Tofanelli Vineyards -

2006 Napa Valley Estate Zinfandel

2006 Napa Valley Estate Charbono


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Tasting Notes

Indie Winemakers' Tasting Notes

Our mission is to provide unbiased opinions of the wine being offered. These notes come from up to 10 guests who tasted this wine in a blind tasting format (wine is concealed so their identity is unknown). Why this format? Tasting blind completely throws out any hype associated with a certain winery, style, price point, etc; it forces the taster to accept what is in the glass without any predetermined notions. Our guests utilize Robert Parker's Glossary of Wine Terms for their comments for consistency purposes. In addition, we utilize the wine aroma wheel to enhance one’s ability to describe the complexity of wine flavor. Notes are posted on this wine during the tasting to ensure they accurately reflect the impressions.

Tasting Notes

  • SS: Very smooth, coats your mouth. Dark color and pepper nose. Tasted raspberry. Really smoothed out after a little time in the glass.
  • RLA: Cherry and cedar nose and taste. Full-body but smooth, especially after some time in the glass.
  • BM: Very smooth wine. Big bodied with a very long finish. Let it air for a while and you get a smoother wine.
  • LM: Very big wine flavor and arouma to begin. Almost too strong to begin with. This needs time to air. Smooth and buttery in the mouth, I found cherry and cedar in the nose. Very long finish.
  • MA: This wine has loads of raspberry and a hint of cedar. The aromas lead to an explosion of pure fruit and pepper in the mouth, backed by a firm structure. The essence of this wine continues over the palate with more fruit on the finish.

Technical Data

Wine Technical Data
Blend 100% Zinfandel
Appelation 100% Tofanelli and DiGiulio Ranch Vineyard, Napa Valley
Harvest Dates Handpicked September 22 & 29, and October 2, 2006
Yeast None, native wild yeast on grape skins
Fermentation 4 days with 2 punchdowns/day
Aging / Cooperage 20 months in French oak, 25% new
Alcohol 15.9% by volume
Irrigation none - dry farmed

Winemaker's Tasting Notes - 06 Zinfandel

Leaping out of the glass with notes of black cherry, candied apple, raspberry jam, orange zest and cola nut, rounded out with hints of cedar, black tea and cigar box, this Zin coats the palate gently with supple, brambly fruit concentration. Sophisticated, layered and well-balanced, the wine’s natural acidity marries perfectly with the fine oak tannins that lend weight and length to the mouth feel. Pairs nicely with well-ripened hard cheeses such as French Cantal.

Winemaker's Tasting Notes - 06 Charbono

In addition to being extremely dark and deep, the aromas and flavors of this exotic wine combine distinctive aspects of blueberry compote, brioche, hazelnut, sweet tobacco, allspice, leather and wet granite. Mouth-filling and very inviting, its finely-grained tannins conjure plush black velvet. This wine is fantastic with food, and will age graciously for up to 15 years. Pairs deliciously with soft, fragrant cheeses such as Italian Dolce Gorganzola.

Vintage Description

We had a cool wet spring in 2006 which gave me concern due to a high percentage of spoilage organisms like boytritis and phomopsis. As an organic farmer, given the potential problems, vigilance was my best tool. My mantra was “no surprises.” To that end, much time was spent among the vines during the growing season. Balance in the vineyard equals balance in the bottle! Fruit thinning and canopy management (removing leaves to encourage air flow and light) were crucial viticultural practices for the vintage. As I recall, mild fall weather helped me breathe a bit easier, and my decisions to harvest were based on flavors instead of impending rain!

Allow me to expound a little on grape flavors. Because I do very little manipulation at the winery, it is extremely important that I capture the essence of the vineyard at the time of harvest. What do I look for? Varietal information of course (if it’s zinfandel, it should taste like zinfandel), but also more subtle notes of acidity, tannin, and a certain depth of flavor that speaks of the vineyard itself. All that, from one berry? Well, in a word, no. During the course of the harvest, I taste (and eat) an uncountable number of berries. By the time harvest is over, I will have had quite my fill of grapes!

Compared to the time spent in the vineyard, the winemaking process is relatively short. The fruit was picked early in the day, brought to the winery and de-stemmed into small 240 gallon fermenters. No sulfites were added at this time so an active wild yeast culture was retained on the grape skins. After a cool rest period, spontaneous fermentation began. Manual punch downs (stirring the pot!) twice daily broke up the floating grape skins (called must) for color and flavor extraction. After all the fermentable sugars were gone (14 to 16 days), the must was gently pressed to extract the resulting wine which was then aged in small oak barrels.

After 20 months of barrel age the wines were bottled and allowed to rest for an additional 5 months before release to you.

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