This is the best our old vine zinfandel vineyard delivers: a separate lot of our two best barrels that are set aside for an additional year of aging. Our winery has always been dedicated to that versatile, spicy, and most Californian-of-all grape: zinfandel. Ever since we started making wine commercially ten years ago, we have tried to bring a classic style of zinfandel back from obscurity, crafting zins as the Italian and Swiss immigrants intended when they planted the first zin vines in Sonoma County almost 150 years ago. As winemakers, we consider the Master to be the crowning achievement of what our small winery produces each year. Our ‘Mr Beast’ zin (the majority of the vineyard) sees less time in barrel and is usually more approachable and fruit filled. ‘Zin Master’ is meant to be a more serious and structured endeavor, a zinfandel with layers of brooding, dark spice, tannin, and a firm core that’s made for aging in the cellar. Not that it doesn’t taste spectacular right now: that’s the beauty of zinfandel. But you’ll be rewarded if you’re patient with this master.
The ’17 vintage was generally cool, but indelibly marked by a labor day heat spike past 110 deg that sent winemakers into a panic. If you harvested then, you’re fruit was underripe. If you waited for the weather to get cooler, then sugars receded and you were rewarded with a crop that actually had some good acidity and finesse. The sun had burned a 1/3 of our crop after the heat spike, but after a vigorous sorting in the field and at the winery, the zinfandel we made from the vintage was actually incredibly complex and satisfying. This vintage is juicier than the ’16 master, but there is loads of that pepper spice we’ve come to expect from the vineyard that is complemented by chocolate and caramel notes behind rich wild raspberry flavors. This wine is great now, but will be absolutely mindblowing from 2021-2025. It is our most limited wine: it is mostly gobbled up by club members and will be sold out very soon.