July 1997 Pre-release: The 1996 harvest had the lowest yields we have experienced since we began making our own wine from the vineyard in 1991. Our production was down 20% from 1995’s already low level. After several years’ experience making wines from different parts of the family vineyard and watching them develop separately and together in barrel, I think that the wines’ best interests will be served by keeping them as distinct bottlings in certain vintages. These are the same guidelines I use while making blending decisions at my daytime job at Dehlinger.
My favorite part of the oldest vineyard block (the ‘Old’ part, planted in 1912) makes a very intense,brooding, concentrated base component for our wine each year. It usually does best with a high proportion of whole clusters in the fermenter. Another part of the vineyard planted in 1978 (the ‘Mature’ part), makes a really racy, blackberry/raspberry wine with classical Zinfandel varietal character. These two areas, grown on mostly clay-like soil, complement and complete each other as the ‘Old and Mature Vines’ blend. I think this is the most focused and vibrant ‘Old and Mature’ blend we have had yet.