Every so often I encounter a site or area where the meager soil and/or exposure gives exceptional concentration and character amplified beyond the surroundings. I bottled a Fort Ross Vineyard ‘High Slopes’ in the early 2000’s for these reasons. Over a decade later, a similar situation arose and with a few vintages experience in hand now, and I decided to honor it once again with this designation.
Our first vintage from this area that is Southernmost edge of Russian River Valley AVA, it has significant coastal influence that shows in the structure when you peer inside the substantial generosity it possesses. If the Hallberg bottling is Audrey Hepburn, this wine is Ann Margaret. It walks the tightrope between ‘voluptuous’ and ‘restrained’ perfectly.
Tiny, seedless berries mixed into the same cluster as a few seeded berries that are about 10 days less ripe. Using my own Zinfandel-making sensibility here, I look at seizing the moment for harvest when the riper, seedless berries are still short of overripe and the lagging seeded berries are just ripe enough to bring the best qualities of that portion. Finding the sweet spot is not so difficult when you are paying attention and the weather even halfway cooperates.
Ripe black raspberry, iodine, slightly underripe tart wild blackberry and nuances of patchouli (especially on the finish). It is compelling and complex. I released a tiny portion of this to a wholesale market a little while ago to rave reviews.