A year that started out with rain. After a number of years of drought, we were blessed with plenty of early rain in 2018 and that created a great cover crop and helped these vines get off to a quick start. Lots of sunshine and heat through the middle of the year helped to nurture the fruit and allow it to rapidly accumulate sugars. The roots with the extra rain started to pull up plenty of mineral components that create a much softer and earthy fruit profile. Delicate aromas of perfume and rose petals are followed by black currant and cedar. The palate consists of raspberry, strawberry, with earth tones of tea leaf that create a beautifully complex wine.
Alegría Vineyard is part of the 1841 Sotoyome land grant. The Brumfield family emigrated from Virginia and settled on the land in 1852. Their 850-acre property included the present Ponzo vineyards as well as Alegria. The California Board of State Viticultural Commissioners’ 1891 Directory of Grape Growers lists Summers Brumfield as having 18 acres of Zinfandel and Mission grapes in 1889 producing 1.67 tons/acre, which would indicate planting in 1886 or earlier. In 1896 Elizabeth Moes purchased 40 acres of the Brumfield ranch and built a small winery on her property. After she died in 1924, her daughter Ernestine and son-in-law Adolph DiNucci maintained the vineyard during Prohibition and until 1943. The vineyard then passed through a series of owners and was purchased in 1947 by Americo Rafanelli, who replanted part of the vineyard in 1950. Rafanelli sold to Arnold Bruschera in 1951, who sold to the Allen family in 1973, who sold to the Nachbaurs in 1990.
The Alegría Vineyard is a field blend that is 78% Zinfandel, 11% Alicante Bouschet, 9% Petite Sirah. The remaining 2% includes Carignan, Trousseau [Bastardo], Sangiovese, Negrette, Plavac Mali, Palomino, Syrah, Tannat, Muscat Noir, Monbadon, Peloursin, Graciano, Cinsaut, Béclan, and Grenache.
This vintage started off cooler than the previous few vintages. Despite having a warm February, the cooler weather set in and provided a wonderfully cool spring. The bloom lasted longer than usual and provided for consistent fruit set throughout the vineyards. The summer temperatures were moderate and allowed veraison to start later than previous vintages. There was a cooling trend in late July that meant we avoided the typical late summer heat spikes that drove an early and compressed harvest the previous two vintages. As a result, harvest started 2-3 weeks later than previous years, but was really back to normal where it should be. The grape development and maturation took extra time with the cooler weather with vineyards thinning fruit more times than in previous years. Slower ripening and cooler weather typically provide higher quality fruit and we are already seeing the benefits in the cellar with fully mature sweet tannins, outstanding color and brightness, depth of fruit providing us with naturally beautifully balanced wines. Due to an ideal growing season the 2018 vintage is already showing its potential for greatness.
Clusters were hand harvested early morning to ensure gentle processing of cool fruit. At the winery, the grapes were hand sorted, destemmed, crushed to release the juice and start the extraction process from the skins. The grapes were then fermented in a jacketed open top tank. With pump overs conducted twice a day, where we use a pump to take the juice from below the skins and pump it back up and over all the skins to break down and extract color from the skins. A blend of natural and cultured yeasts were used for fermentation. At dryness, the grapes were pressed to tank and racked clean into a combination of 30% new French oak barrels for 11 months aging. The final blend consists of the winemaker’s selection of the best barrels that represent this single vineyard wine.
Bailarín Cellars was created in 2014 by a collective of family and friends, each following their respective passions. Together we focus on producing small lots of handcrafted wines from unique vineyard sources. We are proud to share the fruits of our labor and love with you.