May 31, 2015
Though we had to wait until after bottling due to our travel schedules, we tasted a sample pulled from the barrels about three weeks before bottling to make sure that the final 50/50 blend of the two barrels had the characteristics we were looking for. We also wanted to set a suggested retail price. We got a real surprise! In our Riedel Vinum Bordeaux glasses, we found a classic Lodi zin with black currants, ripe plums, and hints of fig and black pepper. However, the woodiness of the new American oak gave it a fresh flavor that lightened it up. This combination is sure to capture the hearts of Lodi zin aficionados while pleasing those on the Zinfandel fence who want a lighter, fresher red wine they can drink in the Summer.
With over a year in the barrel, We tasted a sample pulled from each barrel as well as a blend of the two barrels. Though the woodiness of the American oak really stood out, it was fruit forward with an excellent finish. We tasted it beside our very favorite Lodi zins and kept coming back to ours. We tried blending some Petite sirah, but did not notice any improvement. If anything, the Petite dampened the flavor. We were so impressed, we decided to go to bottling with 100% zin and 100% from our vineyard.
Second Barrel Tasting
February 4, 2015
We tasted a small blended sample pulled from both barrels. After 40 years of tasting other peoples' wines, it was exciting to finally taste wine from our own vineyard. The fruit and oak were both subtle. Nothing jumped out at us at first. The wine was also a little light in color compared to fully aged Lodi zin. After about 20 minutes in the glass, it began to open up, and we could begin to get a sense of how the fruit and oak flavors would develop. The winemaker leading our oak trials described it as "elegant." We tried an oak adjunct but were pleased with the flavor being imparted by just the new American oak barrel and decided against any oak additions.
First Barrel Tasting
May 22, 2014
2013 Tasting Notes
The final bottle tasting before release on September 1 was wonderful. We compared it with our perennial favorite Lodi zinfandels that we have loved for more than a decade, and this turned out to be the best Lodi zin under $30 that we have ever tasted. We will keep half of this vintage for ourselves, our family, and our friends and will only release 25 cases for purchase. Here are the tasting notes that we will submit to the tasting room at Estate Crush:
This elegant 100% single vineyard Zinfandel has classic notes of black currants, fig, blackberry, vanilla, and black pepper, freshened and balanced by 17 months in new American oak. Its seductive silky mouth feel is followed by a burst of tannins and a long lingering finish.
That poor wine! After sitting quietly in wonderful, flavorful, comfortable oak barrels, it was suddenly opened to the air, blended, assaulted with sulpher dioxide, filtered through a pad then a 0.43 micron sieve, topped with nitrogen gas, and finally sealed in bottles. It really needed a good long rest! After breathing in microscopic amounts of oxygen over the next 4-6 months, it should be back to its old self. In the mean time, we're checking it at least every month until it is ready for the tasting room in September. After one month in the bottle, it is obviously on its way to being a classic Lodi Zinfandel. Right away, the aroma presented vanilla, ripe plum, black currants. It has a silky mouth feel with a nice balance of jamminess and pepper. The finish is not bad but still needs to develop some. A wonderful toasty oak aroma left in the empty glass tells us we had the right oak and the right amount of time in the barrel. We were worried that keeping it 100% zin and not blending with Petite sirah would make it thin, but it has all the body of any mid-priced Lodi old vine zinfandel. So far, so good!
Third Barrel Tasting
May 4, 2015
August 1, 2015