Fruit from a pair of top-sited vineyards make up the blend in our 2019 Pick and Shovel Zin. Sawyer Vineyard is planted with a venerable Dry Creek clone on St. George rootstock, head-pruned, and minimally irrigated. It sits on a high bench of red loam overlooking Lake Mendocino. The second vineyard is located on Saracina Vineyards estate property—our steeply sloping Zinfandel block is planted to the DuPratt clone, also on St. George rootstock. Here, the soil is rockier, boasting mineral-laden sedimentary shale. The harvest of 2019 was a winemaker’s dream, with adequate rains and a long, even growing season.

The vineyards were picked by hand on September 21 and 27, respectively, before being de-stemmed and gently crushed in a closed-top tank. Native yeast fermentation began seven days later. At dryness, free-run juice was drained directly into Taransaud barrels, 25% of which were new. Native malolactic fermentation was complete by March. The wine was racked just three weeks prior to bottling, then bottled unfiltered on July 21, 2021.

Fantastically concentrated and showing off an inky-dark color, the 2019 “Pick and Shovel” Zinfandel is long on intense black raspberry and black plum fruit character, with sweet spice and earthy mineral notes framing its lingering finish. The palate is balanced and supple with a layered richness and enough firm tannins to ensure even more sophistication in years to come. Perfect with meaty barbecue classics like ribs, beef kebabs, or juicy smash burgers.