Planted in 1968, the head-trained vines in this nine-acre section of old Zinfandel in Ranch No. 11 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 in French oak (40% new) for 16 months.
The 2016 vintage was an outstanding year for high quality, fully-developed fruit with concentrated color and flavor. The Napa Valley region enjoyed extensive rains during the winter months which significantly helped battle the ongoing drought and encouraged overall yield numbers. A cooler than normal August pushed out the start of harvest and allowed fruit considerable hang time, which resulted in wines with bright aromatics and generous, dark fruit flavors.