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Limerick Lane Russian River Zinfandel 2012
Gutsy but delicate, the 2012 Russian River Zinfandel combines bright raspberry and brambles on the nose. The clarity of the nose is echoed by fresh acidity on the palate and balanced with a full mouth-feel and chewy finish. This wine is not shy in regards to structure and rustic charm: it is classic Limerick Lane Zinfandel.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
In 1977, the Del Favas sold their thirty-acre property to brothers Michael and Tom Collins. Like the Del Favas, the Collins brothers saw the potential inherent at Limerick Lane, and set about improving and replanting the vineyards, including a twenty-five acre field blend of Zinfandel, Syrah, and Grenache--the iconic Collins Vineyard. The brothers brought tremendous passion and enthusiasm to the property, selling some of the grapes as vineyard designates to preeminent local wineries including De Loach, Chateau Souverain, Ravenswood, Davis Bynum and Gary Farrell. In 1985, Limerick Lane Cellars was created to market wines produced exclusively from grapes grown on the estate for the first time under the Limerick Lanes label.
By 2009, Mike Collins was ready to sell, but was unwilling to see the beautiful old vines and all his hard work absorbed into a corporation or fall into the hands of investors just out to make a quick buck. Instead, he approached his neighbor Jake Bilbro and asked if Jake would like to buy Limerick Lane Cellars and the Collins Vineyard. Jake had grown up in the wine business, a member of a family renowned for principled vineyard stewardship and sustainable winemaking. Jake and his young family had moved in across the street from Limerick Lane Cellars in 2007, drawn to the place from which his father, among others, had sourced exceptional fruit. For two years Jake pitched nearly every bank in California before a local bank in Healdsburg finally agreed to give him the loan. Jake’s brother Scot signed on as winemaker.
“The original homestead where Mario Del Fava was born is where my wife, three kids, and I live today,” Jake says. “Literally the day after escrow closed, with our third child on the way, we picked our first grapes of the 2011 harvest. As only the third owners in its hundred and five year history, we feel privileged to steward the Limerick Lane legacy. Pairing modern farming and winemaking techniques with the incredible fruit that only the historic Collins Vineyard can produce, we create wines that live up to the heritage that preceded us--wines noted not only for their exceptional balance and elegance, but wines with a sense of history and place as well.”
A standout region for its decidedly Californian take on Burgundian varieties, the Russian River Valley is named for the eponymous river that flows through it. While there are warm pockets of the AVA, it is mostly a cool-climate growing region thanks to breezes and fog from the nearby Pacific Ocean.
Chardonnay and Pinot Noir reign supreme in Russian River, with the best examples demonstrating a unique combination of richness and restraint. The cool weather makes Russian River an ideal AVA for sparkling wine production, utilizing the aforementioned varieties. Zinfandel also performs exceptionally well here. Within the Russian River Valley lie the smaller appellations of Chalk Hill and Green Valley. The former, farther from the ocean, is relatively warm, with a focus on red and white Bordeaux varieties. The latter is the coolest, foggiest parcel of the Russian River Valley and is responsible for outstanding Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Unapologetically bold, spice-driven and jammy, Zinfandel is often thought of as California’s flagship grape. And it fact it owns this title by having the ability to adapt to the states’ many microclimates and landscapes, producing unique expressions of the grape throughout. Zinfandel thrives in California’s Central Coast, as well throughout Sonoma County, parts of Napa Valley, the Sierra Foothills, Lodi and Paso Robles.
Zinfandel was born in Croatia and later made its way to southern Italy where it became known as Primitivo. The astute imperial nursery of Vienna collected specimens of the vine and acted as the source of its journey to New England, carried by George Gibbs circa 1829. Eventually, making its way to California around the Gold Rush of 1849, Zinfandel found its new home, parading the true American spirit.
In the Glass
Zinfandel commonly expresses powerful notes of dark plum, blackberry, sweet spice, dark chocolate and licorice. Very ripe examples may express a hint of dried fruit like raisin, fig or prune. But Zinfandel grown in cooler, coastal zones often expresses red fruit, black pepper and fresh herbal characteristics of juniper and menthol.
Zinfandel is a powerfully flavored wine, mingling happily with bold food like brisket, lamb shanks, pork ribs or anything barbecued. More delicate Zins work with pork, lamb curry and even Ceasar Salad or Salad Nicoise.
Thanks to its popularity both for home winemaking and as communion wine, many Zinfandel vines were able to survive prohibition, leading to the abundance of "old vine" Zinfandels. These low-yielding, ancient vines tend to produce wine that is deeply concentrated, delicately perfumed and decidedly complex.