The Wine Zinfandel, is known as the California wine grape. It came from Croatia, but it has been grown here for so long that it has morphed into a grape unique to California. It is now planted in other parts of the world, not from Croatia but from California cuttings. The Blend accentuates the Zinfandel dark berry flavors, which focus in the center of the palate with a “supernova” of flavor exploding outward. Malbec focuses its blackberry nuances in the bottom back of the palate, which intensifies the Zinfandel’s transition to a longer finish.
The Vineyard The Los Chamizal Vineyard is very near where Count Harathzy first planted Zinfandel in California in 1850. A mile west of this genesis spot, Los Chamizal is in a steep, boxed valley, facing the San Francisco Bay. Within the vineyard are separate blocks of Zinfandel that show unique character relevant to their micro-terroir. This bottling is made from Robert’s favorite blocks. We’ve made wine from the Los Chamizal Vineyard for over 30 years.
The Vintage 2013 was the best vintage of the decade and the best vintage since the 2007 vintage. All the stars aligned. Perfect weather, a gentle spring allowing for perfect bloom, enough rain at the right time, no heat spikes during the ripening; wines from 2013 will have a long life.
Winemaking Our now ubiquitous whole berry fermentation technique was first developed for Zinfandel to maximize berry flavors while taming the Zins typically high alcohol and tannins. We don’t crush the berries but gently destem them, triple sort them and let the fermentation in the small amount of free run juice begin on native yeast before inoculating with a pure strain yeast we know form experience will tolerate the typically high alcohol of Zinfandel and express the best Zin flavors. Most of the fermentation takes place inside the berry, trapping volatile compounds that enhance flavor, mask high alcohol and make the wine smoother. Extended barrel aging, almost unique to Deerfield, marries the components into a harmonious balance. We use mostly Pennsylvania American oak barrels to age this wine, which accentuates the front palate experience. American oak pairs particularly well with Zinfandel. The wine was racked only once during its three and a half years of aging. The barrels were topped every three weeks and tasted every other month.
The Experience If you want to know what Zinfandel should taste like, this is it. The aromatic entry, like a potpourri of black Boysenberries and red raspberries, explodes in the middle palate with big round fruit that adds strawberries and ripe cherries. You pick up the Malbec toward the back, and after you swallow. It pulls the Zinfandel back broadening the profile. This wine is a mouthful, with a generosity that cannot be compared.