The Red Hills appellation of Lake County is prime Zinfandel country, and there’s no better site for it than Snow’s Lake Vineyard, whose 2,000-foot-plus elevation make it a unique growing site in Lake County. We have three distinctive clones of Zinfandel planted at Snow’s Lake, including heritage selections from Mendocino and Amador counties and a Primitivo clone. The vines are rooted in magnificent, red volcanic soils and enjoy a perfect southwestern exposure. Warm sunny days and nights cooled by breezes from nearby Clear Lake provide ideal conditions for California’s heritage grape variety.
In 2007, a dry, mild winter and spring in Lake County led to early budbreak and bloom. The summer was largely temperate, but heat spikes in August accelerated ripening, leading to an early, fast-paced harvest of our Snow’s Lake Zinfandel grapes between August 22nd and 29th.
We harvested and fermented each of our three Zinfandel clones at Snow’s Lake separately. After a short, warm fermentation in stainless steel tanks to fully extract color, flavor and tannins, the wines remained on the skins for another two weeks to further enhance color and flavor extraction while softening tannins. After pressing the wines off the skins, we transferred the lots to French oak barrels, 42% new, where they aged before the final blend was assembled in May, 2008. The finished wine then aged another eight months in barrel before bottling in January, 2009.
Our 2007 Red Hills Lake County Zinfandel is perhaps a bit more open at this stage of its development than our three previous vintages. Its scented, almost floral nose of fresh strawberry, red cherry and blackberry fruit also boasts intriguing milk chocolate, wild herb and cracked pepper scents, creating a marvelously complex bouquet. On the full-bodied, smoothly textured palate, the wine’s mouthfilling cherry, raspberry and blackberry flavors mingle with pronounced briary spice, rich chocolate and toasty oak tones to create a delicious taste experience. While the forward fruit and supple tannins of this youthful Zinfandel make it delightful to drink now, especially with hearty, spicy fare, it will age well for another 3-5 years.