2017 harvest wrapped up early in the fall following summer heat spurts and a growing season that saw significant rain throughout the state ending a five-year drought. While October wildfires in North Coast wine communities made international headlines, the state’s vineyards and wineries were not significantly affected. Harvest began early at a normal pace in Lodi and then progressed rapidly during a heat wave in late August and early September. Temperatures cooled mid-September, slowing the harvest pace and allowing red grapes to ripen gradually.
The Lodi AVA, known as the “Zinfandel Capitol of the World” is home to the Cranston Brothers, who own and farm about 400 acres of Zinfandel and Petite Sirah in Acampo, along the Mokelumne River, just north of the town of Lodi. The well-drained, sandy loam soils of the nearly 80 year-old Cranston Vineyards provide consistently delicious fruit with an intensity of varietal character and silky texture.
The Petite Sirah and Zinfandel grapes were destemmed, crushed and tank fermented with twice-daily pump overs. The wines were fermented to dryness with the Petite Sirah spending 31 days on the skins and the Zinfandel spending 22 days. They were then pressed and barrel aged separately for 18 months. Select barrels were then chosen and blended to produce Judd’s Hill first “Walt’s Old Vines” blend to honor Walt Cranston who has provided Judd’s Hill with the finest Zinfandel and Petite Sirah fruit for over 20 years.
The rich dark dried fruit of the Zinfandel along with the peppery characteristics meld beautifully with the intense tannin and inky, dark, purple color of the Petite Sirah, with flavors of black pepper, blackberries, blueberries, spice, and licorice make this blend intense, yet fruit forward.
Stews, braised and grilled meats are excellent pairings for this blend. Short ribs, hamburgers and barbecue of all types works beautifully as well. The use of salt as part of the main seasoning will soften the tannin and bring forward the gorgeous fruit.
|Wine Style||Red Wine|
|Varietal Composition||50% Petite Sirah 50% Zinfandel|
|Harvest Date||October 24, 2017|
|Sugar||25 brix at harvest|
|Aging||100% Neutral French Oak|
|Bottling Date||April 30th, 2019|