Peter Franus Brandlin Zinfandel 2019
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PRODUCER: The story of Peter Franus – the person, the winery, the wine – may just be the Great American Wine Fairy Tale. It includes a man searching for a path who could not ignore his calling. It includes hard-earned lessons from a rung-by-rung climb up the wine ladder, and graceful and delicious wine born of experience, tradition and intuition. And, of course, it includes romance. From the day they made their first wine in 1987, their goal has always been the same – to produce delicious and reasonably priced wines that distinguish themselves with their unique character, richness, harmony and the genuine sense of the mountain and hillside vineyards they came from.
VINEYARD: In the early 1920s, Henry Brandlin and sons Richard and Chester began planting vines on an eastern exposure hillside 1200 feet above the Napa Valley floor. They adhered to the regimen of “filed blend”—a mix of different varieties. Today these are probably the oldest vines on Mount Veeder, and they continue to produce intensely flavored grapes, growing for all these years without any irrigation other than the winter and spring rains. The vines are head-trained, independent of any trellis, and do not require much manipulation.
As drought conditions continue in 2022, it’s hard to believe that 2019 began with ample winter rainfall resulting in happy vines! Spring conditions allowed excellent fruit set producing an abundant crop. Summer saw few extremes with moderate temperatures throughout the growing season. Without extreme weather we were able to harvest at our leisure when grapes were precisely ripe. Another spectacular vintage.
WINEMAKING: Peter likes to ferment his Zinfandel at temperatures slightly lower than those for Bordeaux reds to accentuate the zesty and forward fruit character of the variety. Ageing exclusively in Burgundian French oak barrels adds complexity as well as refinement to the wine
TASTING NOTE: The 2019 is medium ruby in color, with a vibrant and enticing nose of raspberry, white pepper, allspice, and a touch of vanilla. In some ways, reminiscent of a fine Pinot Noir! An initially juicy black cherry impression gets reined by supporting tannins that curiously soon disappear into the background. Wonderfully palatable and pleasurable, this is what Zinfandel is all about.
Here’s another testament to the wonderful 2019 vintage!