This wine is so joyous, and to me, distinctly Californian. I never knew how much I loved Zinfandel until I started working as Chris Brockway’s (Broc Cellars) Assistant Winemaker. When picked before the grape berries begin to shrivel, you get amazing hibiscus, rhubarb, pomegranate, and baking spices from Zin. Like an avocado, the window is small between unripe and overripe for Zin, and I watch our Zinfandel vineyards closely. Carignan, Zin’s less celebrated companion, provides a savory component reminiscent of driving through California chaparral, and, like Ricetti’s, can be incredibly complex with 70 years of vine age. I’m not re-inventing the wheel with this classic old vine Zin/Carignan blend, just lightening things up a bit.
Both the Carignan and Zinfandel are treated with a light touch to highlight the playful, chillable qualities this blend is known for. During the first two days or so of fermentation we perform longer pumpovers to homogenize the tank temperature and increase the availability of oxygen for the native yeast cells to multiply. Once fermentation kicks off we switch to short pumpovers (just a few minutes) as a way to limit tannin extraction. Pressed prior to dryness when tannins are just starting to build.
Martha’s husband, Jon Patch, drew the label and came up with the name after their first few dates. Looks like he sealed the deal!
**Varietals:** 54% Carignan, 46% Zinfandel
**Vinification notes:** Carignan and Zinfandel, both 100% destemmed, fermented separately and aged in stainless steel tanks for 6 months before blending and bottling.** **Unfined. Unfiltered. Sediment expected.
- Zinfandel from Del Barba Vineyard, Oakley, CA; dry farmed on sand (like walking on a beach).
- Carignan from Ricetti Vineyard, Mendocino County; planted in 1948; certified organic; dry farmed on gravelly loam.
**Tasting notes:** This wine tastes like a lively hibiscus agua fresca with notes of orange peel and juicy pomegranate. A kitchen chameleon and a balanced blend, Carignan brings savory flavors while juicy Zinfandel brings sweet spices like clove and cinnamon.
**Serving temp:** Chilled. We like to put Post Flirtation Red in the fridge for ~20 minutes and then enjoy.
**Production:** 1909 cases
**At bottling (February 2021):** Free SO2 4 mg/L, total SO2 31 mg/L; 0.4 g/L RS (dry).
Martha Stoumen Wines was founded upon the desire to recapture a farming and winemaking culture that has all but faded away: a winemaking culture of patience.
For my wines I lease and farm around half of the vineyards myself. The other half are farmed by multi-generation farmers who understand their land, and their family's land, far better than I ever will, and who farm with my same philosophies in mind. Patience in the vineyard means composting rather than adding synthetic fertilizers, allowing predatory insects the ability to outcompete pests rather than spraying insecticides, and doing proper handwork, such as pruning for vine longevity rather than high yields.
In the cellar I use a minimalist winemaking approach. Patience in the cellar means letting the natural yeast and bacteria present on the grape skins perform fermentation, and allowing longer macerations and aging to provide stability rather than using added tannin, acid, or stabilizing agents in my wines. Above all, I strive to make wines that are delicious, joyful, and truly representative of California.