Williams Selyem Saitone Estate Zinfandel 2017
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The 2017 Zinfandel Saitone Estate Vineyard has a medium to deep ruby-purple color and scents of peach pie, cinnamon stick, apricot, nectarine and bramble fruits with oodles of boysenberry and blueberry plus loads of exotic spices at the core. The palate is medium-bodied, silky textured and loaded with spice-laced fruits supported by grainy tannins and juicy freshness and finishing very long. 229 cases were made. Rating: 93
Antonio Saitone planted this vineyard on Olivet Road in 1895, mostly with zinfandel, but also with carignane, alicante bouschet and chasselas doré. The vines were interplanted, as was the tradition at the time, along with a range of other varieties, in this case, muscadelle, French colombard, muscat, petit bouschet, criolla mediana and grand noir. Williams Selyem purchased the vineyard in 2016 and continues to dry farm the old bush vines. They produced a brisk 2017, with plenty of acidity to tighten around the plump fruit and lend it structural elasticity. The flavors range from tart red plum to black raspberry and peach, warm, spicy and mineral-driven rather than sweet.
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 has secured it’s title as the darling of California vintners by adapting well to the states’ 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, which sourced a journey 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.