Wine Last Sold on: December 28, 2012
2007 Rancho Bello Vineyard Zinfandel
|Vineyard:||Rancho Bello Vineyard|
|Region:||California: Russian River Valley (Sonoma)|
2012 WINE INTRIGUE AWARDS WINNER:
Agents’ Choice: Top 2007 Vintage Wine
Welcome to day twelve of the 6th Annual Wine Spies Wine Intrigue Awards. Every year, our Operatives and our Agents choose their favorite wines of the past year. Today, we are very pleased to present Agents’ choice top 2007- of any that we showcased in 2012.
SUPER QPR ALERT:
At today’s special Wine Spies price, this wine delivers tremendous value - and a drinking experience that exceeds expectations, easily earning it this special QPR (Quality to Price Ratio) Alert.
Mission Codename: The Luckiest Number Since…
- Agent Red
- Return to Ottimino, a smash hit with our Zinfandel-loving Operatives. This time around, secure a stash of their 2007 Ranch Bello Zin.
- Mission Status
- William Knuttel
A fantastic follow-up to the wonderful 2006 that we featured last year. This 2007 Ottimino Ranch Bello Vineyard Zinfandel is a far juicier, far more elegant and delicious wine. This vintage retains the crushed velvet fullness of the previous vintage, but it also has broader, fuller flavors.
Big and juicy, bursting with black and red fruit – on the nose and on the palate – this delicious wine possesses a great deal of charm and character. Decant for optimum results, and be rewarded with more natural-tasting fruit and elegant spice. Pair with a roast, tangy BBQ or a herb roasted chicken.
Gorgeous dark ruby hues, with perfectly even coloration, right out to the fine red edging of the wine. After a soft swirl, fine, wine colored legs move slowly down the wall of the glass.
Black cherry and blackberry absolutely leap from the glass. Just behind these, fragrant spiced strawberry candy, dark chocolate, leather and mixed dark dried flower petals join in.
Soft and smooth, initially. Then, the wine becomes quickly mouth-filling and softly drippy, spreading a mineral-rich dryness that spreads from the center of the palate, out to the lips and cheeks. Rich, complex and ultimately full-bodied, this wine shows off plush tannins and a balanced acidity.
Dark and very juicy, with darkest black cherry, blackberry and dark plum that expand onto the palate. As these flavors settle in, new flavors emerge, including red plum, dark strawberry, bramble bush, cocoa dust, black tea, flint and black pepper.
Very long, with an initial rush of dark dark fruit that subsides, gradually yielding to red fruit flavors, spice and earthy elements.
What the Winery Says
Originally planted in 1988 common stock selected from 120 year old vines in an Alexander Valley vineyard, Rancho Bello produces time and again, some of the most fantastic Zinfandels that we produce.
Bright cherry and raspberry aromas are tinged with hints of white pepper, blackberry, Occidental dust, and oak. Flavors erupt on entry, with black cherry spice and bramble dominating the mid-palate. Velvety tannins anchor a great depth and concentration of flavor, and the excellent balance makes this Zinfandel extremely versatile and an excellent food wine.
Vintage 2007 was spectacular in all ways, with virtually ideal weather from start to finish. Bud break occurred normally during a dry, temperate spring, and warm but reasonable temperatures continued all the way through the summer into late fall with nary a hint of moisture. The near perfect weather led to the most even ripening we have ever seen at Rancho Bello, and the fruit we harvested in late September had stunningly deep color, virtually no raisins, and modest-sized clusters. Winemakers dream of harvests like these!
After hand-harvesting, the grapes were left to cold soak for 2 days, increasing the flavor and tannin extraction from the grapes. Fermentation was begun with native yeasts, and then a small dose of D254 strain winemaking yeast was added to carry the fermentation to completion. With 20 days of total maceration, the wine was then pressed and racked to barrels where malolactic fermentation began spontaneously, there after it was racked every quarter in the old world claret style. At bottling the wine had 22 months in French Oak barrels; 40% new & 60% 1- & 2-year-old.
Appellation: Russian River Valley.
Harvest Date: 9/28/07.
Aging: 22 months in 40% new oak.
Bottling Date: 7/30/09.
Residual Sugar: 0.08%.
About the Winery
Ottimino’s land is a land of dreams. When he came to America in 1913, “Little Eight,” so called because he was the last of eight children and the smallest, had big ambitions. He made his home on a beautiful ridge above Green Valley and forged a life on new soil. He planted the land, especially proud of the vines that nurtured the grapes made into wine for his family’s table. Ottimino became a favorite in the area, and always spoke proudly of his vines.
Eventually Ottimino’s time came to pass, as all things must. But along the way one of the friends he made was Brad Alper, who had a dream similar to Ottimino’s. Brad’s first grapes grew as Ottimino’s time was coming to an end, and the legacy was passed on. Brad eventually expanded his vineyards, and he consulted with other grape growers on Ottimino’s ridge. In time, he knew that all these grapes would need a winemaker to bring their uniqueness to light.
His inquiries led him to veteran winemaker Bill Knuttel, who instantly knew that Brad’s (and Ottimino’s) dream would soon become Brad and Bill’s passion. They have built slowly on Ottimino’s legacy, as befits the traditions of Old World quality and craftsmanship, but the results are now for all to see…and taste and enjoy!
California native Brad Alper moved from Los Angeles to Sonoma County in 1987. Since forming Ottimino Winery with Winemaker William Knuttel in 1999, his goal has been the same: To produce premium Zinfandel using only the highest quality grapes and winemaking practices, with Ottimino’s passion for life and winemaking serving as inspiration. Since the first release of the 2000 Rancho Bello Zinfandel, Ottimino’s lineup has expanded to include several award-winning single vineyard designate Zinfandels as well as Zinfinity, a Zin and Pinot blend.