Maître de Chai Zinfandel 2018, Stampede Vineyard, Clements Hills, California

Maître de Chai translates to cellar master, or the person responsible for the development and aging of wine. By extension, the humble cellar master is the person responsible for the management of the winery. Established in 2012, Maître de Chai is the personal project of Marty Winters and Alex Pitts. Together they look to make wines of high quality in a way that best showcases the sense of place where the grapes are grown and the personality of the vineyard. From the ground to the bottle, the character of the wine is the focus of their endeavor. They source grapes from unique and distinct single vineyards that are impeccably farmed in California. Planted in the 1940s, the Stampede Vineyard is an own-rooted Zinfandel planting in the toe-hills of the Sierra Nevada mountains within Lodi’s Clements Hills AVA. With soils composed of decomposed granite, the Stampede Vineyard lies on a parcel that overlooks an old riverbed on one side, and the Clements Stampede rodeo grounds on the other. The model for the wine produced from this vineyard is an ode to the style of Paul Draper of Ridge Vineyards – one of the most influential wineries in California’s history. The balance and finesse Paul has been known to employ on the field blends and old vine plantings for Ridge throughout the years has been the leading inspiration for this wine.