The year 2009 was the first of what has been a three-year string of cooler vintages. While not as cool or as late as 2010 or 2011, this year was defined by the long and very moderate growing season that was absent of any major heat events (very unusual) and also by the warm, late harvest.
We saw excellent flavor development and maturity in all of our Estate Vineyard fruit this season with lower-than-average sugar levels – perfect for the balanced and restrained classic Montelena style. The spring rains and moderate conditions all season, combined with the lack of major heat events, resulted in a record-size harvest – a nice change from the meager 2008 crop. This is a pattern that we’ve seen before – we’ll have a small harvest one year, followed by a record or near-record harvest the next – for example ’04 & ’05.
Beautiful and dark garnet in color, this Zinfandel opens with aromas of bright raspberry and floral top notes; followed by cedar, dried berries, dried plums, and the classic Zinfandel briar-berry along with hints of pipe tobacco and dusty cocoa. The palate opens softly, with exceptional balance, and builds nicely into a good full finish. Dried fruit notes are perfectly complemented by fresh, red currant and mature black fruit flavors. Very juicy on the palate, it is ripe and sweet, with good length and just a hint of herbs on the finish. It shows good weight and velvety tannins throughout – very fleshy without being overbearing – and should pair nicely with a wide variety of dishes.
Cameron Parry, Winemaker
Harvest Dates: Sept. 12 to Oct. 10
Barrel Aging: 14 Months, 11% New
Bottling Date: March 2011
Release Date: Spring 2012