We’ve made a Late Harvest Zinfandel from the remarkable Bella Vineyard, owned by Scott and Lynn Adams, since 2001. We love this vineyard for the complexity and intensity of the fruit, and also for the wonderful acidity of the grapes that help make this unctuously sweet dessert wine so focused and clear. It’s never cloying, and always finishes with a crisp, clean, sweet note. Without a doubt this is one of our most popular wines. Unfortunately, in 2006 the climate and vines collaborated to reduce the yield in the vineyard substantially. So, we were only able to make about half the normal quantity of this excellent wine. As is traditional with this wine, we let these grapes hang on the vine over a month after the rest of the grapes in the vineyard were picked, to concentrate flavors and sugar. In early November, just before the rains, we finally harvested the grapes to create this black, intense essence of zinfandel.
For most of this decade we’ve made Late Harvest Zinfandels from the great Lily Hill vineyard at Bella Winery (where Mike is the consulting winemaker). The shallow, rocky soils on the steep hills of this vineyard make the vines struggle, which in turn help the vines create very concentrated, complex grapes. One of the reasons that we love this vineyard for Late Harvest zinfandel is the wonderful acidity of the grapes. Even when we wait an extra four weeks or so to harvest the grapes (the average time that we need to leave the grapes to have them turn into Late Harvest) the grapes maintain their acidity. The resulting wine is always focused and clear--it’s never cloying, and always finishes with a crisp, clean, sweet note.
Once again, our Late Harvest Zinfandel from the Lily Hill vineyard in northern Dry Creek Valley turned out to be as intense, complex, and most importantly, balanced, as we desired. Made entirely from grapes grown on the shallow, rocky soils of this steep vineyard owned by Bella Winery, the environment makes the vines struggle to survive, which in turn help the vines create very concentrated, complex grapes.
Small packages can contain huge surprises, as our Late Harvest Zinfandel exemplifies. This intense wine—made from grapes grown on Bella Winery’s Lily Hill vineyard in northern Dry Creek Valley—is both complex and balanced, and is a superb example of how a sweet desert wine can be made to be elegant and balanced.