2018 Zinfandel Beauregard Ranch
Ben Lomond Mountain
The 2018 Beauregard Ranch Zinfandel is one of the boldest offerings we have made to date. The extraction, tannins, alcohol, acid, and color are big and muscular. The nose offers a concentrated sweet perfume of stewing berries along side newly tilled earth. The palate juicy and chewy with flavors of ripe blackberry, dates, and bacon jam. The wine has a long finish with smooth tannins.
The Beauregard Ranch vineyard site was part of an original 160 acre vineyard and apple orchard planted in the early 1900’s. The vineyard was abandoned during prohibition and then resurrected in 1945 when retired Sherrif’s deputy Amos Beauregard purchased the property. It sits at an elevation of 1700 to 1850 feet on a southwest facing slope. Monterey Bay marine influences combine with sandy loam soil to produce wines with minerality and striking acidity. Plantings: Four acres Pinot Noir, clones: Pommard, 667 & 115. One acre Chardonnay, clone 4. Three acres Zinfandel, clone Primitivo. Four acres Cabernet Sauvignon, Dijon clone.
As far as vinification of this wine, I harvested it when the grape clusters had around 20% raisins. Fermentation and maceration lasted for 21 days before pressing large 132 gallon french oak puncheons. I selected these puncheons from some of the most historic and expensive barrel builders on the planet. I use Puncheons on Zinfandel rather than regular barrels for preservation of freshness. Because of the thicker wooden barrel staves, there is less evaporation (micro-oxygenation) which leaves the wine less concentrated which is a good match I have found over the last decade for this particular wine.
2018 was textbook perfect for our vineyards with slow ripening caused by a cooler growing season. The yields were light but that led to higher quality wines (in most cases). The last time we had harvests this late was 2010 which I remember vividly. The big difference between 2010 and 2018 is that we had no rain to speak of during the 2018 ripening season. The diurnal temperature shifts were quite extreme with the nights dipping into the high 40’s and the days warming to an average 65. This slow ripening leads to more fruit development and better physiological ripening for the berries while preserving acidity. By better physiologically ripening, I mean that the skins of the berries are thicker, the seeds are darker, and the stems of the clusters become more lignified (brown rather than green). In my career, I can name a few perfect vintages; 2002, 2012, and 2018 come to mind. This vintage is remarkable and my team put in 110% effort to craft the best wines that can be made from our family estate. I have selected rare and unusual barrels constructed in France which will hone these wine gems while they mature into wines I will be proud to put my family’s name on.