A graceful but intense red Zinfandel from Tegan Passalacqua's old-vine vineyard on the sandy edges of the Mokelumne in Lodi. A very special vineyard, the source of two of our favorite wines. This year, the red Zin was our most beautiful wine of the vintage. There is something perfect about it-- intensity and grace, lightness and power-- and beautiful but restrained fruit. I feel my ability to praise the wine failing before its charms.
The growing season was perfect, with late Spring rains, moderate warmth through the ripening season, and no heat spikes. The fruit was health and strong and fermented more quickly and cleanly than it usually does. We pursued the path of light extraction that we had begun in 2016-- the whole clusters were foot-treaded on harvest day, breaking up about a third of the berries, but left undisturbed from then on. No punchdowns, no pumpovers, just a strong, dry cap of skins and stems floating above the wine. Somehow the depth of the fruit and stems passes effortlessly into the wine: it is dark and tannic; one can only sense the delicacy of the fermentation in the grace of of the wine.