2016 Miro Ponzo Vineyard Old Vine Reserve Red Blend
The Ponzo Vineyard was one of the very last standing, pre-Prohibition, head-pruned vineyards in the Russian River Valley.
I say was because it is not, anymore. The current vineyard owners felt it was time to say goodbye to the centenarian vines, so they ripped out the old vines and started anew. This bottling – from the 2016 vintage – is the very last of those long-ago vines.
Ponzo’s distinct aromatic character comes through immediately on the nose. Always, this vineyard developed aromas of Morello cherries, ripe plums and hints of a spiciness – think black aromatized with a touch of brambly fruit. An abundance of ripe fruit – more dark cherries, accented with wild berries, baking spices and a faint hint of pepper—dance over the palate. This wine is smooth, round, velvety and delicious. It’s a blend of Carignan, Zinfandel and Petite Sirah.
The winemaker, Miro Tcholakov, created this sumptuous, heavenly red blend. Miro is no stranger to Zinfandel blends. Originally from northern Bulgaria, he applied for and received a Future Farmer’s of America grant to participate in harvest at one of our favorite wineries – Dry Creek Vineyards. There, what was an internship turned into a nine-year position, as Miro eventually moved up the ranks to assistant winemaker. A jump to head winemaker at Trentadue gave him the capacity to do custom-crush work. Soon he opened his own boutique winery, exclusively focused on old vineyards that bring a site-specific intensity to the wine.
Ponzo’s old vines were one such site. With only 330 cases produced (and the winery now having been sold) we’ve got the last of it in the world. Something like this won’t be tasted again (at least not for another 100 years)!