2007 Rancho Bello Vineyard Zinfandel
Zinfandel •Rancho Bello Vineyard
California: Sonoma County: Russian River Valley
What We Say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
Today’s wine is absolutely fantastic! If we loved the 2006 vintage of this wine, we are completely crazy about today’s 2007. If you love great Zinfandel, don’t miss out.
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Mission Codename: The Luckiest Number since…
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Ottimino, a smash hit with our Zinfandel-loving Operatives. This time around, secure a stash of their 2007 Ranch Bello Zin.
Mission Status: Accomplished
Current Winery: Ottimino
Wine Subject: 2007 Zinfandel Ottimino Vineyard – Russian River Valley
Winemaker: William Knuttel
Backgrounder: Zinfandel is often aptly named California’s grape. Its history and lore and the wines that result are often the makings of legend. In this case, Starry Night’s winemaker selected the best old-vine grapes from a number of the Russian River’s best vineyards, many of which have been planted for nearly 100 years. The Russian River Valley is ideally suited for red grape varietals. Its early morning fog and coastal breezes result in a cooler climate than the neighboring wine growing regions. For today’s wine, Agent Red returns to Ottimino, to bring you their delicious, single vineyard Russian River Zinfandel, a wine that is bursting with flavor.
Zinfandel is related to the Italian Primitivo grape, tracing its origin to the Croatian grape Crljenak Kastelanski. Zinfandel is one of the most versatile varietals with the ability to make wines, both rich to fruity, dark to light, and dry to sweet. Russian River Valley Zins, which are characterized by their bold flavors, are among the most popular wines with our Operatives.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Gorgeous dark ruby hues, with perfectly even coloration, right out to the fine red edging of the wine. After a soft swirl, fine, wine colored legs move slowly down the wall of the glass.
Smell – Black cherry and blackberry absolutely leap from the glass. Just behind these, fragrant spiced strawberry candy, dark chocolate, leather and mixed dark dried flower petals join in.
Feel – Soft and smooth, initially. Then, the wine becomes quickly mouth-filling and softly drippy, spreading a mineral-rich dryness that spreads from the center of the palate, out to the lips and cheeks. Rich, complex and ultimately full-bodied, this wine shows off plush tannins and a balanced acidity.
Taste – Dark and very juicy, with darkest black cherry, blackberry and dark plum that expand onto the palate. As these flavors settle in, new flavors emerge, including red plum, dark strawberry, bramble bush, cocoa dust, black tea, flint and black pepper.
Finish – Very long, with an initial rush of dark dark fruit that subsides, gradually yielding to red fruit flavors, spice and earthy elements.
Conclusion – A fantastic follow-up to the wonderful 2006 that we featured last year. This 2007 Ottimino Ranch Bello Vineyard Zinfandel is a far juicier, far more elegant and delicious wine. This vintage retains the crushed velvet fullness of the previous vintage, but it also has broader, fuller flavors. Big and juicy, bursting with black and red fruit – on the nose and on the palate – this delicious wine possesses a great deal of charm and character. Decant for optimum results, and be rewarded with more natural-tasting fruit and elegant spice. Pair with a roast, tangy BBQ or a herb roasted chicken.
Tune in, later today, for Agent Red’s complete interview with winemaker, William Knuttel.
What the Winery Says
Originally planted in 1988 common stock selected from 120 year old vines in an Alexander Valley vineyard, Rancho Bello produces time and again, some of the most fantastic Zinfandels that we produce.
Bright cherry and raspberry aromas are tinged with hints of white pepper, blackberry, Occidental dust, and oak. Flavors erupt on entry, with black cherry spice and bramble dominating the mid-palate. Velvety tannins anchor a great depth and concentration of flavor, and the excellent balance makes this Zinfandel extremely versatile and an excellent food wine.
Vintage 2007 was spectacular in all ways, with virtually ideal weather from start to finish. Bud break occurred normally during a dry, temperate spring, and warm but reasonable temperatures continued all the way through the summer into late fall with nary a hint of moisture. The near perfect weather led to the most even ripening we have ever seen at Rancho Bello, and the fruit we harvested in late September had stunningly deep color, virtually no raisins, and modest-sized clusters. Winemakers dream of harvests like these!
After hand-harvesting, the grapes were left to cold soak for 2 days, increasing the flavor and tannin extraction from the grapes. Fermentation was begun with native yeasts, and then a small dose of D254 strain winemaking yeast was added to carry the fermentation to completion. With 20 days of total maceration, the wine was then pressed and racked to barrels where malolactic fermentation began spontaneously, there after it was racked every quarter in the old world claret style. At bottling the wine had 22 months in French Oak barrels; 40% new & 60% 1- & 2-year-old.
Appellation: Russian River Valley.
Harvest Date: 9/28/07.
Aging: 22 months in 40% new oak.
Bottling Date: 7/30/09.
Residual Sugar: 0.08%.