Random Musings

The 2019 Limerick Lane Zins with Winemaker Chris Pittenger

Limerick Lane 1910 Block

This past Saturday as the storm was slowly forming over Northern California I had the opportunity to taste through the 2019 Limerick Lane Zinfandel lineup with winemaker Chris Pittenger.

Limerick Lane Winery is in the Russian River Valley just south of the town of Healdsburg. The Del Fava family planted the oldest currently producing vineyard at Limerick Lane in 1910, a field blend consisting mostly of Zinfandel. Jake Bilbro purchased Limerick Lane Vineyard a little over a decade ago.

Chris and I walked the vineyard as the rain started to come down a little harder. The heart and soul of Limerick Lane is the 1910 block which is directly behind the tasting room and extends out to the river that runs through the property. Besides Zinfandel the block contains other mixed black varieties like Peloursin, Negrette, Alicante Bouchet, Syrah, and Petite Sirah. Chris and Jake are firm believers in dry farming and strive to maintain the vineyard in the way in which it was planted over 100 years ago.

Chris Pittenger took over winemaking duties at Limerick Lane roughly three years ago. He also owns Gros Ventre Cellars which you can find at a co-op tasting room in Downtown Santa Rosa. Gros Ventre produces a number of wines but is perhaps best know for their Pinots. I mention this because the 2019 Zins from Limerick Lane really feel like they are made by a winemaker who has a deft touch with the Pinot Noir grape. The wines are fresh and crisp with bright aromatics and tremendous acidity. For the most part they have a very appealing red fruit profile and an elegance that is almost surreal.

Chris and I tried eight 2019 wines: The Russian River Valley Appellation, Carlisle, Banfield, Marquis, Squatter’s Hill, 1910, Rocky Knoll and Estate Cuvee. For me the standouts were the Banfield, Marquis and 1910. In the past I hesitated to buy wines from Limerick Lane that were not entirely estate fruit but that changed today. I have to have the Banfield and Marquis in my cellar.

Going forward Limerick Lane got access to Monte Rosso Vineyard fruit with the 2020 vintage and Maffei Vineyard fruit with the 2021 vintage. The Monte Rosso will certainly be bottled as a Vineyard Designate and time will tell if Maffei will be bottled as a stand alone or included in the appellation wine.

I’ve been following the wines from Limerick Lane since the mid 1990’s. Between Jake and Chris the vineyard literally could not be in better hands. It is incredibly easy to support a winery like Limerick Lane and I strongly recommend their mailing list and the current 2019 releases.

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