Planted between 1916 and 1918 in the Dry Creek Valley near Geyserville in northern Sonoma County, the oldest vines in Joe Ramazzotti’s hallowed vineyard came from the old Mazzoni Zinfandel clone, thought to be one of the original heritage clones dating back to the mid-19th century.
These dry-farmed vines have struggled over the years due to shallow soils of only 18-20 inches and an impenetrable layer of rock below, conditions which have naturally balanced the vines, so they never overproduce. Although the yields per acre from these gnarly, head-pruned old vines are minuscule, the resulting wines are works of art.
The 2013 Ramazzotti has a spicy nose, with cigar box and wild mushroom aromas along with dusty berry flavors and a heavy helping of nutmeg, black pepper and sweet oak. Its finish is long and lingering, with an earthy saddle-leather quality that has become a trademark of this vineyard’s Zins. While this wine is delicious to drink now, especially with grilled steaks and other meats, it will certainly lay down for another couple of years with no sacrifice in quality.
*San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
*Sommelier Challenge 2015