Origin – Vineyards in Valle de La Grulla and Valle de San Vicente
Winemaker – Gerard Zanzonico (American, Lives in Valle de Guadalupe)
Vineyard locations, elevations and grape varieties:
- Valle de la Grulla - Sandy soil at an elevation of 900 ft – from a small vineyard planted in 2010-2012- (Syrah and Nebbiolo) - 50 hectares. Farmed organic.
- Valle de San Vicente – Small vineyard planted in sandy soil with a and high content of red clay at an elevation of 400 ft – planted in 2010 - (Chardonnay) – 50 hectares. Farmed organic.
- With grapes sourced from premium sites in Valle de la Grulla and Valle de San Vicente, Gerard makes his wines in the winery he also consults for MD Vinos based in the port town of Ensenada.
- Gerard is a legend in the world of wine produced along the West coast of North America, having been the winemaker at prestigious estates such as Chateau Montelena, Staglin, Stonegate, and finally Del Dotto before leaving the high-fluting Napa scene for the tranquility and culture of northern Baja. During his extensive career in Napa, which spanned over 4 decades, Gerard was in the mix during landmark events like the Judgment of Paris (he was working at Chateaux Montelena during the time they won the blind tasting for chardonnay that essentially put wines from the US on the map) and has himself made several wines that garnered perfect scores from the illustrious critic Robert Parker.
- While these are not “natural” wines by standards such as native yeast and no filtration, Gerard describes his winemaking style as hands off and non-interventionalist and gives almost all the credit to the quality of the grapes and the region from which they are sourced. These wines are singular expressions of each varietal unlike any you will find in the Northern Baja currently as Gerard employs very costly (yet high return in terms of quality) techniques like using only free-run juice for the production of his Chardonnay.
- Cutting no corners that would sacrifice expression of place or overall quality, Gerard makes only what he can attend to with the loving care of a patient shepherd, an approach which amounts to around 100 cases each of three monovarietal wines each vintage. These are age-worthy wines built on superb fruit, harvested at the perfect moment, for an exceptionally balanced result.
Total production: 3 wines, 280 cases!
2018 Reserva Nebbiolo - Vinos Zanzonico
Tasting Notes and Drinking Window:
From a site in Valle de la Grulla, (Named for the Sanhill Cranes which once upon a time migrated to this valley each winter) comes yet another incredibly interesting expression of a grape the region is perhaps most proud of. Drawing on his experience with decadent Napa style reds with no price limits, Gerard has managed to wed the dense lusciousness inherent in Mexican Nebbiolo with an angular backbone or structure and fresh acidity that gives wings to something one imagines would never imagine could fly. All of Zanzonico’s wines are defined by a smooth mouthfeel (management of tannin) and layers of complexity, but in this wine both traits reach their apex.
140 cases made
Drinking window: upon release with decant - 20 years
Gerard Zanzonico - American, lives in Valle de Guadalupe
Valle de la Grulla - Vines were planted in 2010-2012 in sandy soil at an elevation of 900 ft and are farmed organically. The total vineyard is 50 hectares.
Grapes are harvested by hand and then left to cold soak for 5 days before fermentation. Fermentation lasted for 15 days and once it was complete the wine was racked off the skins and aged in French Oak barrels for 24 months. The barrels were 25% new and 75% second use.