2018 Poor Ranch Smoke + Mirrors Zinfandel
Grape: 100% Zinfandel
Vineyard: Poor Ranch (certified organic, dry farmed). The Poor family has homesteaded this rugged land since 1888. They tend to 1,000+ acres, over 100 of which host wine grapes. Susan, John Sr., & John Jr. are the 4th and 5th generations to steward the ranch. They work the expansive, steep-sloped property without outside help, aided only by a small amount of livestock. They’re farming some of the most sought-after fruit in NorCal!
AVA: Mendocino, high in the hopland hills
Vines: At over 1,200 ft elevation, this particular block of zinfandel is one of the most breathtaking sites on the ranch. The vines were planted in the early 1940s and are some of the oldest on the property. The Poors implore a very hands off approach - no irrigation, no sprinkler system, no fans for frost protection. Vines are head pruned with no wires or trellises. Unfortunately, Poor Ranch was affected by the devastating 2018 wildfires and this block of Zinfandel was right on the edge of the flames. Luckily, they were able to curb the fire themselves before wildfire assistance could make it to the property. The vines were relatively unscathed and the crop still came in heavy!
Method: Mostly whole clusters. The wine received short daily pumpovers and the occasional pigeage during fermentation. After 3 weeks, the grapes were pressed, settled, and racked into neutral barrels for 5 months of élevage. As the juice developed, the environmental impact of the wildfire became more apparent. The resulting wine is sultry, smoldering, and symbolic - we could have blended it away with some other juice or scrapped it altogether, but our philosophy is based on transparency and honesty: not smoke and mirrors. We respect the land, we value our farmers, and we are humbled by nature’s challenges. This wine is a snapshot of a time and a place in California winemaking history. It’s an homage to those affected by the fires and a portion of sales will be donated to wildfire relief funds. It’s also pretty damn tasty.
Case Production: 173