2005 Zinfandel Dante Dusi
Zinfandel • Dante Dusi
California: Paso Robles
What we say
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Mission Codename: Dante’s Paradiso
Operative: Agent Zin
Objective: Deliver Intelligence Briefing on Paso Robles Zinfandels
Mission Status: Ongoing
Current Winery: Chumeia Vineyards
Wine Subject: 2005 Dante Dusi Zinfandel
Ancient Greeks had a word for alchemy; Chumeia (koo-may-a). Historic alchemists believed that by applying four basic elements: heat, air, earth and water as well as philosophical beliefs, they could transform basic elements into gold. Lee Nesbitt, Chumeia’s Winemaker, believes that not only is winemaking an alchemic process, but the grapevine has its own transformation of basic elements into gold (the grapes). Holding true to form, Chumeia’s philosophy is to source exceptional fruit from specific locations. This philosophy allows the dynamics of the vineyard to be expressed by blending specific lots, thus achieving varietal correctness and complexity.
While this spy was intrigued by this philosophy, I knew that the real test was in experiencing the wine for myself.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Rich, dark ruby
Smell – Big raspberry nose with sweet cherry
Feel – Silky, with great tannins. Became more balanced on decanting.
Taste – First taste delivers a overly big wallop of fruitiness and sweet raspberry jam. After decanting for a few hours, it was transformed; It deepened and became less sweet, while taking on a cedar and smoky oak quality with dark cherry.
Finish – This wine exhibited a long and flavorful finish with a hint of spiciness and plum that was not there before.
Conclusion – There is nothing covert about this big, juicy fruit explosion of a Zin! We found this to be a special wine that liked to be sipped rather than gulped in larger mouthfuls. Its mid-pallet tannins were more mild than more overtly boastful zins and this wine had none of the pepperiness that we sometimes find with more traditional Zinfandels.
Wine Spies Vineyard Background Check:
Vineyard – Located in west Templeton, the Dante Dusi Vineyard is one of the most sought after Zinfandel Vineyards on the Central Coast. Planted in 1945, the “Dusi” Zinfandel fruit is famous for its rich texture and delectable fruit. The vines are head trained and dry farmed on well-drained gravelly soil. The grapes winemaker Lee prefers are from the 15-17 year old vines in the vineyards, which grow in complex alluvial soils. The Vineyard can be seen in this satellite photo.
Wine Spies Technical Analysis:
Appellation: Paso Robles
Bottling Date: March 03, 2007
Harvest Date: September 21,2005
Months in Barrel: 14
Oak: French Oak
Release Date: March 16, 2007
Time In Oak: 14 months
Pairing: This Zinfandel will pair well with a wide variety of rustic foods. Try pairing this wine with Zinfandel marinated Flank Steak or grilled barbeque ribs.
We spy, you try, this zin, you win.
What the winery says
Bronze Medal Winner-Central Coast Wine Competition 2007
The Vintage A question we get more often than not is how does the rain affect the grapes? The answer is not an easy one. If the vines are dormant, then the water a vineyard receives from winter storms is greatly appreciated. A vine needs approximately 30 inches of water per year to perform its magic. Fortunately, the weather for 2005 was heavy in precipitation which was good news. On the other hand, if vines get too much water then they tend to be overly vigorous with vegetative growth. In short, too much water allows the vine to focus its energy on producing vegetation and not grapes. For proper grape maturity, the leaf surface area needs to be in balance with the amount of grapes on the vine. Furthermore, if rains come during the spring time, this may affect the overall set or amount of grapes available for that year. Finally, rains during harvest time are particularly bad news because excess precipitation may lower sugar levels and allow mildews to attack the fruit. 2005 was above normal for rainfall. Vegetation in the vineyard was above normal so leaf pulling was critical to expose fruit to sunlight. The summer heat was below normal, so longer hang time, better acids and overall quality was above normal. All in all, 2005 was a good vintage.
The heavy rainfall during dormancy was a good thing, especially for dry land farmed vineyards like the Dusi family—a true dry land farmed vineyard located on the west side of Highway 101. A cool maritime infl uence makes its way through the Templeton Gap and ends up stopping right at the Dante Dusi Vineyard.
The Wine I’ve been told to not “over engineer” Zinfandel. I consider that great advice coming from my winemaker compadres. My philosophy is simple; soil characteristics are key to vineyard quality. The Dante Dusi grapevines are a perfect match for their location; this vineyard produces grapes that are some of my favorite to work with. The grapes are grown with such care and craft by the owners that I work to refl ect the same care in winemaking techniques. For this vintage, I asked for two separate lots of Zinfandel both at different harvest brix, which were then blended together to create this magnifient and mighty wine!
Winemaker Commentary Balance is always the goal for any wine and winemaker. Forcing a wine to do something it’s not intended to do is a big no no! The 2005 Zinfandel is balanced with a 16.5 alchohol, .63/100 ml of tartaric acid and a 3.58 pH and a touch of residual sugar. This wine is loaded with forward fruit of fresh raspberries followed by silky tannins, balanced acids and a touch of spiciness. The 2005 in our opinion jumps rope on a razor blade—the perfect combination of power and finesse!