Young Vines 2019 Long Élevage
99% Zinfandel-related clones, 1% Vermentino
All Zinfandel-related clones were harvested together and co-fermented whole cluster in an open-top stainless steel tank. During early stages of fermentation, gentle body punch-downs and short pump-overs were used in order to limit extraction. We performed a délestage ~2/3 through fermentation. Close to dryness, a seal was placed on the tank to begin an extended maceration. After a month total on stems and skins, the tank was pressed, and the wine was racked to neutral oak barrels.
Vermentino was gently foot tread before pressing. Juice was racked to stainless steel to begin fermentation. The wine was twice racked off its lees, once after a very active 12 day fermentation, and again when fermentation was complete. The wine continued to age in neutral Flextank for 9 months before a splash was added to the 2019 Young Vines blend.
The initial release of 2019 Young Vines was kept in barrel for 9 months before racking and final blending; for the extended elevage series, we selected 10 barrels to continue to age for 18 months in total in neutral French oak barrels before bottling.
Venturi Vineyard, Mendocino County; certified organic; dry farmed on Pinole gravelly loam soils. While the soils in these parcels have been planted to grapes for over 100 years, these “young vines” of Zinfandel-related clones (Primitivo, Rockpile, Dupratt, Dempel) are less than 15 years old, on average. The Vermentino, planted alongside the Rockpile block, was harvested for the very first time in 2019.
A juicy nose of wild blackberry, baking spice, and ancho chili — plus lemon zest from the splash of Vermentino — gives you everything you want Zinfandel to smell like (but it rarely does). A generous body is balanced by moderate acidity and characteristically fine, dusty tannins (Venturi Vineyard’s signature). This wine finishes dry and is perfect with food.
This wine spent 18 months in barrel and an additional 14 months bottle aging before release (32 months total). This careful consideration of co-fermented Zinfandel clones offers a taste of history and patience: only after cultivating Zinfandel for the past 170 years would we have such distinct clones, and only by waiting do we get to experience the evolution of flavor that occurs after extended aging.
Young Vines sits at the intersection of then and now; a buoyant, youthful body that’s rooted in over 100 years of California winemaking history. As much as this wine is a child with an old soul, it’s an expression of wise elders who are children at heart.
I find loose inspiration in art, music, and yes, other wines of the world. This wine throws a Californian wink at Côte-Rôtie, where a portion of Viognier may be blended into Syrah as a means to lift aromatics. While the white grape Vermentino is not quite the aromatic powerhouse that Viognier is, it subtly lends a small element to this blend of Zinfandel-related clones. Zinfandel has a long enough history in California that distinct clones have developed over the generations. Somewhere between a single varietal, single vineyard wine and a blend, this unique mix of Dempel, Rockpile, DuPratt and Primitivo clones (and that splash of Vermentino ;-) all bring a different voice to this wine, resulting in a wine full of spice, dark fruit, and taught tannins.
Production: 262 cases
12.5% alcohol. Unfined. Filtered. At bottling (February 2021): free SO2 12 mg/L, total SO2 36 mg/L.