Big Break Zinfandel is always a robust wine, shows crisp black cherries, exotic spice, as well as a toasted oak characteristic. Big Break Zinfandel can be enjoyed young, but will also benefit from 5 to 7 years of cellaring.
Big Break Vineyard was named after a 1928 break in the levee that flooded the local farmland. This area typically produces pervasive and distinctive lots of Zinfandel. The combination of the extremely sandy, well-drained 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. This block of land, situated between the San Joaquin River and a Eucalyptus grove, enhances the wine by adding 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 Zinfandel grapes.
Grapes from the Big Break Vineyard were harvested at ideal ripeness and treated gently in the cellar to emphasize the explosive fruit characteristic of the block. The fruit was almost entirely destemmed and lightly crushed, leaving a large proportion of whole berries remaining in the must. Fermentation occurred at moderate temperatures in stainless steel tanks using native yeast. After 10 days of gentle pump-overs, we drained and pressed the wine. Big Break Zinfandel was minimally handled and aged for 12 months in new, medium-dark toasted French oak before bottling — approximately 40% new.