2001 Montelena Estate Zinfandel

The extremely low yields and ideal weather in 2001 combined to highlight the complex and elegant style of our Estate Zinfandel. We lost a sizable portion of our potential crop in March when frosts hit just as the vines were budding. The damage to the emerging shoots left us with only 1.75 tons an acre. Thankfully the weather was great, and at least we have an outstanding wine from the vintage, if not a lot of it!

Temperatures during the growing season and ripening period were warm and mild with no extended heat spells. At harvest, we had the luxury of waiting to pick each block until full flavor development without risking excessive ripeness and a resulting high alcohol wine. Because of the tiny crop, the berries' flavors were incredibly concentrated, and beautifully express the complexity that comes from the unique diversity of our vineyard.

Although all of our Zinfandel is grown within the Estate vineyard, individual blocks yield fruit with different qualities because of the vineyard's varied soils and range of vine ages: vines are planted in both alluvial and volcanic soils, with some over 30 years in age and some closer to 10. This diverse combination of factors produces grapes with a wide range of characteristics that complement one another in the blend and add greatly to the wine's balance. For example, the fruit produced by older vines on the Estate provide a wonderful maturity of flavor, but their juice is so rich and concentrated that it can become too heavy. The grapes from our younger vines, which are fully mature but not as advanced in age, add exuberant fruit flavors and freshness, making the blend of wine from the older and younger vines more enjoyable and elegant than either alone.

90Wine Advocate
91California Grapevine
vintage weather

Temperate Consistent. Well below average rainfall. Frost damage followed by high heat in May that caused some shatter kept yields low. Remainder of season was mild and grapes attained full maturity before picking. Started night picking to increase fruit integrity. Wines are very rich, well-balanced, and full.

tasting notes

In the glass the wine has a beautiful dark red-purple color. The wine's ripeness and complexity really show in the aroma, with cherry and ripe blackberry notes mixed with classic Zinfandel spicy, briary, and brambly characteristics. The palate is a broad mouthful of bright fruit and diverse flavors that follows the aroma very well. This is a truly elegant Zinfandel that deserves a spot on your table tonight.

Harvest Date Aug. 29 to Sept. 21
Sugar At Harvest 24.6° to 25.5°
Barrel Aging 12 to 16 months
Bottling Date March 2003
Release Date March 2004
Cases Produced 2,900