San Lorenzo

California, california USA

The San Lorenzo vineyard was purchased by Pete Seghesio’s grandfather in 1896 with ten gold coins he had earned working as a cook for the gold mines. Old deeds suggest that the vineyard was planted before 1892. This ‘Pearl’ of a vineyard is adjacent to Pete’s home, which has a small cellar underneath.

The vineyard, originally 2.8 hectares in size, has been added to over the years and today comprises 16 hectares. It is one of the most iconic vineyards in California, located alongside the Russian River, spanning both the Russian River Valley and Alexander Valley appellations. The south-facing slopes, rocky terraces and foggy mornings make it ideal for viticulture, allowing the grapes to ripen slowly.

The vines that provide fruit for ‘The Pearl’ are from the original planting and are well over 100 years old. The grapes are hand harvested at night and double sorted before entering the winery. They are cold soaked for five days at 13°C to extract aroma. Fermentation takes place in open-top tanks with indigenous yeasts. The blend is a result of the century-old field blend made up of two thirds Zinfandel, some Petite Sirah and Carignan, and tiny amounts of Grand Noir, Alicante, Négrette and Mataro. The Zinfandel is harvested earlier and fermented separately while the other grapes, which need more time to reach physiological ripeness, are fermented together. The wine is then aged in 100% French oak barrels, 30% new, for 16 months. The nose promises layered complexity with black plums, raspberries and cigar box. The palate is bountiful with fine-textured tannins balanced by good acidity. The finish confirms what you may have already surmised – this is a fine wine and will drink well for decades.


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