When Italians and other Europeans farmers immigrated to northern California in the mid to late 1800s, vineyard sites were not selected or planted to express a sense of place. Rather varietal selections, regardless of suitability were co-mingled in the vineyard like a selection of ingredients, or a spice cabinet. A certain percentage of “this”, and different percentages of “that” were all harvested at the same time regardless of ripeness, then co-fermented to produce each family’s unique “house” red.
One of Sonoma’s oldest and most historic vineyards, Old Hill Ranch was founded in 1851 by pioneer William McPherson Hill. The vineyard was purchased by Otto and Anne Teller in 1981 and today, Anne’s children, the four Bucklin siblings, produce field-blended wines from the bush vines on the family ranch.
“Ancient Field Blend” comes from the original bush vines that were planted on Old Hill Ranch in the 1880’s. Approximately 65% Zinfandel with the remaining varieties co harvested and fermented together. Includes Grenache, Alicante Bouschet, Petite Sirah, Grand Noir, Syrah, Carignan, and Mourvedre to name a few. 12 Acres, 30 grape varieties, one wine. 15.26% alcohol.
2018 has not been rated yet, but the 2017 vintage was rated 94 points by Wine Spectator – “A dynamic blend that’s jammed with personality, offering notes of briary berry thicket, savory anise, bitter chocolate and pepper flavors that build toward zesty tannins. Zinfandel, Grenache, Alicante Bouschet, Petite Sirah, Mourvèdre, Grand Noir, Syrah and Carignan. 356 cases. Drink now through 2030.’ – 94 points, Wine Spectator —T.F.