What is a field blend wine? Have you ever wondered what field blends are?
Well you are in luck. Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley recently hosted a special virtual tasting to showcase three zinfandel’s made in an “old school” style, what they call “field blend Zins” from Dry Creek Valley, an AVA in Sonoma County. This region has been setting the bar for Zinfandel for more than 100 years.
During the tasting, participants sampled field blend wines with renowned winemakers from the iconic Dry Creek Valley AVA. The field blend zins tasted were primarily zinfandel, but were grown and picked together with a small percentage of other grapes, and then the fruit is co-fermented. The basic principle of a field blend is to make a wine out of a vineyard that has many varieties planted in one field. Winemakers would harvest the grapes at the same time and then ferment them together. Years ago, this method was popular; not so much today.
For your viewing pleasure, I have the taped session below with a few notes on the wines sampled at the event. I’d recommend grabbing a bottle of each to taste the uniqueness each one has to offer.
In the video, you’ll hear renowned winemaker, John Olney of Ridge Vineyards, Lytton Springs, Kerry Damskey of Dutcher Crossing Winery and Dry Creek Vineyard’s Assistant Winemaker Nova Perrill talk about field blends and answer audience questions. It is quite an interesting discussion that covers field blends of yesterday and today.
2011 Dry Creek Beeson Ranch Zinfandel
Take a trip down memory lane. This wine is reminiscent of early vintages of Dry Creek’s old vine Zinfandel from decades ago. These 100+ year old vines produce some mighty fine juice. Dusty, silky and flirtatious, this wine will knock your socks off.
2011 Ridge Lytton Springs Zinfandel
This is an earthy and balanced black beauty which showcases lovely minerality in this Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Carignane blend.
Harvested, crushed, and co-fermented together, this field blend primarily consists of Zinfandel with a splash of Petite Sirah, Carignane, and Mouvedre. It is a red & black berry blast, with a mineral edge that is quite delightful. Cellar this puppy a few years before consuming for ultimate enjoyment.
Looking for other great Zinfandel’s? Check these out.
What is a field blend wine? Watch the video for answers and inspiration.