Harvest Moon Estate & Winery
2007 Russian River Valley Zinfandel
California: Russian River Valley (Sonoma)
What we say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
Delicious, delightful and delectable, today’s wine deserves special recognition as a stand-out wine.
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Mission Codename: Come a little bit closer
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Investigate reports of an exceptional Russian River Valley Zinfandel from Harvest Moon Vineyards & Winery
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Harvest Moon Vineyards & Winery
Wine Subject: 2007 Zinfandel Russian River Valley
Winemaker: Randy Pitts
Backgrounder: Zinfandel is often aptly named California’s grape. Its history and lore and the wines that result are often the makings of legend. In this case, Starry Night’s winemaker selected the best old-vine grapes from a number of the Russian River’s best vineyards, many of which have been planted for nearly 100 years. The Russian River Valley is ideally suited for red grape varietals. Its early morning fog and coastal breezes result in a cooler climate than the neighboring wine growing regions.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Gorgeous deep rub hues, with a fine rim pink that encircles the glass. The wine appears soft and bouncy when swirled, leaving behind fine wine-stained tears.
Smell – Deep red fruit of cherry, raspberry and dried cranberry, with darker aromas of plum, black cherry, dusky blackberry and bramble mingle with spice of black and white pepper.
Feel – Soft and round across the front palate, the wine flows easily across the mid, where it settles in, spreading a soft mineral dryness outward to the cheeks, drying the lips and tongue.
Taste – Vibrant and complex, with a mixture of black and red fruits from the nose. Add to these, hard leather, tart fresh cranberry, soft oak and the softest hint of kola nut at the end.
Finish – Long and bright, with flavors that start high and softly tart – before they fall off to a dry minerality and a unique subtle kola nut flavor at the very end.
Conclusion – This is a complex but vibrant wine. I blind-tasted the wine, not even knowing that it was a Zinfandel. A sniff and sip later, and I was certain that it was a Zin, but this wine had me wondering if it was old vine Zinfandel, or a Zin from younger vines. It had the depth and character of an Old Vine Zin, with the brighter and zestier intensity of young vines. After a look at the label, I knew that I was drinking both. I had been looking forward to this particular wine, made from a distinctive blend of old and young vines, for some time. On tasting it, I was impressed. This is a lively wine with a refined and serious edge to it. As a 2007, it is youthful, but ready to drink. I can’t wait to try it a year or two from now!
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Randy Potts
WINE EDUCATION: Viticultural experience from the University of Bob Pitts (father) and wine knowledge from Bruce Rector.
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: As growers turned winemakers, we naturally gravitate towards focus in the vineyards. As grower for nearly 90% of the grapes, we spend many months each year among the vines. Once at the crushpad, we emply non-interventialist winemaking. Really “Wine Sheparding”. We use almost all older mature barrels to age our wines as we do not appreciate much oak profiles at all.
WINEMAKER QUOTE: “Raisins in your morning oatmeal, not in your wine”
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: August 2004, released 2002 Vintage.
AGENT RED: Greetings, Randy. We are thrilled to be showing your 2007 Russian River Valley Zinfandel today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
RANDY: Yes, I worked in SF as a good corporate citizen in the mid-to-late 90’s during the dot.com boom. I noticed when I went out at night, the ladies were not super interested in taking tequila shots rather they were drinking wine. A motivating factor certainly.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
RANDY: I was mentored under Winemaster Bruce Rector who taught me and later my assistant Nate Wiemieier in the architecture of elegant, cool-climate winemaking.
RED: Who do you make wine for?
RANDY: me with the hopes there’s some folks out there who appreciate lower alcohol, less oaked wines.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
RANDY: From the ’07 vintage we offer a great, four vineyard blend of RRV Zinfandel. The local vineyards range from a 7 year old vineyard up to a 90 year old block. Think: Black pepper, berry and spice. The trifecta of cool-climate RRV Zinfandel!
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
RANDY: Mosiac Restaurant in Forestville does a killer coffee-encrusted filet which I recommend!
RED: Let’s go there, soon! I’m buying. In your opinion, what makes the Russian River Valley so special?
