1987 Montelena Estate Zinfandel

The unique characteristics of a winegrape variety give the wines distinct personalities. In our area Zinfandel is known for its thin skin and uneven ripening. The thin skin gives Zinfandel a lighter body and drinkability but also has disadvantages; in rainy vintages the fruit is susceptible to rot and in hot vintages the grapes may turn into raisins. 1987 was a hot, dry vintage and a blast of heat at the end of the ripening season aggravated the already uneven ripening.

To make the best wine under these conditions we used a more difficult and time consuming harvesting procedure. Only the most skilled pickers were sent into the 10 acre Zinfandel vineyard to bunch select the ripest fruit - just as the grapes became sweet, but before they became raisins. This crew picked the same vineyard 3 times over a 21 day period.

vintage weather

Hot. Drier than normal winter and a hot spring resulted in significant shatter. Late summer heat led to early crush. Yield was light, wine is very concentrated.

tasting notes

The wine has the powerful aromas and flavors of a hot vintage without the heavy, portlike characteristics so common to those years. Medium ruby in color with ripe berry and smokey zinfandel aromas and flavors, the wine has a supple, claret texture that carries the clean flavors to a satisfying finish. We feel this wine accentuates in a nice manner why Zinfandel's unique personality makes it one of the Noble red wine varieties.

Harvest Date August 29 to September 19
Sugar At Harvest 23.4ยบ brix
Barrel Aging 12 months
Bottling Date May 1989
Release Date March 1990
Alcohol 13.5%