Mission Codename You say Primitivo, I say...
In all honesty dear Operatives, we don’t really fall for those glitzy gold medals and big points and all that jazz from small local competitions easily UNTIL we taste a wine to verify with our very own palates.
THIS passed that test with stars, and then some. So much so that we got on an interview with the family that grew it to better understand why it’s one of the best Russian River Zinfandels we’ve had lately, and perhaps ever.
A pastoral one-way country road just south of Healdsburg called Limerick Lane wraps up a couple of wineries right across the street from one another, the renowned Limerick Lane Cellars whose Zinfandels can fetch an arm and a leg, and the secret TINY neighbor ONLY INSIDERS know about, Due Ruscelli.
Following their roots, the Sloan family are in love with everything Italian, and after many trips and multiple harvests there, they set out on this tiny vineyard off of Limerick Lane to make the best Primitivo clone Zinfandels humanly possible.
And they did!
Yet they are SO small that getting the word out without a massive marketing budget is challenging. That’s where we come in. We, as in, us and you.
Tramonto and Luna are two special tiny terroir plots within the same Due Ruscelli Estate vineyard, Luna being the lower slopes that the moon hits first on a clear night, and Tramonto is what they call their two weeks later ripening upper terraces, after that famous wild northernly wind the Mediterranean people call the Tramontane. The longer hangtime and the intense afternoon sun exposure of this plot results in even ripening and massively flavorful berries that lead to an extraordinary Zin, with the ever so slightest, barely perceptible yet irresistible Late Harvest sweetness, while complex, savory and balanced too.
A real stunner on the nose, combining a distinctive sense of place with briary power and finesse. Exotic aromas of smoky wild berry, chunky dark chocolate, and Asian spice. The palate knocks it out of the park, combining intensity and power with a keen personality. Floral raspberry and spiced pomegranate open to layered flavors of smoky meat, cracked pepper and herb. Finishes with big but ripe tannins. Calls for smoked meats, an all-day outdoors feast around the grill would be empty without it.
Named a Primitivo as a tribute to the ancestry of “America’s grape” grown in the heel of Italy, this beloved variety just does not get better in intensity and depth, no matter what you call it.
All you Zinners out there, wake up before it’s gone!
96 Points, Double Gold – Harvest Challenge 2019
Deep purple in the core, radiating to a bright magenta rim, where crimson also comes into play
A real stunner, briary power, and finesse, exotic aromas of smoky wild berry, chunky dark chocolate, and Asian spice
Knocks it out of the park, intensity and power with a keen personality, floral raspberry, and spiced pomegranate
Layered flavors of smoky meat, cracked pepper, and herb, finishing long with big but ripe tannins
Calls for smoked meats, an all-day outdoors feast around the grill would be empty without it
What the Winery Says
2016 'Tramonto' RRV Primitivo (Zinfandel)
- Michael & Melissa Sloan
- 100% Zinfandel
- Bari Primitivo 3
- Russian River Valley, Sonoma County
- Due Ruscelli Estate Vineyard
- 24 months
- 30% new French oak
- 9 barrels