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Monte Rio Cellars 'Royal T' Zinfandel, Lodi, California 2021

  • $35.00
ZINFANDEL and BLEND
LIGHT & CRUNCHY
ORGANIC FARMING
UNDER $25
LODI and CALIFORNIA
USA
  • Winemaker: Patrick Cappiello
  • Variety: 95% Zinfandel 5% Flame Tokays, Mission, Black Prince, Muscat & Carignane
  • Vineyards: Royal T planted in 1889
  • Winemaking: Semi carbonic maceration of 100% whole cluster fruit for 12 days in stainless steel. Clustered were then pressed and finished dry in tank. When fermentation was finished the wines were transferred to 9 year old French oak barrels. Natural yeast fermentation.
  • Aging: Bottled after 10 months in old wood barrels
  • ABV: 13%
  • Production: 150 cases
Check out our interview with Winemaker Patrick Cappiello!
From our October 2023 Club notes:

Monte Rio Cellars Royal T  Zinfandel, Lodi, CA 2021

Patrick Capiello is the classic Sommelier-turned-Winemaker. After a 30 year career in east coast restaurants (leading cellars such as the TriBeCa Grill, Veritas, and Pearl & Ash), he changed his focus to the vineyards. His winemaking career started in 2018, under the watchful eye of the modern Californian legend Pax Mahle. Patrick and Pax began collaborating on Monte Rio Cellars as a way to bring back the old school cool of California wine, focusing on heritage and classic California varieties around the Lodi area. In his fifth vintage, Patrick is now flying solo, creating low-intervention, minimalist wines without a lick of new oak barrels or super modern winemaking.

'The Royal T' is  one of the oldest Zinfandel vineyards in the world, planted in 1889. The vineyard also contains 5% of mixed heritage varieties, including Mission, Flames Tokay, Black Prince and Carignane (yeah, those are some wild grapes!). It undergoes a semi-carbonic maceration of 100% whole cluster fruit for 12 days in stainless steel, creating a lighter body than your 'classic Cali Zin'. The clusters were then pressed and fermented to total dryness in steel tank. When fermentation was finished, the wines were transferred to 9 year old French oak barrels, which were completely neutral in character, for 10 months. 

Patrick's goal is to highlight the fruit, and bring out a soft, approachable iteration of the Zinfandel that is often overlooked in the California wine scene. The result is a crunchy, fresh Zinfandel with a bit of kick! This style harkens back to the Cali Zins of the 60s and 70s, which we now rarely find, but have aged gorgeously! The Royal T is medium bodied with notes of bright raspberries, freshly picked blackberries, fennel blossom and a damp cedarwood. Pair this alongside classically western flavors, like roast chicken, sausage and kale soup, or Texas style barbecue.  —Simi Grewal