We produced eight separate lots of Zinfandel in 2007, all from ancient goblet trained vines in the Russian River watershed near Ukiah. Navarro has purchased grapes from the same growers for years and we now know the vineyards intimately. Due to the slope, soil or age of the vines, some fields are divided and harvested as separate lots. Al Tollini's vineyard has two sections, differentiated by the age of the vines. The section we named Old Block are vines planted in the 1930's and, as expected, they produced a lighter crop than his 50 year old vines. The clusters were small and the old vines had an easy time in 2007; the Old Block was our first Zinfandel vineyard to ripen. The vines at Berry vineyards were planted in the 1940's.
Burning the excess prunings at Tollini vineyards. There is no frost protection, irrigation, trellis, or wires; just ancient goblet trained vines and the redwood stakes the vines were trained up. The vines have been pruned "long" and once they start to push buds in the spring, the long spurs will be pruned "short" to 2 basal buds giving the grower a little time to outlast the frost season. The last rains were in March and these vines received no irrigation until the first rains after harvest in October.
Ed Berry thinned his Zinfandel vines three times during the 2007 season. The first was early in the season to balance the vines and the second was during veraison to remove fruit from lagging vines. When Ed realized that the ripening season was cold he noticed clusters that were red rather than black and fully ripe so before harvest he sent his crew out for a third time to remove the unripe clusters. No wonder the wine from Berry's grapes is consistently good.
Their 2007 Zinfandel harvest was divided into two pickings with the fruit further up the hill being riper and sweeter. This lot we unglamorously named BE2 although now it seems the wine deserves a more romantic name. All eight lots of Zinfandel were fermented in open top tanks, punched down by hand, and then racked to a mixture of new and seasoned French oak barrels. This Old Vine Cuvée is a blend of 20% Old Block and 80% BE2. That means the average age of the vines that produced this wine is 72 years! What the vines lack in vigor is more than compensated by quality. It is a rich, full wine with blackberry, mint, chocolate and cassis. Gold Medal winner.