Grapes for the Napa Cellars 2016 Zinfandel are hand-selected from vineyards in the warmer areas of Napa Valley, including St. Helena, Yountville, Oak Knoll and
Calistoga. Zinfandel grows best in warmer climates, and sourcing grapes from these areas results in complex and concentrated fruit. Zinfandel is not nearly as ubiquitous as Cabernet Sauvignon in Napa Valley, and makes up roughly 2% of total acreage.
The 2016 growing season in Napa Valley started out with unseasonably warm temperatures, though welcomed rains occured in the late winter and early spring after years of drought. Bud break was early though slowed with April showers leading to a harvest that was still early, though with a heavier crop than the 2015 vintage.
After a three-day cold soak designed to extract color from the skins, the grapes were pressed early to avoid extracting harsh tannins. Following a 7 to 15-day maceration period and fermented with the délestage method, the lots were aged in 42% new French and American oak barrels for 19 months. The partial use of new oak helps preserve the big Zinfandel flavors, while still imparting warm, spicy characteristics to create an elegant and balanced wine.
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