The 2015 Zinfandel harvest was unusually early at Berry Vineyards in 2015. The vines are in their sixties and reacting to difficult spring weather, they set a very modest crop. In fact, the vines produced so little fruit that they roared their crop into ripeness a full two weeks earlier than the preceding vintages. Ed Berry harvested and delivered his first load of Zinfandel before Navarro had completed our Gewürztraminer harvest, which floored us as Gewürztraminer is recognized as a very early ripener and Zinfandel is considered a very late ripener! One of the realities of the fruit ripening at breakneck speed is that the hang-time is shorter, thus more of the grape's natural acidity is retained. Not only is this a deeply flavored wine, but with such exceptional acidity, we expect it to age gracefully for a decade or perhaps more. The grapes from Ed's first Zin picking were fermented in three open-top fermentors and the must was punched down by hand twice daily to keep the tannins soft.
Alfredo's job is not nine to five during harvest, as punch-downs often start and end in the dark.
Ed checking the grapes he is about to deliver. Ed Berry is a grower who is on top of everything that goes on in his vineyard, something we greatly appreciate. Good wine only comes from good grapes.
After a two-week fermentation the must was lightly pressed and the juice racked to seasoned French oak barrels to complete both primary and secondary fermentations. After eleven months of barrel aging, the wine was bottled. Opening this wine is like smelling a warm blackberry pie fresh from the oven: plush, complex, wafting of cinnamon and anise. This is not a wine for a timid novice and its bravado is a great match for short ribs or a hearty beef stew. Gold Medal winner. Best of Class.