2015 Morelli Lane Vineyard Zinfandel


Tasting Notes

Even our old Zin vines were impacted by the wet weather during flowering, despite their later start to the growing season, making the buzzword for the vintage “intensity.” All of the 2015 wines are especially concentrated and lush, and our Zin is no exception. Wildness and fineness combine beautifully in the wine, with blackberry brambles, violets, and a hit of dusky cacao creating a blissful opening sniff. The signature juicy raspberry flavors are even more mouth-coating than usual, providing a painted canvas for the layers of crème de cassis and toffee that follow. At the same time, the wine is light on its feet, with a liveliness and energy that keeps the wine fresh, and you reaching for another sip. Foods that combine salty/savory/sweet are what this wine wants, like Memphis style short ribs, a burger with blue cheese, or a wedge of Manchego.

Winemaker's Notes

The Vineyard

The Morelli Lane Vineyard is archetypal for all we love about our part of the world: scenic, alive with history, and delicious. This 19th century planting is located at the top of Stoetz Ridge, just north of the town of Occidental on the far western edge of the Russian River Valley appellation. The dry-farmed, head-trained 1.8-acre block is all that's left of a vineyard planted by the Morelli family over 100 years ago. Left unfarmed for years, the Duttons (with prodding from Dan) revived the vineyard in 1995 and its fruit now enables us to provide this special limited bottling of old vine Zinfandel. Its cool proximity to the coast gives us a Zin of exceptional brightness and moderate alcohol; its hilltop perch facilitates the ripeness for wonderful fruit density and lush tannins; and its age gives us the personality that makes the wine truly special.



Making this wine is all about showcasing the special character of this wonderful vineyard—ebullient fruit, silky tannins, density without heaviness. To achieve this, we employ similar winemaking techniques as for our pinots: hand-sorting the fruit prior to destemming, cold soaking for 7 days, and fermenting in a small open top fermenter with gentle punchdowns. Our zin is aged only in French oak chosen to showcase the sweet fruit and candied spice overtones. The wine was racked once the spring of 2015 to marry the individual barrels, and to allow us to hone our barrel choices for its final aging. For this wine, we love Taransaud barrels for the structure and Asian spice they impart, and Cadus for their creamy caramel tones. The blend developed wonderful richness and breadth over summer and fall, and we bottled it in December of 2015.

2015 Morelli Lane Vineyard Zinfandel

Technical Data

Alcohol: 14.5%
TA: 7.4 gm/Lit.
pH: 3.52
Winemaking: Open top fermentation, cold soak, punch down
Barrel Aging: 15 months in French oak (40% new barrels)

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