RANDY: The Russian River Valley is special for so many reasons. Foggy mornings, hot sunny afternoons recipe helps retain the crisp natual acidity, yet also provides enough sun to ripen the clusters to a perfect level. For me and my style, it’s alllll about the RRV. The RRV creates “juicy” wines.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
RANDY: A crazy, unpredictable spring weather and a very energetic 9 month old daughter.
RED: Ahh, yes. My own mini-agents are much older than yours. I’d like to say that it gets easier, but… Tell me, how would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
RANDY: With excitement and desire. We are making lower alcohol wines which comes from grapes harvested on time without the excessive sugar content that many wines contain. Warning: You are about to enjoy a balanced, juicy zinfandel.
RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
RANDY: Nope, just enjoy!
RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!
What the winery says
About This Wine:
With not so subtle hints of fresh cracked black pepper and dark rose petal aromas, this wine graciously fills the mouth with tart dark wild berry pie and a slight cinnamon/nutmeg zing. The mouth feel is moderate and body is of medium stature. Just as it begins, the wine slowly leaves the palate with a definite mention of pepper and dark spicy berry. Cellar for 5-8 years.
Grower & Winemaker’s Notes: From a grower’s perspective, 2007 was an amazing season. As winemaker, the wines were easy to make by simply keeping my hands off once the perfectly ripe clusters arrived at the crushpad. Farming most of the fruit and purchasing some from the DeLoach Family, this wine exemplifies a concerted effort to bring elegance and subtly to an oft massively constructed variety. Proper leaf pulling and timely cluster thinning concentrated the flavors in the vineyard without necessarily achieving high brix count. As in vintages prior, we surgically harvested only the ripe clusters while leaving the still pinkish, unripe clusters to hang and ripen for an additional 7-12 days. The fruit from the four local vineyards were fermented separately in small ¾ ton open top bins outside allowing for a very cool fermentation temperature peak of 84 degrees Fahrenheit. This cool fermentation helped retain the beautiful delicate structure and also prevent the stewing or cooking of the must. The wine was barreled separately in mostly neutral, older barrels for 18 months until the very end where the lots were blended and bottled polish filtered in May 2009.
About The Winery:
The Harvest Moon: the moon at and about the period of fullness that is nearest to the autumnal equinox. In the legend of the Harvest moon, it is said that all full moons have their own special characteristics based primarily on the whereabouts of the ecliptic in the sky at the time of year that these moons are visible.
Harvest Moon Estate and Winery was founded on growing, producing and bottling world-class Russian River Valley wine in a balanced, elegant style. Our premise is that Russian River Valley Zinfandel can be just as layered and complex as any Pinot Noir or Bordeaux variety in the world and receive the same respect. The Pitts family has grown quality grapes in the Russian River Valley since 1976. In 2000, son Randy reverse migrated from San Francisco back to Sonoma County to assume the farming responsibilities at the family’s modest nine-acre ranch. In conjunction with lessons on farming by his Dad and a few viticulture/enology courses at the local junior college, Randy made a barrel of homemade Zinfandel off the ranch’s back block which turned out exceptionally tasty. Quickly concluding that properly farmed and judiciously fermented, Zinfandel has great capabilities of being California’s own wine nobility. The growers-turned winemakers birthed their inaugural vintage in 2002 and look forward to making their Zinprint on the winescene for decades to come.
In addition to growing up Zinfandel, Harvest Moon also hand crafts small amounts of Russian River Valley Gewürztraminer, Pinot Noir and Dry Creek Cabernet Sauvignon.
We proudly invite you out to the Estate tasting room and winery to experience the next echelon of full-service Sonoma County wine country!
The significance of the logo: Our simple circular brushstroke logo is an ancient Chinese symbol that’s been contemporarily adopted by the Japanese as the circle of life. Our logo, like our vineyards, represents a semi-closed system; permeable from outside influence. The Circle of Life starts out slow and builds to high productivity only to level out and enjoy a slow, gradual decline. Just before the circle is joined, there’s a brief pause- a quietness of sorts- and then begins the cycle anew. This is life… These are our seasons… This is wine.
Vintage & Varietal: 2007 95% Russian River Valley Zinfandel and 5% Russian River Valley Petit Syrah
Production: 650 cases/750 ml. 100 cases 375 splits
Residual Sugar: .046 g/100 ml;