Ottimino Exclusively Zinfandel

Ottimino Exclusively Zinfandel

Ottimino Estate 2006 Zinfandel 3-Pack
$59.99 (Normally $105.00) 43% off List Price
2006 Ottimino Estate Vineyard Zinfandel

Ottimino Von Weidlich Zinfandel Mini-Vertical 2-Pack
$59.99 (Normally $91.00) 34% off List Price
2004 Von Weidlich Vineyard Zinfandel
2008 Von Weidlich Vineyard Zinfandel

Ottimino Rancho Bello Vineyard Zinfandel Vertical 3-Pack
$59.99 (Normally $88.00) 32% off List Price
2008 Rancho Bello Vineyard Zinfandel
2007 Rancho Bello Vineyard Zinfandel
2006 Rancho Bello Vineyard Zinfandel

Ottimino Zinfandel Sampler 3-Pack
$64.99 (Normally $101.00) 36% off List Price
2006 Ottimino Estate Vineyard Zinfandel
2008 Von Weidlich Vineyard Zinfandel
2008 Rancho Bello Vineyard Zinfandel
CT links above

I tried the 2006 Ottimino Von Weidlich at the tasting during the RPM tour. That wine had beautiful dark fruits on the nose (blackberry, ripe cherry, blueberry syrup), underscored by excellent honey oak and a hint of licorice. The palate had deep flavors of blueberry, blackberry, tobacco, and a note of vanilla. I liked the nose better than the palate, but the palate was still solidly dark fruit and a bit smokey.

If the 2006 Von Weidlich is any indication, the other zinfandels on offer here should be quality juice.

Are you sure you haven’t been doing this for years? Your notes sound way better than mine!

Been looking to try some of there Zins…IN


and while we’re talking about notes, I don’t have any on the '04, but it was stunning.

Hi All, I’m the vineyard manager and one of the partners in Ottimino and am excited to be part of the latest Wine Woot offering.

If you like Zinfandel, there is no doubt that you will really enjoy our wines. If you are on the fence or think that you don’t like Zinfandel, Ottimino may make a Zin lover out of you. I have been to so many tastings where folks walk by our table and turn down a taste because they “don’t like Zinfandel “or are “only Cab or Pinot drinkers.” After I have finally persuaded them to try our wine they give me a surprised look and say “Wow, I really like this” or “This is Zinfandel?”

We’re located in a part of the Russian River Valley AVA that is known for producing some of the finest Pinot and Chardonnay. Fortunately we are in a banana belt that is just a bit warmer than the lower elevation vineyards (we’re at 800 feet) located in the RRV. We’re above the fog most mornings and the sun hangs around a little longer than the lower lying vineyards. This increased amount of warmth provides just enough extra heat to ripen the grapes.
Since it is cooler here than Dry Creek or Alexander Valley, the grapes take longer to mature and develop tremendous depth and character. The extra bit of acid found in our cool climate Zin is well balanced. Ours are fine, claret style Zinfandels are built to last. If you enjoy aged vs. younger wines, you could cellar our Zin for 12-13 years.

Hello and thank you for coming by!

Thanks for chiming in, Otti!

I recently had a Wellington Zinfandel and Scott Harvey’s 1869 that were both good but very different from each other and also different to the (cheaper) Brazin stuff from Lodi that I’m more familiar with and am guilty of drinking lots of – so I’m curious about how diverse different Zinfandels can be.

How would you contrast the Rancho Bello vs the Estate Zin here? It looks like the vineyards are bang next door to each other, so is it just that one set of vines are older that gives a different result, or were you winemaking with a different thing in mind?

That is a very good question cwc22!

The vineyards are literally 10 feet apart, sharing the same terroir etc. but there is are very distinct differences in the wines. The winemaking techniques that Winemaker/Partner William Knuttel uses are identical. So the difference comes down to the actual selection or “clone” of the Zinfandel grape itself. In truth, the types of vines we have are not true clones. (A clone is defined as a genetically uniform group of individuals derived originally from a single individual by asexual propagation; cuttings, grafting, etc.). Though clones provide us with known characteristics such as early ripening or small berries etc., they don’t necessarily give us what we are looking for in terms of flavor profiles, color etc.

What we have planted in Rancho Bello and Ottimino Vineyards are called field sections. Before planting Ottimino Vineyard we searched for bud wood throughout Sonoma County that we felt would produce high quality grapes with unique flavors. The potential downside to planting field selections vs. clones was that we really didn’t know exactly how the vines would behave in our vineyard.

