Best to Drink: 2018-2020
These Zinfandel grapes come from Michael's brother Richard's vineyard in Amador County. The fermentation of the wine was achieved by yeasts native to the Oleta vineyard. The wine is unfiltered and unfined, to preserve color and flavor intensity. The grapes were harvested in mid-October of 2014 (one in a series of California's drought years) at 32.0 degrees (brix, a reading of sugar content). The wine was aged in American oak for 14 months. The residual sugar is 1.5 percent (by weight). This amounts to a very unusual and delicious wine, a Zinfandel that does not fall into the sweet dessert wine category, yet is indeed sweet, a sweetness that comes not from sugar (most dessert wines contain 8-10 percent sugar) but from super-ripe grapes that hung on the vines well into October.
Blackberry, cranberry and macerated fruit aromas as well as coffee, chocolate and cinnamon give ample notice of the deep, bold flavors to come once you taste the wine. It has the big body you would expect from fully-ripened Zinfandel grapes without the obvious punch of alcohol and sugar found in most late harvest wines. The oak aging and rich fruit presence are perfectly blended for a long, clean finish.
Recommended after dinner, sipping it as you would a fine port. Or serve it as a dessert wine with a cherry or peach cobbler, or with mild cheeses and pears, served with toasted whole-wheat walnut bread.