Upon reviewing the harvest data for the Zinfandels, I was reminded that we harvested at somewhat lower Brix levels in 2019 than typical. There was a fair bit of uneven ripening again which is a tendency of Zinfandel in any vintage and is something I have grown to embrace and value over the years. Variation and complexity in the wine are the result. I would put 2019 very close to the personality of 2018 with just a tad more structure. So if you loved 2018, you’ll love 2019 too.
2019 Scherrer Vineyard ‘Old & Mature Vines’ Zinfandel Futures
After a very wet late winter and early spring, the vines had plenty of soil moisture to make it through the year. Vines looked great all summer long. As it turned out, the crop level was slightly more generous than 2018, much of it I attribute to my dad’s rebuilding the structure of some of the Old Zin vines planted in 1912. A little healthier grapevine wood means a little more fruit.
‘Verve’ is not a typical word used with Zinfandel. But this is a theme that keeps coming to mind when I taste the components, the blend trials and the final intended blend. Another term, ‘catching the crispness’ also comes to mind. Red & black cherries, fresh imperial plum, slightly under-ripe blackberries (the ones where some of the druplets have only just turned dark, but still retain their tartness) and a little fresh loam. Good structure and mouth-watering finish that echoes the red and black fruits. Whenever I’ve seen a vintage with this sort of verve in its youth, it’s aged and developed into something spectacular and long-term.
I remember our second vintage, 1992. When it was released (bottled sooner than I do now) it was a bit recalcitrant, but it opened up with some air time. At a dinner with my wholesale broker at the time, Tom Elliot of Northwest Wines, he reveled in how much like Chambolle-Musigny that Zinfandel seemed. After 25-plus years in bottle, that vintage is still lovely, complex and has retained its verve. About 1,000 cases will be produced. Estimated release price: $40 per bottle.
2019 Scherrer Vineyard ‘Shale Terrace’ Zinfandel Futures
For those who are new to us, this is a very small parcel on the family property where there is very little clay and the soil is more like fractured shale with a little silt. The Zin vines grow differently, and the wines are also very different. In 1996, the first vintage I vinified this area, I thought it would blend nicely with the Old and Mature vines growing in a soil containing more clay. This parcel was great alone but did not blend well. In the decades that followed, I have come to better understand the needs of this parcel and what it can become: This is a very unique Zinfandel that dresses up like Pinot Noir and looks pretty good that way.
2019 gave us a somewhat more generous harvest here as well compared to 2018, so there should be a little more of this rare item to go around. Lovely, suave tannins, good sense of minerality/non-fruit is a foil to the typical (for this site) stone fruits and fresh Santa Rosa plum this site illustrates. Its finish is clean and refreshing. At first look last year, the crop seemed smaller than even 2018. But luckily, there was a little more fruit. It is still not a very plentiful yield, but it makes super wine.
Because this has always been a limited production wine, there is usually not enough to go around. So, we have honored peoples’ past support of this wine and give those that purchased Shale in the past (even just a bottle) ‘first crack’ and orders received by July 31 will be processed first in the order they are received while supplies last. Those who have not bought Shale before may place an order which will be placed on the ‘wish list’. Those orders will be filled in the order they are received if there is wine still available after the first-crack July 31 deadline. We also hold back some of the Shale from futures so we will have some available at release next April so those not in the ‘first-crack’ offering can have a few bottles. About 220 cases to be produced Release price $40 /bottle.
2019 Scherrer Vineyard Zinfandel Futures Half & Half Sampler
This is a case of 6 of the Old & Mature and 6 of the Shale Terrace. Limits and allocation for Shale Terrace Futures apply.