DeLoach Vineyards have been making wine in the Russian River Valley, an AVA in Sonoma County California, for over three decades. The Burgundian Boisset family took over the 17-acre estate in 2003, and pulled up most of its vines with a view to conversion to organic and Biodynamic® farming. The vineyards, all but exhausted after years of conventional farming, were replanted with cover crops to rejuvenate the soil, while DeLoach sought winegrowing partners who shared their vision of sustainable, eco-friendly and Biodynamic® viticulture. Biodynamic® and organic certification was achieved some years ago, following a long and complex but worthwhile process. The estate vineyard is now a rich, fertile and varied ecosystem. The estate's first post-conversion release was the 2010 vintage.
Following the pulling of the vines, the estate was not allowed simply to lie fallow, as might be normal agricultural practice. In the first year, cover crops were planted that would extract moisture from the clay soil, and as soon as the correct moisture balance had been achieved it was dug over to a depth of several feet to bring in oxygen. Rock phosphate and lime were added, together with 100 tons of compost produced using manure from local dairies, and horn manure, prepared by filling cow horns with dried manure and burying them over the winter. The second year of vineyard restoration saw more horn manure being added, a winter cover crop of barley and vetch (which nourishes the soil by producing its own nitrogen) together with indicator plants to help monitor the soil's reconstitution. Vine planting could then take place, in accordance with the biodynamic calendar.
In addition to the estate, DeLoach Vineyards works closely with eleven other vineyards around the Sonoma and Russian River Valley areas.
Winemaker Brian Maloney grew up in Sonoma Valley and gained a degree in Viticulture and Oenology from UC Davis. He has been at DeLoach since 2003, when he served his first vintage there. Consultant David Ramey has worked with a number of highly regarded Californian wineries, and before then had worked in Bordeaux at the legendary Château Petrus.
The must is cold-soaked before fermentation, with a warm maceration in steel tank afterwards. The cap of the must was punched down by hand during fermentation, and the wine was aged in 227 litre French oak barrels.
This Zinfandel has spice on the nose which follows through on the palate, where it is met by red and black fruit flavours, with an undercurrent of molasses. It is full-bodied and softly tannic, and would go well with marinated and grilled meats.