Mendocino Benchlands 2020
40% Petite Sirah, 37% Zinfandel, 23% Nero d'Avola
All four components of this early season Zin, Petite Sirah, and mid-season Nero d’Avola blend were fermented separately in small batches: whole cluster for the Zin and Petite, destemmed for the Nero. All lots pressed prior to dryness and barrel aged for 6 months off lees. Unfined. Unfiltered. Sediment expected.
Zinfandel and half of the Petite Sirah from Chiarito-Ling Vineyard, Ukiah, Mendocino County; we lease and farm; dry farmed (no irrigation) vines; farmed according to organic principles without the use of pesticides, herbicides, and synthetic fungicides.
The other half of Petite Sirah comes from Benson Ranch, Ukiah, Mendocino County: 14 year old dry farmed (no irrigation) vines, gravelly loam soil.
Nero d’Avola from Fox Hill, Talmage Bench, Mendocino County: 33 year old vines (as far as we know the oldest Nero d’Avola in CA), sandy loam soils.
This light blend smells like tart raspberries just plucked off the bush and tastes like grown up hawaiian punch. Notes of pineapple, pluot, and orange groove together for a rejuvenating blend, and show off a lighter side of Petite Sirah.
Serious farming can still lead to light, bright and playful wine! Inspired by the Italian farming tradition of growing grapes on the poorer soils of Mendocino’s uplifted benchlands.
The Mendocino Benchlands blend was resurrected in 2019 (original vintage was 2015) as a result of a new vineyard we started leasing and farming in 2019 in Mendocino County called Chiarito-Ling. Deviating from the 2015 and 2019 vintages a smidge, in 2020 we also added some juicy carbonic Petite Sirah from both of our self-farmed vineyards to bring some blue fruit to the blend. This wine is inspired by the Italian farming tradition where grapes were planted on the poorer soils of the uplifted benchlands of Mendocino County (the rich valley floor soils were reserved for vegetables). All of the vineyards in this blend are planted on those uplifted benchlands.
All four components of this early season Zin, Petite Sirah and mid-season Nero d’Avola blend were fermented separately in small batches. Zinfandel was harvested first and ~20% of clusters were food tread (on stems) and put into an open top stainless steel fermenter with the remaining ~80% intact whole clusters. Minimal pumpovers were performed and this lot was pressed after a few days, when the color was still that of ruby red grapefruit juice. Petite Sirah from Benson Ranch and Charito-Ling were fermented similarly to one another: ~40% was foot tread (on stems) and put with the remaining ~60% intact whole clusters into sealed stainless steel tanks to undergo partial carbonic macerations for ~4 days prior to pressing. Nero d’Avola was destemmed and pressed after 5 days. All lots were racked off lees and barreled down into neutral oak at dryness where they aged for 6 months prior to blending and bottling.
Production: 738 cases
(February 2021): Free SO2 11 mg/L, total SO2 30 mg/L; 0.3 g/L RS (dry). Sediment expected. All wines are vegan.