2006 Montelena Estate Zinfandel

The 2006 growing season started out wet. Heavy late-spring rains and cold weather delayed bud-break, ultimately resulting in a later-than-average harvest. The long slow growing season was quite variable at times, with several summer 100°+ heat spikes in late June, then mid- and late-July, followed by very mild August and September temperatures.

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vintage weather

Thanks largely to changes in the pruning and thinning practices, we saw a much improved fruit set and better overall crop balance in both the 1972 and 1994 plantings this season. This resulted in more even ripening, better fruit expression, less rasining, and fewer shot berries. Not to be outdone by the vineyard crew, changes were made in the cellar as well. The grape receiving equipment was overhauled and re-oriented to provide better efficiency and higher selectivity – following the simple rule that cleaner starting material yields better wine. Fruit was picked in multiple passes targeting the riper sunny sides and drier areas of the vineyard first, in order to harvest all grapes at optimal ripeness. Once in the cellar, we inoculated with a compound yeast culture, resulting in more complexity and better fermentation characteristics. All of this fine tuning and tweaking paid off, resulting in a beautiful, fruit-forward, classically structured, understated Montelena Estate Zinfandel that is sure to please.

tasting notes

Dark ruby in the glass, this is a very attractive and appealing wine. On the nose you'll find heaps of dark fruit, blackberry, dried blackcurrant, and strawberry undertones, complemented by rich toasted oak notes and hints of tobacco and rose. The palate opens with a clean supple entry, building to sweet briar-berry, cranberry and dried cherry with a mellow fleshy mouthfeel and suede-like tannins. Excellent structure and balanced acidity throughout carry into the warm, round, spicy finish with prolonged flavors of rich dried fruits and pie spice, inviting you back for more.

Harvest Date September 26 to October 29
Sugar At Harvest 25.9 brix
Barrel Aging 15 months
Bottling Date March 2008
Release Date Spring 2009
Cases Produced 4,700
Alcohol 14.4%