2018 Bucklin, Anne’s Field Blend, Upper 5th Vineyard, Old Hill Ranch, Sonoma Valley.
The beautifully full bodied and deeply colored Bucklin Anne’s Upper 5th red is an unique co-ferment field blend of five grapes, mainly old vine Zinfandel 67%, plus Pelousin 19%, a French variety, thought to be from the Rhône-Alpes region, best known its crossing with Syrah resulting in Durif (aka Petite Sirah), Petite Sirah 8%, Carignane 3% and French Colombard, a white grape used in Cognac, that come from a 100 year old plot that is all inter-planted with a collection of fruit and nut trees and is farmed with great care and with holistic methods. Named after Will Bucklin’s mom, Anne Teller, who’s been farming grapes here in the Sonoma Valley for many decades, starting in the late 1970s and early 1980s when she and her husband Otto purchased the Old Hill Ranch property, one of California’s most historic vineyards that was the first site to be planted to Zinfandel in the 1880s. Richly textured and lush with supple tannins this 2018 Anne’s Zinfandel Field Blend displays a classic array of raspberry led fruits with juicy plum, currant and sweet cherry along with nice floral and spice accents, toasty oak cedar, vanilla, a touch of anise and lingering framboise. The Old Hill Ranch has supplied grapes to some fantastic wines over the years, maybe most notably the legendary Joel Peterson’s Ravenswood, which are iconic Zinfandels that are fabulously age worthy bottles.

Known mostly for the Ancient Zin blend and the Bambino young vine Zinfandel from the original Old Hill Vineyard, Bucklin does a small lot collection of bottlings that wine enthusiasts should really take note of, like this Anne’s Field Blend as well as the Rosé, the Mixed Whites, the Ancient Grenache, the Otto’s Grenache and Bucklin’s delicious Cabernet Sauvignon. All of these wines are available on their website and remain some of the best under the radar Sonoma Valley wines out there and I highly recommend checking them out. Will Bucklin’s Zin based wines are right up there with some of the greats of Zinfandel, so lovers of Turley, Biale, Ridge, Sandlands, Brown Estate and Bedrock, to name a few, will want to get these incredibly well made and outstanding value wines all from one of the state’s great heritage vineyards. The Bucklin wines are hand crafted using traditional methods with exceptional care and treatment of the grapes from the vines to the bottle with the wines seeing about a year in mostly used French oak barrels to allow the vineyard to show through in the wine. The 2018 vintage is really turning out to be a wildly compelling year with dense fruit concentration, but with sublime balance and mouth feel, a nice cut of natural acidity helps lift the flavors and gives an exciting pop. These recent Bucklin releases are tasty treats to enjoy over the next 5 to 10 years and go great with hearty foods, especially Summer BBQs, don’t miss them.
($32 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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