2018 Zinfandel - Stampede
The Stampede Vineyard was named after the fairgrounds next door where rodeo competitions have been held for generations. My cousin is a third generation cattle rancher and as a boy he used compete there in various roping and riding events. Even just ten years ago he was still working the ranch on horseback.
Planting of the vineyard began in the teens and twenties and finished in the 1940’s. It is comprised of own-rooted, head trained Zinfandel with Mataro and Mission interplanted. The Perlegos brothers bought the property a few years ago and have started rehabilitating it by introducing cover crops and replanting the vines that have died off. The soil is very sandy and coarse as the vineyard is situated on the high banks of the Mokelumne River in the eastern section of the Lodi AVA.
We usually pick first because we want high natural acidity and a low pH. For the 2018 vintage we thought we were picking at about 21 Brix but were pleasantly surprised when the final numbers came in indicating about 19 Brix. The cluster and berry size was noticeably much smaller than usual; they looked more like Cabernet than Zinfandel.
In the cellar we simply poured the clusters into one-ton open-top fermenters and waited a few days for signs of activity. Subsequently we treaded lightly on in order to just juice the top portion of fruit. We drained and pressed to neutral 500L puncheons and bottled ten months later without fining or filtering. The wine is light, bright and structured.
Harvest date: September 1