From the same vineyard as the Saint Georges Pinot Noir (Besson’s Home Ranch), the Zinfandel vines were apparently planted by an Italian bootlegger in 1922. Rooted in granite and sandy loams, Besson’s ungrafted Zinfandel benefits from morning and afternoon sun, while the unusually fresh marine-moderated night-time temperatures permit full expression and flavour development without requiring exacerbated degrees of alcohol. The yields from these old, well-established, own-rooted vines are meagre, averaging just one tonne per acre. To showcase the grape’s fresher, nuanced, and silkier side, the Birichino boys pick their Zin early, usually between 13 and 13.5% potential alcohol. At the same time, the low-impact winemaking is geared towards balancing the fresh acidity and juicy fruit offered by this unique Santa Cruz vineyard. In 2020, full maturity and equilibrium in the vineyard were reached at 14.5%. So, while it may not be super-typical of the Birichino style, it still remains a mile away from the brawny, hulk-like examples of brand Zinfandel.