Birichino Saint Georges Old Vines Zinfandel 2017
As the Besson’s Zinfandel, tucked up right against the leeward side of the Santa Cruz Mountains, approaches its 100th vintage, in 2017 we got a break from the challenges of the drought years. Thanks to a long, wet winter, and with some Edward Scissorhanded canopy management, the zinfandel again escaped many of the challenges of prior vintages. Its unusually cool location, on decomposed granite and clay soils and moderated by nightly visitation of fog from Monterey Bay through the Hecker Pass Gap, allows for the possibility of making zinfandel that retains vivacity and freshness. While this cool site presents viticultural challenges given the variety’s infernally tight clusters, thin skin, and proclivity to bunch rot, botrytis, and uneven ripening, under the vigilant eye of the Besson family for the past 94 years, it proves worth the effort. In its purity and freshness and juvenile excitement, it is self-evidently California Zinfandel – bright, briary and sappy – though with a quality approaching restraint which we hope is a hallmark of our marque.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Jon Locke and Alex Krause pull this wine from a 90-year-old own-rooted vineyard just outside the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA. It’s a pleasure to taste over the course of a few days, starting out tart and crunchy, then filling out as dramatically as a spinnaker sail as it takes on air. Taut and generous at once, it’s refreshing and delicious. Best Buy
The largest and perhaps most varied of California’s wine-growing regions, the Central Coast produces a good majority of the state's wine. This vast California wine district stretches from San Francisco all the way to Santa Barbara along the coast, and reaches inland nearly all the way to the Central Valley.
Encompassing an extremely diverse array of climates, soil types and wine styles, it contains many smaller sub-AVAs, including San Francisco Bay, Monterey, the Santa Cruz Mountains, Paso Robles, Edna Valley, Santa Ynez Valley and Santa Maria Valley.
While the Central Coast California wine region could probably support almost any major grape varietiy, it is famous for a few Central Coast reds and whites. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel are among the major ones. The Central Coast is home to many of the state's small, artisanal wineries crafting unique, high-quality wines, as well as larger producers also making exceptional wines.
Unapologetically bold, spice-driven and jammy, Zinfandel has secured its title as the darling of California vintners by adapting well to the state's diverse microclimates and landscapes. Born in Croatia, it later made its way to southern Italy where it was named Primitivo. Fortunately, the imperial nursery of Vienna catalogued specimens of the vine, and it later made its way to New England in 1829. Parading the true American spirit, Zinfandel found a new home in California during the Gold Rush of 1849. Somm Secret—California's ancient vines of Zinfandel are those that survived the neglect of Prohibition; today these vines produce the most concentrated, ethereal and complex examples.