Round on the palate with soft tannins, this year’s rendition of Pennino Zinfandel is fresh and aromatic. Beautiful notes of red and black berries mingle with sweet baking spices of vanilla, clove and cinnamon. Sweet, jammy fruit character and nuances of raspberries, red plums, and blackberries create a luscious flavor array. This year’s Pennino is more restrained than vintages past, but the wine demonstrates power, complexity and a fragrant finish without any one flavor being too overwhelming.
Edizione Pennino Zinfandel pays tribute to Francis Ford Coppola’s maternal grandfather, Francesco Pennino. Born in Italy, Francesco emigrated to the United States as a young man and started a music publishing company known as “Edizione Pennino.” Our estate Zinfandel bears the music company’s logo in its original form and to add to the nostalgia, each vintage bottling has one of Pennino’s song titles imprinted on the cork. When Coppola purchased the Inglenook estate in 1975, it was recommended that he remove the Zinfandel vines, but because this varietal has Italian origins and has always been enjoyed by his family, he insisted the Zinfandel remain.
The Edizione Pennino Zinfandel grapes are harvested by hand and selected vine by vine for optimum flavor levels. This time consuming, labor-intensive process provides the highest quality fruit for the harvest. Each vineyard lot is treated as an individual and great care is taken to ferment the small lots accordingly. The average fermentation lot size is between three and four tons each. The fruit is then crushed and “cold soaked” for forty-eight hours prior to fermentation. Slowly, the must is warmed and fermentation begins. Every few hours the must is “pushed down” by hand to mix in the grapes with the new wine. Subsequent to fermentation, the wine is racked into French oak barrels to age for fourteen months, softening the tannins and fusing the rich fruit flavors with the smoky vanilla of the oak barrels. After resting in the bottle for six months, the Edizione Pennino Zinfandel is released on October 11, Columbus Day.