2016 Morelli Lane Zinfandel
Russian River Valley
Russian River Valley
Morelli Lane Vineyard
September 17, 2016
16 months in French oak (40% new barrels)
Open top fermentation, cold soak, punch down
The cool 2016 summer gave our old vine Zinfandel a particular vivaciousness this vintage. The nose pops with lively and enveloping aromas of sweet berry pie, underlain with savory peppercorn and dried tarragon that add interest and complexity. With more time in the glass, the Chambord aromas intensify and deepen, promising the rich wine ahead. Lush flavors of blackberry, raspberry, and pomegranate spread across your palate in a luxurious embrace on the first sip. Toffee and cocoa notes, along with a touch of sandalwood and black tea, provide spicy background tones, all of this gliding along a beautiful satiny texture.
The Morelli Lane Vineyard is archetypal for all we love about our part of the world: scenic, alive with history, and delicious. This 19th century planting is located at the top of Stoetz Ridge, just north of the town of Occidental on the far western edge of the Russian River Valley appellation. The dry-farmed, head-trained 1.8-acre block is all that's left of a vineyard planted by the Morelli family over 100 years ago. Left unfarmed for years, the Duttons (with prodding from Dan) revived the vineyard in 1995 and its fruit now enables us to provide this special limited bottling of old vine Zinfandel. Its cool proximity to the coast gives us a Zin of exceptional brightness and moderate alcohol; its hilltop perch facilitates the ripeness for wonderful fruit density and lush tannins; and its age gives us the personality that makes the wine truly special.
Making this wine is all about showcasing the special character of this wonderful vineyard—ebullient fruit, silky tannins, density without heaviness. To achieve this, we employ similar winemaking techniques as for our pinots: hand-sorting the fruit prior to destemming, cold soaking for 7 days, and fermenting in a small open top fermenter with gentle punchdowns. Our zin is aged only in French oak chosen to showcase the sweet fruit and candied spice overtones. The wine was racked once the spring of 2017 to marry the individual barrels, and to allow us to hone our barrel choices for its final aging. For this wine, we love Taransaud barrels for the structure and Asian spice they impart, and Cadus for their creamy caramel tones.
Food Pairing Notes
Very food friendly, we love it best with foods that are a bit salty/savory/sweet, like a cheese burger with caramelized onions, a bowl of cioppino with French bread, or a chunk of Pecorino or Bellwether’s Pepato.