Patland Zinfandel - First Look
At 5:00 AM this morning, I received a text from Patland winemaker, Jay Buoncristiani. He told me to meet him at Unti Vineyards to check on the fruit for our latest project--Patland Zinfandel. Turns out mother nature doesn't give you a whole lot of notice, and neither does your winemaker!
Regardless, I got up, got dressed, and got in the car. I entered in the address and saw that Unti Vineyards, located in Dry Creek, was two hours away. I could care less though. After all, this was the first step to me making my own wine! Not counting my college basement fun, of course...
I met Jay at the Dry Creek General Store. I left my car there--it not being properly suited for dirt roads--and hopped into his truck. Minutes later we were walking through our block of Primitivo (the clone of Zinfandel we decided to use). First, Jay explained what to taste for. Level of tannin in the skins. Flavor of the pulp. Acid and sugar. Then we looked at the color of the seeds, thickness of the skins, and size of the grapes. Lastly, before leaving, we took some samples. Two gallon ziplock bags full of grape clusters, to be lab tested for brix and pH.
On our drive back to Napa, we passed by Ridge Vineyards. If you didn't know, Ridge is widely felt to be one of the top quality producers of Zinfandel. Fortunately, Jay and I had the same idea. We both pulled over and walked eagerly up to the front gate. It was shut. We were an hour past closing. What did we do? We found a gate that was open! After a quick bit of Jay's signature sweet talking, we were in for a VERY last minute tasting. Everything from their current vintage Lytton Springs Zin to their 2005 Pagani Ranch. Needless to say, we were inspired. So much so, that we decided to share a little of our day in the video above.