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Oscar 2020


Vintage: 2020
Appelation: Sonoma Valley
Varietal: Zinfandel - Carignan - Grenache - Petit Sirah - Tocai - Mouvedre

The half-acre “Oscar Vineyard” was planted for Richard and Susan Idell by famed viticulturists Steve and Jill Klein Matthiasson. Planted in 2006, it is the brother vineyard to the highly renowned 5 acre Michael Mara Chardonnay vineyard. Only 50 yards from Michael Mara, it is planted on the same complex and rocky soil and sits both within the Sonoma Coast and Sonoma Valley AVAs. Oscar was planted in the tradition of the old field blend reds that were common in the early days of California winemaking. Head trained, the vineyard is a mix of Zinfandel, Petit Sirah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Carignane, and Tocai. 2020 was the first year since its planting that the Idell family released the fruit to a winery outside of their estate. It was an extremely challenging year for smoke issues in the vineyard. Fortunately, Oscar’s relatively low altitude and proximity to the bay kept air quality good through most of the growing season. That changed in mid-September however, when massive fires in Oregon began to dump smoke south. Unable to get a crew for such a small vineyard while everyone in the valley scrambled to pick, Birk picked the entire vineyard over 12 hours unassisted on Sunday, September 13th. The grapes were de-stemmed and co-fermented for about 3 weeks in a large open-topped oak vat. The wine was pumped over twice a day. Once dry, the wine was then pressed off and finished malolactic fermentation in barrel. The wine aged for 10 months in a mix of used French and American barrels. The wine was then aged an additional 6 months in bottle before release. Oscar, like its counterpart Michael Mara, is a complex mix of bright and rich. It shares the same mineral-driven terroir that manifests in a bright, almost tart raspberry underpinning to the pallet. This crisp character is balanced with rich plum, baking spice, and blackberry. This wine turned out remarkably complex already and will continue to age beautifully for a long time LIMITED RUN: Releases that are only made for one vintage. When they are gone, they are gone!