Rancho Bello is especially unique in that the vines were planted on common stock, i.e., they created their own root system. When Al Bello began his search for vines he asked an old friend of his who had been in the wine business for 70 years where he should go to get Zinfandel vines to plant. His friend told him that there was a little vineyard in the southern portion of Alexander Valley with 100+ year old vines that produced incredible Zinfandel. So, after the vines had been pruned in fall, Al collected the long canes from the vineyard and cut them into 18” inch lengths and stored them in moist sand over the winter. When spring arrived he simply stuck the sticks into the ground and let them grow. The vines were not and are still not ever irrigated. The first year over 70% of the vines died. Al continued replanting for the next 3 years until the vines all survived. Talk about perseverance! Al doesn’t ever quit. (Btw, Al will be 89 years old in October & he still works in the vineyard every day). So as you might imagine, there are no Zinfandel grapes anywhere that compare to the grapes from Rancho Bello.

Ottimino vineyard was planted with bud wood that was obtained from a vineyard that is known for some of the finest Zinfandel being made today. We chose 2 different selections, Bradford Mountain and Mendocino. We first planted a rootstock (St. George) that is known for its vigor and resistance to phylloxera. Since we intended to dry farm the grapes (no irrigation) we wanted roots that would go deep to establish themselves. After the rootstock was established we grafted the selections to the rootstock that now produces either Bradford Mountain or Mendocino grapes. At harvest we pick both sections of the vineyard at the same time and then crush them together creating what is known as a field blend.

So you can see that our Zins really are very special. It’s not a stretch for me to say that you will likely never taste a Zinfandel like Ottimino. In fact, every year at the annual ZAP tasting (Zinfandel Advocate and Producers)in San Francisco, Ridge Vineyards Winemaker, Paul Draper, takes a few minutes to taste our wines. He always toasts us and tells us that they are some of the finest Zins he has ever tasted. Let me tell you, that is quite a compliment!

Well I got a bit carried away but I hope that I answered your question.

my previous post should read “field selections” NOT field section…

Im enjoying a glass of musica vina zin by william knuttel as I type! Thanks for jumping on board and for your thorough explanations. Never had an ottimino but have been intrigued. I have a question: is your estate zin jammy aand dark like a woodenhead zin or is it more restrained? Thanks

It is dark, not jammy, more restrained and much more elegant…

Otti, thanks for the detailed and interesting reply! I look forward to my shipment arriving - cheers!

Tons of educational stuff in that one post. This is why I will not stop coming here; you can’t get that anywhere else. Period.

Thanks for jumping in and continuing our education.

crap I better buy some more :slight_smile:

Welcome Ottimino… Thanks for joining us.

I’m curious about Zinfandel vines planted so close to the coast, where I figure Pinot and Chard would be growing.

How is it that your estate vineyards and Rancho Bello are warmer than typical of the area? Are many of the neighboring vineyards Zin or are they planted to PN and Chard? Is Von Weidlich also in the area?

Von Weidlich is on the same ridgetop as Rancho Bello and Ottomino - the Dupont Rd. / Morelli Lane area. I have made wine from both Von Weidlich and Rancho Bello. It is a very cool, but reasonably sunny, area for Zinfandel, with late harvest dates, high acid levels and bright fruit. The soils are sandy and well drained, allowing for good early Spring growth; otherwise it might not be possible to ripen Zinfandel there some years. Aromas tend toward bright raspberry and apricot rather than cherry or blackberry.
Ridge Winery produced an “Occidental” Zinfandel from the Von Weidlich Vineyard in the '70’s. It typically had low alcohol (12s & 13s) for Zin, stonefruit aromas (apricot), bright acid and it aged spectacularly. Von Weidlich was also the site of the pre-prohibition Lemorel Winery, complete with a wall mounted pulley system to run equipment. I would guess they ran the pulleys with a gasoline engine (no electricity).

Great info SonomaBouliste. You are 100% correct in your description of the Morrelli /Dupont road area. And great to hear about the old days at the Von Weidlich Vineyard! You know more about the history of Von Weidlich than I do. Thanks much for sharing the info.

Another reason for the extra bit of heat in this locale is the proximity and of run of the coastal range just to the west of us. The range acts as a sort of dam that sends the cooler ocean air around the vineyards. We are definitely influenced by the ocean fog/breeze but we are not typically enveloped by them.

Though the vineyards are all very close to each other we do see them ripening at different times. Our youngest vineyard, Ottimino, typically ripens first followed by Rancho Bello and then Von Weidlich

…thank you Peter and Ottimino both for the RRV/Zin Geography lesson. I’ll say it again; that '04 Von Weidlich was wonderful- layered, complex, subtle… an 8 year old, tasty Zin.