Utilizing a classic dry farmed protocol, Michael’s Vineyard receives no irrigation. Based on 100-year-old heritage clones, our 10-year-old vines already look like gnarled, twisted bushes. Widely spaced, these head trained vines grow in an 11 x 11 foot grid, at only 360 plants/acre, versus a traditional vine density of 1500-2000/acre. Roots project deep into the rocky limestone crevices searching for retained soil moisture. The resulting grapes reflect this struggle with a heightened sense of fruit extract.
Capable of producing soaring flavors and deeply resonant ripeness, this idiosyncratic grape variety requires special farming techniques. Mid-season pruning drops excess clusters to reduce the crop load. Multiple picks over a range of fruit maturity spreads out the zinfandel harvest to ensure freshness and overcome the tendency of uneven ripening. As good as it gets, the 2013 vintage was ideal for achieving optimum ripeness with this quirky grape. Fermented in open top vats with a combination of daily pump overs and punch downs, the wine continued to add for 14 months in a combination of French and a few token American oak barrels (20% new).