Today’s featured wine comes from the Petaluma Gap area of the Sonoma Coast Appellation. The La Cruz Vineyard sort of “put us on the map” as a winery when we received great press from the Wine Spectator (95 pts) in our debut vintage of 2005. It has been a very consistent site for us each year turning out a classically styled, earthy, elegant wine. Most recently, our 2010 had a great write-up in the San Francisco Chronicle. The La Cruz was noted as “a benchmark” for Sonoma Coast wines from the difficult 2010 vintage, and made the Newspaper’s year end “Top 100 Wines” list.
The 2011 is our 7th vintage from the La Cruz Vineyard. It is strange to think that it is only now that we feel that we‘ve begun to really understand the vineyard. During the first few harvests it was all about how the juice and the subsequent wines tasted young, and the noted differences in the various soils, elevations and clones. Only after aging some bottlings, and seeing how the wines shaped themselves, were we able to take our knowledge to the next level. The biggest epiphany came from learning when to pick without losing our natural acidity. Early on, we may have hung the fruit longer to insure good “fruit character” but may have lost out on some natural acidity. Now we have the confidence to pick much earlier knowing that we can have our cake and eat it to with this vineyard. Getting “fruit character” isn’t a problem at 22 brix. This blend is made from wine from 3 different sections: 115 Dijon clone, a little Pommard and some Dijon 114. Bottled unfined and unfiltered.
On the nose: mushroom, cedar and dried cherries. It is held together and given presence by vibrant acid. The light tannins and gentle, pretty fruit deliver a wine that is showing well young, but should gain complexity with time in the cellar. It’s your call!
98 cases made
Buy it HERE
Today’s featured wine is a special bottling from our appellation series of Pinot Noirs. These are wines that we blend together so that we have great Pinot to offer at a friendlier price than our single vineyard Pinot Noirs. This is the new bottling from the challenging, but (we feel) underrated vintage:
2011 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
Why do we love the Sonoma Coast? Is it the romance of remote vineyards planted on the fringe? The risk involved in farming in these often “too cool” sites? The exotic & unique flavors of the wines? Yes, yes and yes. The payoff is worth the white knuckles and anxiety that tougher vintages bring on. 2011 definitely was a challenge, but we are really proud of what made the cut in this blend. On the nose, we get dried herbs, morel mushrooms and cherries, cranberries & currant. Fans of stem inclusion will love the aromatics and structure of this wine. It is lean, yet textured, and with enough fruit to remind you that this is California Pinot Noir. The 2011 was blended from barrels from the Suacci, Devoto, Marshall Ranch and La Cruz Vineyards. Aged 14 months in 33% new French Oak.
212 cases made
For the next five days we will feature the wines on the current release. Today we start with our longest running bottling the Rosella's Vineyard Syrah frim the Sant Lucia Highlands in Monterey County, CA:
We have been making syrah from the Rosella’s Vineyard since the 2004 Vintage. Gary Franscioni was the first grower to give us a shot when we started Zepaltas Wines. The syrah from this vineyard displays distinct aromatics, and incredible structure year in and year out. We’d go to bat for Rosella’s Vineyard to be considered a “Grand Cru” vineyard if we did that sort of classification in California. It is farmed with great care by Gary Franscioni, and Gary is dead serious about his vines. It can easily be picked out in a blind tasting of other Syrahs. Here is the tasting notes for the 2011 :
We get two clones from the windy, late ripening site: 877 and the “Bien Nacido” selection. The two clones were co-fermented with 50% stems included. The wine went through a long, cool ferment assisted by the cold cellar temperatures late in the harvest season. After 18 days on the skins, the wine was pressed directly to barrel. Normally, we would give the wine a racking once during its 14 months in barrel, but this vintage remained untouched (besides regular topping.) Just two barrels were made of this wine so supply, as usual, is very limited. Bottled unfined and unfiltered.
On the nose we get blackberry, coffee and a touch of orange peel. On the palate we detect a slight meatiness, blueberry, with nice grip of medium sized tannins that hold it all together. This wine has really bright acidity which makes if very age worthy and of course excellent at the dinner table. This wine will continue to improve over the next 7-8 years. Two pairings that have matched well in our home have been Rib-eye steaks topped with blue cheese & braised short ribs over polenta.
47 cases made
Alder Yarrow wrote about last summer's West of West tasting in Occidental, CA HERE
Excerpt from the Article:
"2011 Zepaltas Wines Devoto Pinot Noir
Pale garnet in the glass, this wine smells beautifully of violets and raspberries. In the mouth gorgeous raspberry fruit is dusted with fine grained tannins but remains boisterously juicy. Beautiful texture and great acidity. Stunning. "