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This elegant, easy to drink 2020 Pilgrim Zinfandel has a beautiful fragrance of blackberry, raspberries, blossoming violets, and forest floor. It has plenty of black cherry fruit, but is also layered with sweet tobacco, and spicy oak for a complex, yet impressive balance.

Vineyard Notes - Pilgrim Vineyard is a 12-acre parcel located in the Lodi AVA, which lies just between Sacramento and Stockton, extending east until it runs into the Sierra Foothills AVA. This lovely vineyard is owned by Joel and Martine Herche, who after moving sixteen times in sixteen years, ended their pilgrimage in 1998 by finally settling down on this vineyard. They playfully named it for John Bunyan’s work, “The Pilgrim’s Progress”. The vines are certified to be at least 70 years old, but are reputed to be much older and are flourishing.

Winemaking Notes - The grapes are harvested at night into ½ ton bins, arriving at the winery early morning and very cold. They are “de-stemmed”, berry sorted and crushed to tank. The initial “cold-soak” (no fermentation) of the grapes is 3-4 days at 50 F. Multiple lots were fermented in stainless steel tank where a peak temperature is typically 92 0F; and the yeast strain is Premier Cuvee. The wine is tasted twice a day to evaluate the color and tannin extraction from the skins and seeds.

For this wine we are looking for a careful balance of deep red pigment intensity, complexity of flavors and balance in the mid-palate, and overall tannin content. Once these are at an optimum in the wine we drain the free-run juice from the skins to another tank and keep separate the hard press wine, which will be evaluated and aged separately. Once the new wine has settled in tank (3-4 days) we rack off the gross grape solids (lees) and move to barrels. The 2nd fermentation (called Malolactic) will then proceed in small barrels over several months.
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