Planted in 1968, the head-trained vines in this nine-acre section of old Zinfandel in the Ranch No. 11 Vineyard, yield extraordinarily concentrated, spicy wine. Beaulieu Vineyard Ranch No. 11 is located in northern Napa Valley just south of Calistoga. The half-century old Zinfandel vines have not been replanted and are not protected from viruses and phylloxera so the utmost care and attention is taken when farming this historic vineyard gem. Devotion to the vineyard is rewarded year after year with expressive and richly flavored grapes.
To develop this wine’s complex fruit expression, we first cold soaked the destemmed grapes for gentle flavor extraction. During fermentation, regular pumpovers incorporate the flavor-rich skins into the juice. Malolactic fermentation, which naturally changes the malic acid into softer lactic acid, rounds the flavors. The wine is barrel aged exclusively in French oak (50% new) for 22 months.
Good growing conditions throughout the season led vintage 2015 to come in early with very good quality across the board for whites and reds. A cooler than normal late spring during flowering kept yields down as did the effects from California’s continued drought. Despite this and a hot weather snap in early summer, the overall season was smooth and uneventful. Harvest started early and the grapes came into the winery with beautiful flavor development and concentrated color, resulting in excellent vintage 2015 wines.