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 Syrah Reserva - Vinos Zanzonico
Tasting Notes and Drinking Window:
This Syrah sets a Mexican reference point for this type of west coast North American style. Touching all the keys in the chord that typically sound out this variety, it’s clear the wine was made at the hands of a true master, one with immense experience and a graciously finessed approach. Make no mistake, this is not a lighthearted iteration but reminds one more of the rich, regal and dense expressions of the grape found in regions such as Cornas where the “shape” of the wine is as prominent a factor in one’s experience of it as it’s smell or flavor. Open it now and let it breathe or cellar for a decade or more.
Only 80 cases made
Drinking window: Upon release (with decant) - 15 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 16 months. The barrels were 25% new and 75% second use.
Sulfites 20 ppm