1989 Montelena Estate Zinfandel

Zinfandel responds dramatically to each vintage’s weather. Cold weather in the spring of 1989 gave us a light crop of Zinfandel. This turned out to be fortuitous. The thin skin of this variety affords little protection to any harvest-time rains which can weaken the flavor and concentration of the grapes. The light 1989 crop led to an early ripening in our Estate vineyard and any bad effects from the harvest rains were avoided.

In fact, Zinfandel always has a few natural raisins in the bunches and we think the rains put a bit more juice back into the bunches to make the wine really show the vintage's complex characteristics nicely.

vintage weather

Cool variable. Low rainfall and a cool spring, but warm weather late. Crop thinning insured even ripening. The wine is highly extracted with significant body and structure.

tasting notes

The 1989 Zinfandel is a deep ruby-red color. This wine has the unique Montelena-earth and berry-Zinfandel aromas with hints of sweet and aromatic spice and smoke. The rejuvenated raisins show up as dried cherries and strawberry in the bouquet. I could use this entire page analyzing the bouquet… try it!

The wine has a medium body with plenty of rich, smooth flavors and bright fruit that follows the nose. It is of moderate weight and finely balanced. This Zinfandel is drinking well upon release and will continue to improve in flavor and complexity for the next one to three years.

Harvest Date September 20-21
Sugar At Harvest 24.2º brix
Barrel Aging 12 months
Bottling Date March 1991
Release Date March 1992
Alcohol 14.1%