||Contra Costa County
Big Break Vineyard was named after a levee that collapsed over 80 years ago, flooding the local farmland. This area typically produces pervasive and distinctive lots of Zinfandel. The combination of the well-drained, sand-soils, dry-farmed century old, head-trained vines and the unique band of cooling air from the San Joaquin and Sacramento Rivers flavor Oakley’s best vineyard
sites. In fact, this block of land is situated between the San Joaquin River and a Eucalyptus grove. Both of these elements contribute to the wine, enhancing its taste by adding flavors such as, a minty characteristic. The combination of the aforementioned creates a synergy of elements that are ideal for both ripening, as well as, expressing the full character of the Zinfandel grapes.
Grapes from the Big Break Vineyard were harvested at high natural sugar levels and treated gently in the cellar to emphasize the explosive fruit characteristic of the block. The fruit was almost entirely de-stemmed and lightly crushed, with a large proportion of whole berries remaining in the must. Fermentation occurred at moderate temperatures in stainless steel tanks, using a selection of cultured yeasts. After 10 days of gentle “pump-overs” and near dryness, we drained and pressed the wine from its skins. Big Break Zinfandel was minimally handled and aged for 12 months in new, medium-dark toasted French oak before bottling — approximately 35% new.
Eucalyptus mint, firm structure and exotic spice are key elements in our 2011 Big Break Zinfandel. Always a robust wine, the 2011 shows crisp black cherries, exotic spice, as well as, a toasted oak characteristic. It holds a distinct dusty berry characteristic (reminiscent of picking wild black berries in the hot summer sun), what we affectionately describe as our “Oakley terroir”. Big Break Zinfandel can be enjoyed young but it should also benefit from 5 to 7 years of cellaring.
Enjoy this wine with big, spicy foods with plenty of zip, such as, Blacked Ahi.