, specifically during budbreak and bloom, however those reduced yields have led to intensely flavored grapes and the subsequent wines made from them ooze varietal character and vibrant mouthfeel.
This month, we are releasing our 2021 vintage of Barbera, Cortina Zinfandel, and Old Vine Zinfandel. The oldest block of Barbera is on the East side of Home Ranch, planted in 1997. This vineyard typically produces a fruit forward, deep colored wine which is soft in structure and rounder in mid-palate. The second block was planted in 2008 at the base of Rattlesnake Hill on the West side of our Home Ranch and is planted to an Italian clone from Asti, Piemonte. This exhibits deep concentration, deep purple hue and high acidity and a more structured mouthfeel. Fresh blackberry and cardamom is found on the nose of our 2021 vintage and the aromas are echoed on the palate. This is the perfect wine for food and consumption at a younger age.
The next wine featured this month is our 2021 Old Vine Zinfandel; beaming with deep aromatics of mission fig, black plum, nutmeg, and mocha. Dark fruit characteristics are expressed on the palate with a luscious mouth filing entry, lengthy yet velvety tannins on the mid-palate and a rich, dense finish. This vintage is a blend of 87% Zinfandel, 10% Petite Syrah, 2% Carignane, and 1% Alicante Bouschet, all sourced from our best Old Vine blocks planted over 50 years ago.
The third release this month is our 2021 Cortina, named after the USGS soil type prevalent throughout Dry Creek Valley. The fine gravelly loam produces an elegant wine comprised of 100% Zinfandel, with fine grain tannins and a long finish. Briary black raspberry, Bing cherry, lavender, and graham cracker crust, can be found on the nose. The entry is vibrant, followed by a supple mid-palate, and lengthy finish.
All three releases are a delight, and you will soon experience why 2021 has been deemed an ‘exceptional’ vintage.