Birichino Central Coast Zinfandel "Saint Georges" 2020
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The St Georges Zinfandel was first planted on gravelly loam soils by an Italian bootlegger in 1922 in the lee of the Santa Cruz Mountains, on the wrong side of the law and the road, and 50’ too low to qualify for what became the Santa Cruz Moun- tains appellation in 1981. It’s been farmed continuously by the Besson family since 1925. The mountain and marine influence of Monterey Bay, 12 miles west, is undeniable- the acidity is mouthwatering, enhanced by a stone fruit spectrum of flavors and alpine herbs overlaid on the brambly sapidity of zinfandel. Among the great challenges of winemaking, alongside frequent- ly wet feet, perpetually dirty hands, and resisting the urge to get high on your own supply, is maintaining the discipline to follow the path the grapes have in mind when it conflicts with the path you’d plotted for them. We prefer to bring these grapes into the winery at 13.0%-13.5% potential alcohol. In 2019, however, the grapes were not ready to come off the vine early, as flavor development lagged sugars. Tipping in at 14.0%, the 2019 is hardly boozy, yet at the edge of decadence for Birichino, and undeniably crowd-pleasing. As usual, fermention was native, elevage was in neutral barrels & puncheons, and bottling in late Summer following the vintage, was without filtration.