2002 could not have been a better year to start our Sonoma County Zinfandel program. The season was a winemaker’s
dream, with a long growing season, no discernable heat spikes, and superior quality fruit. Winemaker Dennis Hill feels that
the quality is at least on par with the memorable vintage of 1997.
Blackstone sources fruit exclusively from two top growing regions in northern Sonoma County. Both the Alexander Valley and
Dry Creek Valley are situated close to the town of Healdsburg, and enjoy mild mornings, warm afternoons and mild evenings.
The warmth of these appellations allowed Zinfandel to ripen to perfection, while keeping sugar and acid in balance.
After harvest and fermentation, the wine was aged in predominantly American oak for fourteen months. 15% of the oak was
new, giving the wine have toasty spice and vanilla flavors without overpowering the bright blackberry and red peppercorn
flavors that form the backbone of this well-balanced wine.
This Zin won’t disappoint, with a huge mouthfeel and intense berry and spice on the palate. This flavorful wine demands
hedonistic fare such as baby back ribs, pork tenderloin, strong cheeses and deep-dish pizza.
Zinfandel is a variety of red grape planted in over 10 percent of California wine vineyards. DNA fingerprinting revealed that it is genetically equivalent to the Croatian grape Crljenak Kaštelanski, and also the Primitivo variety traditionally grown in the 'heel' of Italy. It is typically made into a robust red wine. Its taste depends on the ripeness of the grapes from which it is made. Red berry fruits like raspberry predominate in wines from cooler areas such as the Napa Valley, whereas blackberry, anise and pepper notes are more common in wines made in warmer areas such as Sonoma County. Many Zinfandels come from head pruned ‘Old Vines’. ‘Old Vine’ is generally understood to mean a vine that is more than 50 years old and that produces less than three tons per acre. ‘Head Pruning’ is an old European style of pruning that trains the vine into the shape of a goblet. It requires no wires or other complex trellis systems. Head pruning spreads the fruit uniformly along the vine and allows light penetration.In the USA a semi-sweet Rosé (blush-style) wine called ‘White Zinfandel’ has achieved widespread popularity. In fact, this popularity has so outstripped all other forms that many fans think there is actually a grape called “White Zinfandel” (there isn’t)!