2008 Late Harvest Zinfandel
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The 2008 Vintage of Late Harvest Zin has become a Hawley classic. Now in our fourth vintage, I believe it could very well be our best. This wine started out as a serendipitous learning experience and has developed into our outrageously popular Late Harvest. The 2008 fruit was sourced from a small hillside vineyard in Dry Creek Valley. We picked the fruit several weeks after we finished harvesting our other grapes. The grapes were picked at 32 degrees brix which is too much sugar for most yeast to ferment to dryness, so the wine is left with whatever sugar remains. We fermented this small lot in one-ton open top fermentors and punched down the skins every few hours. The wine was drained when it fermented to about 5% sugar and the skins were pressed off in our old manual basket press. The wine was aged for seven months in French and American oak barrels.
This vintage, in particular, displays wonderful fruity aromas of ripe raspberry and blackberry jam with a hint of raisins and licorice. The mouth feel is velvety smooth with a slight tartness. We selectively pick the grapes so that we can leave the clusters that are too raisened and take the clusters that still retain some natural acidity. The result is a sweet wine with a balanced acidity that keeps it from tasting cloying or syrupy. Enjoy this wine after dinner or even with a juicy barbeque.