2012 Miro Cellars Single-Vineyard Zinfandel Collection 12-Pack
 
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Miro Tcholakov Shutting Down the Sorting Table … and a Spaceship from Mars

It's often suggested that Zinfandel was brought to America by Colonel Agoston Haraszthy from cuttings found in his grandmother's garden in Hungary. That's wrong. Others insist that Zinfandel is an Italian variety, some kind of mutated version of Puglia's Primitivo. That's wrong, too. One wine writer claimed that the variety came via spaceship from Mars. Little has been heard from him since.

The truth? The first traces of a Zinfandel planting date back to 1300 b.c.e. in Croatia, where it was called Crljenak Kaštelanski or the "black grape of Kastel." It wouldn't be until 1829 that the variety found its way to the United States, when Colonel George Gibbs received a shipment from the Schönbrunn collection of horticultural materials that likely contained Zinfandel budwood.

It would take almost a decade and a half for two California winegrowers — Paul Draper at Ridge Vineyards and Joel Peterson at Ravenswood — to craft Zinfandels that would rank among the greatest California reds of their time. Draper's Geyserville, drawn off the Trentadues' "Old Patch" Vineyard in Dry Creek; his Napa Valley "York Creek" cuvée, and Peterson's "Dickerson Vineyard" Zinfandel set the bar by which all Zin-makers would be measured — none of which is lost on the brilliant Miro Tcholakov.

During a three-hour tasting and talk, Trentadue's longtime winemaker offered an inspired perspective on the growing, vinification, and history of cool-climate Zinfandel in Dry Creek Valley — and why the 2012 vintage was the most extraordinary of his storied career.

"In order to understand the challenges presented by Zinfandel, you need to come here just before harvest. Cabernet Sauvignon clusters tend to be fairly regular. Same for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. But Zinfandel is capricious. On the same bunch, in most years, we have large berries, small berries, and raisins. Harvest is a grower's nightmare. We need to sort in the vines, then again on the sorting table. Tannin management is imperative."

Then Miro smiled broadly. "Unless the vintage happens to be 2012."

Chuck Wagner at Caymus called 2012 "a watershed vintage in Napa Valley." The same was true on the high ground of Dry Creek. As we tasted Tcholakov's sumptuous purple-black 2012 Zins — the award-winning "Reserve" and single-vineyard Piccetti — Miro explained why.

"The only other vintage I can compare with 2012 was 1997. Mild days, cool nights. Blue skies. No blistering. At harvest the clusters at Piccetti were near-perfect. The same was true at Wolcott-Bevill on Dry Creek Road. After the first day, we considered shutting down the sorting table. It really wasn't necessary. The juice was black. The acids were refreshing. Best of all, the tannins were soft, allowing us to extend the vinification without any concern for astringency or dryness."

If, over the last few years, you've been feasting on Matt Cline's single-vineyard Zinfandels from Evangelho and Live Oak vineyards, or have piled up Miro's Trentadue "Old Patch" Zins in your cellar, hit the Buy button and call it a day.

As to those who have yet to swirl, smell, and sip the richest, most voluptuous red wine bargains on the coast, today it's time to wake up and live a little.

The 2012 Piccetti Vineyard, drawn off a 30-year-old parcel perched at 800 feet in elevation, is jet-black to the rim. Infused with piercing primary aromas of dark cherry, mountain blueberry, and crushed black fruits, laced with sweet herbs. Rich, powerful, yet silken in texture, packed with black fruit and red currant preserves, finishing with excellent vibrancy and persistence. Drink now — for its youthful hedonism — or age for 7-10 years in a cool cellar.

The 2012 "Reserve" is drawn off the Wolcott-Bevill Vineyard off of Dry Creek Road. Purple-black to the edge, with sumptuous aromas of blackberry, cherry pit, and a touch of kirsch, laced with sweet herbs. Rich but rounder on the attack, with plush flavors of black raspberry preserves, crème de cassis, and underbrush, braced with fine acid backbone. Drink now-2018.



Tasting Notes

2012 Miro Zinfandel Piccetti Vineyard
"Drawn off a 30-year-old parcel perched at 800 feet in elevation. Jet-black to the rim. Infused with piercing primary aromas of dark cherry, mountain blueberry, and crushed black fruits, laced with sweet herbs. Rich, powerful, yet silken in texture, packed with black fruit and red currant preserves, finishing with excellent vibrancy and persistence. Drink now — for its youthful hedonism — or age for 7-10 years in a cool cellar."
-- WineAccess Travel Log

2012 Miro Zinfandel Reserve Wolcott-Bevill Vineyard
"The 2012 "Reserve" is drawn off the Wolcott-Bevill Vineyard off of Dry Creek Road. Purple-black to the edge, with sumptuous aromas of blackberry, cherry pit, and a touch of kirsch, laced with sweet herbs. Rich but rounder on the attack, with plush flavors of black raspberry preserves, crème de cassis, and underbrush, braced with fine acid backbone. Drink now-2018."
-- WineAccess Travel Log

 

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