For more than 100 years, Zinfandel has been a cornerstone varietal of Paso Robles, making it a natural fit for our small family of wines. Over the past several vintages, ours has emerged as one of the region’s most acclaimed Zinfandels. The 2011 vintage hails exclusively from our estate Margarita Vineyard, which yields an intense yet balanced expression of the Zinfandel grape.
The 2011 Zinfandel bursts with bright, fresh aromas of wild blackberries and raspberry jam with suggestions of cola and cocoa. Juicy flavors of cherry, strawberry and boysenberry anticipate accents of cedar and white pepper. A smooth, rounded finish offers lively acidity and elegant balance.
The 2011 Zinfandel is composed of fruit from three separate blocks at Margarita Vineyard. Block 48 is planted to sedimentary soils along the northeastern border of the vineyard. Blocks 49 unfolds along a slope riddled with flaky shale on the western flank, while Block 32 is planted to volcanic soils to the far south. Collectively, these different soils and exposures bring natural complexity and dimension to our Zinfandel. Margarita Vineyard stands alone as the southernmost vineyard in the Paso Robles AVA, nestled into the rugged Santa Lucia Mountain Range just 14 miles from the Pacific Ocean. The mountains tower over the property’s western flank, testaments to the tectonic forces that blessed Margarita Vineyard with a rare diversity of soils. The peaks also act as a gateway between the cool marine air to the south and warm inland conditions to the north. This phenomenon creates one of the coolest growing environments in the Paso Robles region, resulting in fruit of uncommon depth and structure.
Our goal is to produce a Zinfandel that exhibits evenness with varietally pure character that is rooted in the growing conditions at Margarita Vineyard. We accordingly picked the fruit in the range of 24 to 26 Brix. The lots were cold soaked for 48 hours for a soft extraction of flavor and color, and we sought extended fermentation to slowly extract added flavor from the skins. Pumpovers were employed three times per day in the earlier stages of fermentation for balanced extraction, then dialed back to ensure richness without astringency. After light pressing, the individual lots were racked to a combination of French (40%) and American (60%) oak barrels (comprised of 20% new oak) where they aged for 17 months prior to blending and bottling.
Food Pairing Notes
The 2011 Zinfandel’s bright, juicy character is a great match for grilled cheeseburgers, steak pizza with peppers, herbed lamb kabobs and classic Santa Maria-style barbecue.