The 2015 Papera Zinfandel has it all! At first nosing, aromas of boysenberry, blueberry, black cherry, and lavender seem to jump from the glass. With aeration and further study, notes of anise, chocolate mint, saddle leather, potpourri, and Tellicherry peppercorn emerge. The palate is focused with a refreshing spine of acidity that gives the wine length and vivacity. Flavors of plum and berries round out the framework while being supported by hints of star anise and dried citrus peel. Another outstanding wine from this stalwart, old vine site.
Papera is an old vine Zinfandel vineyard, located on the eastern side of the Laguna de Santa Rosa in the Russian River Valley appellation. Planted in 1934, the vines are head-trained and primarily dry farmed.
The 2015 vintage continues the hit parade of great quality vintages of the last four years. The season started under extreme drought conditions for the 4th consecutive season despite a wet early winter. January was very dry and warm and brought bud break earlier than expected by about 12 days compared to 2014. The rains returned in early February and dramatically slowed down the growth of the plants. May temperatures were some of the coldest on record and negatively impacted flowering and therefore fruit set. It was common for clusters to have millerandage, or a “hens and chicks” (big berry, little berry) phenotype, great for wine quality but severely limited yields. By the end of July the heat returned and, coupled with limited fog intrusion, the ripening process sped along quickly. In fact, harvest started on the last day of July…the earliest on record in the 36 vintages at Williams Selyem! Despite an auspicious start and a dramatic finish to the season, the 2015 wines may surpass some of the great recent vintages as they are bold and yet maintain their trueness to site. With superb color, structure and acidity, the wines have staying power, but with the wonderful texture and richness that are expressed today, who can resist them now?