Zepaltas Wines

From the Library: 2008s-How are they doing?

2008 La Cruz Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

From the beginning, it has been our goal here at Zepaltas Wines to produce wines that improve with age, and have some staying power. Now that we have over 9 vintages under our belt, we are starting to look back at some of our past releases to see how they are aging, and passing our thoughts on to you. Hopefully, it will help you out in deciding whether to drink or hold any Zepaltas wines that occupy your cellar.

Today, we popped open the 2008 La Cruz Pinot from the famed/nightmare “Fire and Ice” vintage. The spring of 08 was a cold one, and the frost damage wiped out huge portions of the crops in many Sonoma County vineyards. Later in the growing season, Northern California was hit with wildfires that caused smoke to linger in the air for a few weeks. Many growers & producers were affected by this smoke damage. The vintage produced many undrinkable wines. Some wineries lost entire vintages while others embraced it and did their best. At the time, we felt that we were lucky to not have any damage in our vineyards, but it always remained in the back of our head that someday “smoke taint” could appear in our wines. We are happy to say that the La Cruz Vineyard remains clean in that department.

Here are our current tasting notes:
Still fresh and bright on the palate though a bit of heat is starting to show through, primary fruit has begun to fade. Mushroom, currant & chili aromas dominate the nose. Fans of the secondary aroma and flavor development in Pinot Noir will enjoy this. Tannins are still there, but softened.

It is fun to look back at the notes at the time of release (Sept. 2009) and see how they compare:

“On the nose we get deep aromatics: curry, Chinese 5 spice, earth and a touch of candied fruit (almost like a Grenache from the South of France in a strange way.) There is some good grip in the blend this year due to the whole clusters that we used in the ferments this year, and it helps augment the fruit character.”

Overall, for a tough vintage we think that this wine has aged ok, but definitely not going to keep getting better. We suggest drinking this within the next 12 months, and with food to help balance the alcohol that is starting to show. Its showing solid, clean but probably won’t be the most memorable wine.

-Ryan Zepaltas
Winemaker

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