Next Friday we head over to Tokyo, Japan for a week of promoting and meeting our customers in Japan. We have a large following in Japan, and it will be great to connect with everyone in person finally. These posters were designed by Henry Owings of Chunklet Graphic Control, and printed by my friends at Who Made Who in Minneapolis, MN. They will be given out as gifts to the attendees at each of the dinners that we are hosting. Only 150 were made! So excited for this trip. I have seen the menus, and they are sure to be mind blowing!
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.
Join Zepaltas Wines in NYC February 26th at City Winery for an extensive tasting of the Best of Sonoma Coast!
Tickets available HERE
We are really excited to give this wine a larger audience. We have been keeping it behind the scenes, making it only available via the mailing list for the last few vintages, but now we will be featuring it on the wine lists of some of our best accounts around the world.
We have been employing the fruit from Fred and Wendy Nunes’ predominately dry-farmed vineyard as the anchor to our Russian River Pinot Noir since 2008. In that time we’ve enjoyed getting to know nuances the vineyard and how the resulting wines age. We have blended small single-vineyard cuvees for our mailing list in the past, but this will be the first wide release of Nunes Vyd. to the outside world. After multiple tasting trials, we created the blend from three of our favorite sections of the vineyard planted to two different Dijon clones: 777 & 115. The wine was aged for 14 months in 40% new French oak barriques.
On the nose, aromas of dried rosemary, blueberry & black cherry. On the palate we get light tannins and medium-bodied mouthfeel. This wine will benefit from one year in the cellar so that the wine can align itself. This vintage of Nunes is a touch lighter on its feet than past vintages. It is elegant and layered, but still delivers the classic fruit character of the Russian River Valley. Bottled unfined and unfiltered.
48 cases made
Buy it HERE
We have been bottling our “Babushka” Chardonnay since 2007. The name is a tribute to my great grandmother who only spoke Polish. In Slavic languages it means “grandmother”, but it is also slang for the scarf that old ladies would wear on their heads in cold weather.
When we would visit her in the winter growing up in Wisconsin, her way of telling us to bundle up when we went outside to play was “babushka, babushka.” I always thought it was a cool word. She was a cool lady. She went to church everyday, but didn’t mind having a drink and playing cards. I always loved her spirit and balance.
Each year to create this wine, we select our favorite barrels from the Russian River Valley lots to go into our Babushka Chardonnay. More often than not, the blend is anchored by Keefer Ranch. This vintage is no different; in fact, the bottling is a 100% comprised of barrels from the Keefer Ranch Vineyard located in the Green Valley sub-appellation of the Russian River Valley. The vines are planted on a rocky hillside that permits good drainage and promotes root depth. We used 22% new French oak for aging, and the wine spent 14 months on the lees. Malolactic fermentation was blocked in order to keep the wine bright and snappy on the palate.
On the nose we get wet stones, lemon curd and tonic, and as the wine opens up the steely edge loosens up showing hints of orchid flowers and citrus and horchata.
This wine should age and keep on improving for at least 5 years from release, but requires decanting for short term drinking. Classic pairings would be roasted chicken or cream sauce based pasta dishes.
113 cases made
Buy it Here