As my mother used to say when I would take her up to Brandlin Vineyard, high in the hills of Mount Veeder,“ this is as close to heaven as I am going to get.” Rest assured, she is definitely where she is supposed to be, probably hanging out with Chester Brandlin—who passed away last year—having a glass of wine or two. The vineyard is in a magnificent and magical setting where you can truly feel the energy that ultimately finds its way into the wine
In the early 1920s, Henry Brandlin and sons Richard and Chester began planting vines on an eastern exposure hillside 1200 feet above the Napa Valley floor. Today these are probably the oldest vines on Mount Veeder, and they continue to produce intensely flavored grapes, growing for all these years without any irrigation other than the winter and spring rains. The vines are head-trained, independent of any trellis to support them.
We were rewarded with another outstanding vintage in 2014—in fact I just checked my notes and my comment on the final day of harvest, “sensational!” Sunshine and a warm dry spring gave way to mild and ideal growing conditions throughout the summer. An uneventful growing season without extremes is always welcome. Harvest began early and finished early, avoiding the potentially cool and rainy autumn conditions.
We ferment our Zinfandels at temperatures slightly lower than those for Bordeaux reds to accentuate the zesty and forward fruit character of the variety. Aging exclusively in Burgundian French oak barrels adds complexity as well as refinement to the wine.
The 2014 Brandlin is medium dark ruby, with aromas that identify the charm of the vineyard. In 2014, we return to the grace embodied in the 2012 vintage, with aromas of red raspberry, white pepper, allspice, and a hint of smokiness. Flavors burst on the scene and harmonize with black cherry, cranberry, cinnamon, and pepper in a firm and lively structure that begs for food! Bright, youthful, and delicious!!
This is a wine that will certainly age, and reminds me of both the outstanding 2007 and 2012. I will reiterate what I said about each of them. It is a privilege to work with such magnificent fruit, and offer wines from this amazing vineyard.