KC Labs Zinfandel Mendocino County 2020
How do you get a zin in the bottle with an alcohol level of 12 percent? Zin clusters don't ripen evenly, so growers typically leave the grapes on the vine longer which leads to a higher sugar content which translates to a higher alcohol content. Most Zins flirt with levels at 15 percent and above. At that level, wines become viscous and syrupy. Sam Baron, the winemaker at KC Labs, the experimental arm of Kivelstadt Cellars, prefers to buck tradition. He harvests his fruit early, green grapes and all, then employs carbonic fermentation which is simply the addition of a layer of CO2 over the grapes. The result is a lighter, fresher wine, lower in tannins than is typical, but with a mouth-watering acidity. Think bright cranberry or raspberry rather than blackberry and pepper. Chill it down, light up the grill and embrace Zinfandel redefined.