Established: 1885 Acres: 12 Irrigation: None Root Stock: Saint George Soil Type: Tuscan red clay loam Farming: See https://buckzin.com/farming/
Blend: There are at least 30 grape varieties planted promiscuously throughout the 12 acres. Zinfandel makes up the greatest portion (≈60%) with Grenache (≈15%) second. The teinturiers, Alicante Bouschet, Grand Noir, and to a much lesser extent, Lenoir and Petite Bouschet make up about 10% of the vineyard. And, there is a significant amount of Carignane, Mourvèdre, Syrah, and Petite Sirah too. Using DNA we have documented three very rare varieties that otherwise only exist in the French Alps; Mollard, Persan, and Etraire de la Dui. There are a small, but important amount of white grapes; Chardonnay, French Colombard, Chasselas, Muscat of Alexandria and Clairette Blanche. To a lesser extent we find Aramon, Catawba, Peloursin, Charbono, Black Muscat and Tannat throughout. Also rumored, but not confirmed, there may be Merlot, Tempranillo, and Trousseau. Finally, there is a significant amount of the “unknown spotted grape” named for the fact that it has no DNA marker and the grapes have spots.
The following wines are produced from the Ancient Block:
Bucklin – Old Hill Ranch – Ancient Field Blend
Blend: All 35 varieties are harvested and fermented together.
Winemaking: Fermented in 3 or 4-ton open-top stainless-steel tanks. Punched down twice daily and pressed at about 10 days. After pressing the wine is aged in French oak barrels, approximately 25% new, for 18 months.
Release: Fall Release, two years after harvest.
Production 400 – 700 cases
Alcohol yields are typically 15.0 – 15.5%
Bucklin – Old Hill Ranch – Ancient Grenache
Blend: A select harvest of grapes from the Ancient vines; Grenache (≈85%) and Syrah, Mourvèdre, Carignane and Alicante Bouschet (≈15%) fermented together in small totes. Aged in French Oak Puncheons for 10 months and released the following spring, 18 months after harvest. Release: Spring Price: $50 Production 40 – 80 cases Alcohol yields are typically 14.8% – 15.2%
Bucklin - Old Hill Ranch - Mixed Blacks
Blend: Everything but the Zinfandel. If the Ancient Field Blend is comprised of 30 grape varieties, then the Mixed Blacks is comprised of 29 varieties. Every few years, when yields allow, we make this wine.
Name: “Mixed Blacks” refers to the color of the grape and the name is a euphemism old timers used to describe all the grapes in a field- blend that are not Zinfandel.
The wine is typically darker and bolder than the Ancient Field Blend, although without the charms (fruit) of Zinfandel.
Vintages: 2001, 2009, 2012, 2017, 2019
Other Producers from the Ancient Block
Bedrock – Old Hill Ranch – Heritage (2018 to current)
Once and Future – Old Hill Ranch (2018 to current)
Carlisle – Old Hill Ranch – Red Wine (2020 to current)
Ravenswood – Old Hill Ranch – Zinfandel (1983 – 2019)
Topolos Russian River Winery – Old Hill Ranch – Zinfandel (1979 – 1982)
Roudon Smith Vineyards – Old Hill Ranch - Zinfandel (1978 – 1979)
Mount Eden Vineyards – Old Hill Ranch “Late Harvest” (1976)
Davis Bynum – Old Hill Ranch - Zinfandel (1975 – 1977)
Bambino Blocks The younger vines, separated into 4 small blocks that are all contiguous to the ancient block.
Established: 1999 Acres: 8 Irrigation: 1/3 is dry-farmed. Depending on the vintage, the remaining blocks are irrigated 2 – 4 times per year at 5 gallons per plant per irrigation. Approximately 7 gallons of irrigation per bottle of wine. Root Stock: Saint George Soil Type: Varies from well drained shallow red loam to boot sucking clay. Farming: See https://buckzin.com/farming/ Blend: 70% Zinfandel 18% Petite Sirah 7% Alicante Bouschet and 5% Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah and Carignane.
Bucklin – Old Hill Ranch – Bambino (2007 to present)
Blend: 70% Zinfandel 18% Petite Sirah 7% Alicante Bouschet. Winemaking: Even though the Bambino Blocks are not a true field blend we harvest and coferment the varieties together. Aged in neutral (old) French oak barrels for 10 months. Release: Fall Release, two years after harvest. Price: $26 Production 600 – 1000 cases Alcohol yields are typically 14.5 – 15.0%
Bucklin – Old Hill Ranch – Rosé of Old Hill (2009 to present)
Blend: Approximately 50% Zinfandel, 25% Grenache, 15% Mourvèdre, 5% Syrah, 5% Carignane. Winemaking: Harvested and cold cofermented in Stainless Steel Aged sur lees in neutral French Oak barrels for 5 months. Release: Spring following harvest. Price $24 Production 150 – 200 cases Alcohol yields; less than 14%.