2014 Bucklin Sonoma Valley Zinfandel Bambino Old Hill Ranch
Established in 1852 near the town of Glen Ellen, Old Hill Ranch is one of California’s oldest vineyards. Our “Bambino” comes from a 10-acre block we planted on Old Hill in 1998. This young vine field-blend is patterned after the ancient vine field-blend for which Old Hill is known. The wine is a blend of several grape varieties - principally Zinfandel, but also Petite Sirah, Alicante Bouchet and Grenache to name a few. The 2009 bud-break started about one week earlier than average and we sustained light frost damage on the Grenache and Alicante Bouchet on April 4th. The summer was mild except for a weekend heat spell on August 20th. We were very fortunate that the vines held up through the heat and they weren’t ready for harvesting until more than a month later. We began harvesing the Zin on September 29 and finished with the Grenache mid-October. Given the early bud-break and the late harvest it was one of the longest growing seasons we have seen. The end of the harvest was punctuated by an unusually wet storm in mid-October but thankfully by that time we had finished harvesting all our grapes. The fermentations were relatively cool and long, a result of the use of indigenous yeast and the ripeness of the fruit. Pressing occurred after 12 days on the skins. The wine was bottled on January 2011 after 15 months aging in older French oak barrels. The winemaking techniques were gentle, and used minimal sulfites and no filtrations.
Bambino is deep purple in color with intense aromatics. The fruit component is bright with strawberry and plum aromas and the spice leans toward cardamom and cinnamon. The flavors tend toward plums, cherries, and lavender. The big tannins indicate the wine will benefit from age.