Vintage 2020

St Georges Zinfandel Old Vines, Birichino

Birichino
Product Code: AB04ZZRC

Tasting Notes

One of the few California Chardonnays that behaves like a Grand Cru Chablis. Exhibits a nervous edge as well as loads of lemon butter, green apple and whitecurrant-like characteristics, laser-like precision, superb acidity and surprising intensity as well as richness. "The mountain and marine influence of Monterey Bay, 12 miles west, is undeniable- the acidity is mouthwatering, enhanced by a stone fruit spectrum of flavors and alpine herbs overlaid on the brambly sapidity of zinfandel. "

Profile

Zinfandel
White
14.5
USA
California
12
Cork
Birichino
75cl
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            [Description] => Zinfandel St Georges
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            [Notes1] => One of the few California Chardonnays that behaves like a Grand Cru Chablis. Exhibits a nervous edge as well as loads of lemon butter, green apple and whitecurrant-like characteristics, laser-like precision, superb acidity and surprising intensity as well as richness.


"The mountain and marine influence
of Monterey Bay, 12 miles west, is undeniable- the acidity is
mouthwatering, enhanced by a stone fruit spectrum of flavors
and alpine herbs overlaid on the brambly sapidity of zinfandel. "			
			
			
			

            [Notes2] => This historic 100 hectare property lies 3.5 kilometres north of Calistoga, at the base of Mount St. Helena. The region lies on a complex terroir with a mixture of alluvial and volcanic soils, some on the flat, some on steeply sided hillsides. Extending out from the Napa River is the alluvial soil, the most prevalent type on the property. In the back and outside areas of the vineyard are volcanic soils, formed by ancient lava flows caused by tectonic uplifting. Sustainable farming is practised  avoiding the use of any chemical fertilisers. Instead organic chicken manure and compost made with the previous season`s pomace - seeds, stems and grape skins left after crushing is used. Ladybirds are used to combat unwanted pests, and light ploughing is done to keep the vineyard clean and free from weeds. Harvesting is carried out at night to preserve the fruit.
            [Notes3] => 
            [Notes4] => One of the few California Chardonnays that behaves like a grand cru Chablis. Exhibits a nervous edge as well as loads of lemon butter, green apple, and white currant-like characteristics, laser-like precision, superb acidity, and surprising intensity as well as richness.
            [MediaNotes] => 
            [ServingSuggestion] => Anything Barbequed! Ribs, Pulled pork, Jamaican Jerk Chicken, English Jerk Monarchs, Stuffed Aubergine, Ox cheeks, Braised beef and stews, burgers!			
			

            [WineMakingNotes] => The St Georges Zinfandel was first planted on gravelly loam soils by an Italian bootlegger in 1922 in the lee of the Santa Cruz Mountains, on the wrong side of the law and the road, and 50’ too low to qualify for what became the Santa Cruz Mountains appellation in 1981. It’s been farmed continuously by the Besson family since 1925.


St Georges Zinfandel Old Vines
A miserable grape planted a very long time ago (1922) in a very cool spot with lots of evening fog coming through the Santa Cruz Mountains from Monterey Bay. The positive is that it gives us the chance to make a vibrant, fresh style of Zinfandel, and not a baked, raisined, pruney, port-like boozy confection. But the mildew pressure is intense, and we end up literally chopping away a third to a half of the fruit from this site each year. And sometime we get nothing at all. So here, we also hand-harvest early morning, and yet because of the potential for naught bunch rot to hide deep in the tightly-space clusters, and the additional  tendency of zinfandel to ripen unevenly and have raisins and green berries on the same cluster with perfectly ripe ones, we destem this entirely and incinerate the stems and then stomp on them, cursing Bacchus. Unless its been absolutely awful weather and the entire crop looks like an impromptu Fungus Fair, we ferment this native in stainless, and do the same 2x daily pumpover and fairly short maceration protocol, and then put downo to old French barriques for 9-10 months before bottling unfined, unfiltered. 

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About this product +

Producer >

Alex Krause and John Locke founded Birichino in Santa Cruz in 2008. Drawing on a combined four decades making wine in California, France, Italy, and beyond, they are focused on attaining the perfect balance of perfume, poise, and puckishness. Sourcing from a number of carefully farmed, family-owned, own-rooted 19th and early 20th century vineyards (and a few from the late disco era) planted by and large in more moderate, marine-influenced climates, their preoccupation is to safeguard the quality and vibrance of their raw materials. Their preference is for minimal intervention, most often favouring native fermentations, employing stainless or neutral barrels, minimal racking and fining, and avoiding filtration altogether when possible. But most critically, their aim is to make delicious wines that give pleasure, revitalize, and revive.

Viticulture >

The St Georges Zinfandel was first planted on gravelly loam soils by an Italian bootlegger in 1922 in the lee of the Santa Cruz Mountains, on the wrong side of the law and the road, and 50’ too low to qualify for what became the Santa Cruz Mountains appellation in 1981. Yet the mountain and marine influence of Monterey Bay 12 miles west is undeniable- the acidity is mouthwatering, enhanced by a stone fruit spectrum of flavors and alpine herbs overlaid on the brambly sapidity of zinfandel.

Winemaking >

Among the great challenges of winemaking, alongside frequently wet feet, perpetually dirty hands, and resisting the urge to get high on your own supply, is maintaining discipline to follow the path the grapes have in mind when it conflicts with the path you’d plotted for them. We prefer to bring these grapes into the winery at 13.0%-13.5% potential alcohol, and suprisingly, in 2021 the vines cooperated and ripened at a very gentle pace, allowing us to harvest them on the 20th of October- later than we've ever picked this site, but still at modest degree of ripeness, clocking in at 13.5%. Farmed continuously from father to son by the Besson family for the past 96 years. Native ferment, elevage in neutral barriques and demi-muid. Unfiltered.

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