Fenice (feh-KNEE-chay) Zinfandel - Dry Creek Valley
Fenice - Phoenix. A noble paragon of immortality and hope, rising from the fires of destruction to create anew. Not unlike the phoenix, we find ourselves ascending from the proverbial ashes of our erstwhile careers to embark upon this next chapter of our lives.
One misty day, while Ted was out riding his bike along the undulating hills of Dry Creek Valley, he cycled past the Berizzi's Zinfandel vineyard. This is something he had done many times before, but today was different. Having purchased this fruit in the past under another label, Ted was already very familiar with the quality of the grapes and the reputation of their faithful vineyard caretakers, John and Rochelle Berizzi. With a thought brewing in the back of his head, he kept riding on, until he decided to circle back. After a few shouts out toward the house, John eventually came onto the porch and opened up the gate. Ted and John got to talking and, as luck would have it, their fruit was just becoming available. His biking helmet in one hand, and a firm handshake with John in the other, that day proved to be the beginning of a beautiful friendship...and the rebirth of Ted's passion for producing Zinfandel from this extraordinary region.
Working with John and Rochelle Berizzi is a dream. This vineyard is situated on the northeastern side of the valley and surrounded by old growth Oak and Pine trees, providing shelter from the elements. The soil is gravelly, rocky loam and well drained, providing fertile ground for the vines, and a challenge for your boots! With one passing glance at this stunning, beautifully tended vineyard, you get a very clear sense of just who the Berizzi's are, s vineyard managers and as people. Hard working. Principled. Dedicated to the preservation and care for the land and all of its inhabitants. Kind. Their beautiful fruit is a direct reflection of everything they put into it throughout the growing season.
Serpente Primitivo - Rockpile Viticultural Area
Ouroboros - the serpent consuming its own tail. Primordial and enigmatic in nature, its mythology represents th embodiment of eternal cyclical rebirth, serving as th perfect icon for this wine.
We love Rockpile. It is as dynamic and intriguing as it is challenging. Any year we can source grapes from this area is a good one, indeed (albeit a stressful one). Rocky, steep terrain, shallow soils, and prevailing winds make for a unique set of circumstances, inevitably producing lower fruit yields with smaller berries, but, also the potential for intensely concentrated flavors. Deft canopy management is a must. Water retention is critical. There is no farming family who understands and represents this better than the Mauritsons, who made it their ranch homestead many years ago. With around two hundred acres of vineyards planted in this approximately fifteen thousand-acre AVA, this fruit is always in high demand.
Ted has a decades-long history with Rockpile, making it a natural choice for us when we decided to start our own label. Ted also has an even longer history with Primitivo and Zinfandel, two of the grapes planted in this AVA. There has always been a conversation around Primitivo and Zinfandel. Are they the same? Are they different? Are they related? The best way we like to describe them is that they are like fraternal twins. They come from the same gene pool, but present themselves differently.
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