The Concept: I remember going to the very first ZAP festival in San Francisco in the 1990s. I became a ZAP board member 8 years ago. 2019 was my 30th vintage in California. This Reserve Zinfandel is a great marker of this personal winemaking milestone for me.
Zinfandels, in general, have evolved quite a bit over these years. The trend toward balance, elegance, and expression of terroir—rather than the shock-and-awe style of bygone vintages—has been an enjoyable progression to experience. —Miro
Vineyard: Wolcott-Bevill is just off Dry Creek Road. The vineyard grows on a hill with southeastern exposure. The vines are trellised and are about 35 years old. The soils are typical for Dry Creek Valley—Cortina-type yellow/red with fine structure and relatively less fertile and shallow, which is perfect for a wine-producing vineyard.
Vintage: The 2019 season had an interesting mix of conditions, to say the least! We had a lot of rain in March and in May, fires in October with evacuations and power outages—other than that, the quality was spectacular! In 2019, the smoke did not affect the Zinfandel vineyards, therefore no smoke taint. Otherwise, the growing season was relatively mild and long without any heat waves or other surprises. The crop yields were lower than in 2018 and the fruit quality is high.
Winemaking: The grapes were night-cold when they were harvested in the early morning of October 16th, 2019. The Zinfandel and the Petite Sirah, which grow together in the same vineyard, were kept separate throughout the winemaking and barrel-aging process. The fruit was destemmed only (not crushed) and open-top fermented and punched down by hand. The fermentation was very slow due to relatively low temperature, but eventually, it finished dry. The wine was aged in 35% new French oak barrels for about 14 months. Before bottling, the 7% Petite Sirah and 93% Zinfandel were blended back together.