Founded by a successful Finnish sea Captain, Gustave Niebaum, in the 1880’s, Inglenook Estate in Rutherford California was once the most highly regarded of the earliest, great Napa Valley estate wineries. Over the years the estate passed through the hands of Niebaum’s descendants. Eventually the family started to sell off plots of the historic homestead. Even the proud name was put on the market in 1964 and sold to a corporation as merely a brand name. But in 1975, Francis Ford Coppola...
Voluminous and very well focused, the 2012 Pennino Zinfandel displays a high degree of spice as well as big, juicy flavors of plums, cherries, and red fruits that are beautifully offset by a bright, balsamic-like acidity. Nuances of ginger, cardamom, and cinnamon mingle with notes of Mexican chocolate. One may even detect a hint of cherry blossoms. Integrated tannins support the structure and there is a succulent mouthfeel with a long, satisfying mocha finish.
The Zinfandel for Edizione Pennino is grown in a variety of vineyard blocks scattered across Inglenook’s 235 contiguous acres. The old dry-farmed, head-pruned vines, which provide the backbone of the blend, offer concentrated berry flavors and spice; younger plantings of the historic Morisoli clone contribute fresh raspberry fruit flavors, lively acidity and spice notes; the historic Werle selection adds dark boysenberry aromas and a round texture. Because we farm organically on the estate, it requires extra effort to cultivate our Zinfandel, as this varietal is one that’s susceptible to mildew and botrytis, but we think the rewards outweigh the added work that goes into creating this wine.
Over the last few years, we’ve refined our winemaking methods, using smaller boxes for picking, a new destemmer that is gentler on the fruit, thereby causing less oxidation, and we’re applying greater scrutiny during the fermentation process by evaluating individual blocks of fruit daily to determine which will benefit from pump overs. These improvements greatly enhanced the quality of the 2012 vintage, which is sure to go down in the books as one of the best vintages of the decade. Steady, moderate temperatures lasted throughout the summer creating good conditions for ripening. We picked earlier than usual to preserve the elegance of the fruit and used both French and American oak barrels, 20% of them new, in the maturation process.