The 2013 Late Harvest Zinfandel from the Rancho Las Juntas Vineyard is a special treat. The grapes for this wine were picked late in the season by a team of dedicated and hard-working friends, who persevered despite the cold weather and late hours. The results are worth it. Deep fruit flavors and a soft finish makes this great with dessert. The sugar level is a bit lower than many Late Harvest wines, making this easy to drink on its own or with semi-sweet desserts.
This Late Harvest Zinfandel was a bit of a fluke. When we originally picked grapes intended for it, they turned out to be a lot less sweet than we needed, so we used those grapes for a 2nd lot of regular Zinfandel. Impending rains gave us no hope for a 3rd picking. But the weather subsided, and the grapes were perfect for the 3rd and final picking that season.
We fermented the wine in a small open top vessel, which was kept cool indoors during the day, and then moved out into the cold autumn air at night. A yeast was selected that purposely dies out once it achieves moderate alcohol, leaving behind sugar. The 2013 ended up on the high end of the alcohol range, and a little lower in sugar, which makes it less of a dessert on its own, but just the right wine to serve with treats.
This combination makes for a wine that is not excessively sweet, and bold and rich enough to work as a regular wine with spicy foods, or as something to sip with semi-sweet desserts. Try it with bitter chocolate, which will be enhanced by the texture of this wine, creating a moment to share and to delight.
- Monty Paulsen, Winemaker
Appellation: Contra Costa County,
Vineyard: Rancho Las Juntas
Alcohol: 17%, Residual Sugar: 3%
Composition: 95% Zinfandel,
5% Petite Sirah
Season: Cool late autumn, interspersed rains, followed by a beautiful window of sunlight
Production: 100 cases, 375ml
Barrel Fermented and aged
Food Pairing: Cheese dishes, Semi-sweet desserts, chocolate.