Brimming with fresh fruit, the aromas are dominated by ripe raspberry and cranberry, leaning southern Italian in style at first. However, after a few minutes, the Zinfandel component becomes more prominent and robust as blackberry jam, hoisin, and savory herbs appear, lending some allure as well as familiarity. It’s the nexus of these disparate, yet harmonious red and dark fruit characteristics that’s emblematic of Montelena wines and our Calistoga vineyard.
The elegance of 2018 comes through immediately on the palate. Laser-focused acidity and strawberry slowly merge with sweet baking spices, dried cherry, and earth. The tannins are soft enough to balance the acidity without overwhelming the steady stream of candied fruit. Medium bodied, the weight of the wine adds depth without the need for extended aging.
Thee Primitivo component of this blend tends to show best in moderately warm years and 2018 certainly qualifies. Ample sunshine and plenty of heat throughout the summer months favored uniform ripening and a purity of flavor. That consistency carried into harvest, allowing for small, targeted picks across vineyard blocks, capturing the complexity and elegance of this vintage.