Region: Kenwood < Sonoma Valley > California
Grapes: 54% Zinfandel, 24% Petite Sirah, 22% Alicante Bouschet
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: organic, dry farming, own-rooted old vines on clay loam + alluvial soils. Pressed into neutral French + Hungarian oak then aged 10 months. Unfined and unfiltered, minimal So2 at bottling only; 13.2% ABV; 75 cases
Winemakers: Randal (Rande) Feldman and Aaron Cherny
This fun, newish project from two Chicago natives comes to us from
partners Rande Feldman and Aaron Cherny who met while working harvest
in California in 2017, and is a testament to the terroir of Sonoma
Valley. All of the vineyards they source from are located in this
overlooked AVA that doesn’t have as defined of an identity as other
Sonoma County AVAs, like Chalk Hill, Alexander Valley or the Sonoma
Coast. However, what it lacks in branding it makes up for in history.
It is home to the oldest commercially operated winery in California,
Buena Vista, and grapes were originally planted in the region in 1823.
Rande, a long time vineyard manager, knew where to find all of the fun
relics of Sonoma Valley’s past, an insider track that he leveraged to
bring Source + Sink to fruition.
The fruit for this single-vineyard Zin comes from the Kimberly Vineyard perched in the hills above Highway 12 just south of Kenwood. Originally a getaway for the Mayor of San Francisco in 1906, “The Ranch” as it is known is dotted with relics of the past residents, including pre-prohibition mix black grape varieties, 100 year old olive trees, and barns once used to house guinea fowl. Currently, Rande and Aaron are in the midst of a restoration project, working in conjunction with the vineyard owners, the Meyers family, to re-habilitate soil life and biodiversity on the ranch by switching 100% to organic and biodynamic farming.
California Zinfandel, especially in the current climate crisis, can often be a bit too much for our tastes -- big jammy fruit, high alcohol -- but there will always be a soft spot in our hearts for ones in this style. Sourced from old vines, ringing in at a cool, calm, and collected 13.2% ABV (as opposed to the 15-17% that's common elsewhere) this is incredibly food friendly, soulful and delicious Zin.
Here's how Aaron describes it: “The Source & Sink Zinfandel represents the diversity of topography, soils, and exposure at Kimberly Vineyard in Sonoma County,” he says. “At this site, we have three different sections of vine age: one from 1906, one from the 1970s, and the other planted in the mid-1990s. Within each block we see vines that yield fruit with a range of large and small clusters and berries, resulting in a wine that is more concentrated with only 12 to 13 percent, [a] lower alcohol. While a little bit of hang time can help Zinfandel, too much oak and overripeness through late harvesting can take away some of the grape’s inherent beauty. It can make for formulaic, boring wines that are overly boozy and taste like imitation vanilla,” he says.
We couldn't agree more! Here, the balance between candied and lush, warm fruit is perfect, with the grape’s natural zesty acidity lifting the sour cherry and red currant fruit, spicy Szechuan peppercorn and herbal, earthy finish.