For many of us, Labor Day Weekend marks the end of summer. Why bid adieu so early? I would like to assert that summer is in fact in effect for yet another 3 weeks! Grape harvest is in full swing in California, I’ve been glued to my Instagram account following the dramatic journey from vineyard to winery to juice. Outside I’ve noticed early mornings are nippier, the sultry Naked Ladies lilies that erupt in August are withering dry, and trees are dropping leaves in greater numbers.The transition from summer to fall shouts out for Zinfandel! Therefore, I present to you an exciting new project spearheaded by Mady Peterson and executed by her husband Joel and his son Morgan Twain-Peterson, the 2011 Papa’s All Blacks. 


Papa’s All-Blacks was named to honor the tradition of the early “field blends” of the late 1880’s and early 1900’s. Back then grape growers planted a mix of grape varieties and co-fermented them. The grape varieties included mostly black-skinned grapes, notably Zinfandel, with a smidgeon of white grapes. These “field blends” that survived are now our greatest old-vine vineyards. Many growers who are dedicated to preserving and promoting these vineyards have also taken to reproduce them with original cuttings. Joel Peterson, founder of Ravenswood, has championed these vineyards for decades. His son Morgan, no stranger to TWH with his delectable Bedrock Wine Co. and Lacuna wines, is such an advocate of these precious old vineyards, he formed the non-profit Historic Vineyard Society. Together, they have created a wine that looks to these field blends as benchmarks. The 2011 Papa’s All-Blacks is approximately 60% Zinfandel with Petite Sirah, Alicante Bouchet and Carignane in the balance sourced from old-vine vineyards all located in Northern California. The grapes were fermented in small open-top fermenters using native yeast and then aged in 25% new French oak barrels. This is a wonderfully supple, rounded red that imparts the zesty-ness of Zinfandel and is augmented with added depth by the other varietals. The fruit is a harmonious blend of plum and brambly fruit and the aromas sing out with berry notes and a floral flare. You could tuck this away for a bit, but I think the temptation to drink up the 2011 Papa’s All-Blacks right now is way too strong! 


The long weekend couldn’t have come at a better time now that school has started and schedules have been re-shuffled; I am in need of some down time. What better a way than a day spent at the beach followed by dinner with la familia under the Redwoods drinking a robust red like the 2011 Papa’s All-Blacks?

Good times! Speaking of good times … made it to The Mayflower in San Rafael’s lovely West End district to catch our very own Pete Z. shred it up with his band, Over Time, to kick off his 3 week long BirthdayFest. The man sure knows how to celebrate! Cheers to you! —Anya Balistreri