2018-C San Lorenzo Rock Garden Hillside Red, Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California (750ml)
When the Seghesio family sold its namesake winery in 2011, the historic San Lorenzo vineyard was not included in the sale of the winery. Pete inherited that 40-acre vineyard from his mother, Rachel Ann Passalacqua Seghesio, and it has been part of the Passalacqua family heritage since 1896.
His great-grandfather was a cook in the California goldfields and paid 10 gold coins for the land. The 7-acre plot is 70 percent Zinfandel, and the rest is a mix of Petite Sirah, Carignane, Grand Noir and Negrette, a “field blend” approach quite typical of early California vineyard plantings. Eleven years later Pete has returned and is crafting some amazing Zinfandels. He does much of the farming and winemaking with the aid of his sons, Joe and Will, and wife, Cathy.
This wine is produced from the Rock Garden vineyard block which derives its name from the large cobbles in the soil and is one of the steepest parts of the San Lorenzo Estate. This rough and rocky soil stresses the vines and produces strong healthy fruit. It is centered on one of Pete’s favorite Zinfandel variations, The Padrone clone, which grows just below the family’s house.
The grapes were harvested at night, double sorted, then placed in small 4-ton, open top tanks where they cold-soak for 5 days at 55°F. Gentle pump-overs ensued until day 6 when the cooling was turned off and the must inoculated to begin fermentation. Fermentation lasted for 10 – 12 days with daily punch down and pump over. Total time on the skins was 16 – 18 days, allowing for slow and careful extraction. The wine and cap was then drained and gently pressed at < 1 Bar to reduce the extraction of harsh tannins. Aging was in 100% Francois Freres barrels, 1/3 each of new, one-year old and two-years old. The wine was bottled unfined and unfiltered.
This Zinfandel has a dark berry color with a ruby rim. You’ll find ripe red and black fruit on the nose and blackberry, black raspberry, cassis, and dried cherry on the palate. It is a full bodied red with balancing acidity, and finishes with plenty of fine-grained tannin.