Sweet Berry Wine
The grapes for this blend are grown on dry-farmed old vines and sourced from vineyards in the center of Mendocino County. All of the vineyards we source from farm without the use of systemic chemicals and are either organic or are transitioning to organic farming. Most of the Carignan, Zinfandel, and all of the Charbono grapes come from Gary Venturi’s vineyard in Calpella, where they are farmed in Yokayo sandy loam soils. We also get a bit of the Carignan from the certified organic Ricetti Vineyard. 12% of the Carignan comes from the certified organic Testa Vineyard, and five percent of the Zinfandel comes from certified organic Hillside Vineyards in Talmage.
All of the fruit was hand-picked and each block selected and fermented separately. A slightly different process was employed for each fermentor in order to bring out more complexity in the blend. There were no additions to the fruit when it was received and added to tanks. All lots were native-yeast fermented in open-top fermenters without cold soaks. Some Carignan lots were 20% whole-cluster while others were 50%, but most were destemmed entirely. Punchdowns gradually decreased. We drained and pressed just before or at dryness and aged in neutral 228L Burgundy barrels or a combination of new and used French 600L demi-muids and 500L puncheons. Zinfandel was 100% destemmed, drained and pressed at dryness and aged in neutral French oak 600L demi-muids. Carbonic maceration was used for the Charbono; whole clusters were placed in open tanks with dry ice. Set at 65°F, the tank was sealed for 7 days. On pressing day, we dug out the tank and added the whole clusters to a horizontal bladder press and gently crushed the grapes to avoid picking up too much structure from the skins. The juice was then fermented in a stainless steel tank with 10ppm SO2 added and transferred at dryness to age in neutral French 228L Burgundy barrels. We racked with light lees and blended into 3 blocks that following Spring. That gave the more structured lots a chance to marry with the leaner to achieve cohesion in the blend. We racked and blended all of the lots into the single blend one month before bottling, and one week before bottling the wine was racked clean to a new tank. We bottled without fining or filtration.