Zinfandel clusters are big and ripen unevenly, and sometimes one side of the cluster is still green while the other side has turned deep red in color, which makes picking decisions difficult. 2014 Was a warm, dry year and ripening was not an issue which allowed us to pick early at a reasonable sugar content and work with clean, fully ripe fruit.
Forgeron has sourced Zinfandel grapes from Alder Ridge Vineyard, overlooking the Columbia River in the Horse Heaven Hills, since 2001. Though the site is warm, its proximity to the river brings cool winds and ambient air circulation, cutting down on the likelihood of the grapes developing rot. Alder Ridge slopes face south and are composed of poor, sandy soil which allows excellent drainage making for low-yield, high-quality fruit.
Zinfandel is a difficult wine to make. It is notoriously difficult to grow and fully ripen in the vineyard, and then requires finesse in the cellar to create a balanced wine because of the high alcohol. Zinfandel shares many traits with Pinot Noir, its profile varies from bright strawberry fruit to deep, cloying, and sugar-like. We prefer the fresh and aromatic style and pick earlier to pursue that profile. Also like Pinot Noir, Zinfandel color can be light and almost brick-like, which is not an indication of a lighter wine. We find we need to be very careful and respectful of the fruit, so typically we do a short fermentation to preserve the spice and berry flavors followed by 14 months aging in oak.
Smooth and creamy with balanced acids and tannins.
NOSE: cloves, nutmeg, jam, boysenberry, spice, licorice, white pepper
MOUTH: spicy, dark chocolate, licorice, boysenberry, brown sugar
FOOD & WINE PAIRING: Flank steak with rosemary, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar