It makes sense that Zinfandel has gained a reputation as California’s “heritage grape.” For many years, Zinfandel’s exact origins remained a mystery, or, as Jancis Robinson calls it, “a romantic thriller.” The red grape seemed to have made the trek and set fresh roots in the Golden State in conjunction with the forty-niners seeking their fortune in gold. Here, when the search for treasure proved fruitless, settlers turned to farming — and the Zinfandel grape thrived more than the Gold Rush ever could. Fields of vines flourished throughout the Sierra Foothills, and wine — namely jug wine — became a household staple and a new California industry.
With no known parentage and no knowledge of how the red wine grape arrived in the States in the first place — Zinfandel became California’s “wine child.”
I am always looking for wine education — in any form. And that is exactly what Corner 103 provides. Their modest location in downtown Sonoma (yes it’s on a Corner and yes the address is 103) offers guests the chance to taste through the winery’s complete portfolio learning everything from proper glassware to — yay! — food pairing. The experience is intimate, the winery will book no more than 10 guests at a time, which means the wine nerd in you will get all the one-on-one attention she’ll need. Hm…I guess it’s time for me to book my visit then…
“There isn’t always a need for speed in my life,” says Kevin Buckler, professional race car driver and owner and founder of Adobe Road Wines. Often when we hear about professional athletes starting a winery business, we assume that their involvement is fairly hands-off, providing the financial backing and maybe some creative influences. Not so with Buckler, who since opening Adobe Road in 2002 has insisted on having “uncompromising access and control” to every wine produced. As such, he, along with his team, stomp the vineyard grounds, taste test every barrel, and collectively decide when perfection has been met. Yes, a slow, steady, meticulous process that slows the racer down. The result is that Adobe Roads crafts quite hearty, structural wines that act as a steady journey, lasting the length of a meal and well into the night beyond.
I like prime numbers. A prime number is unbreakable — only divisible by itself and 1. Some may say they don’t play well with others; I say they’re strong enough to stand on their own. I find I have some kind of spiritual connection to prime numbers. We’re weird, we don’t fit into conventional puzzle pieces, a lot of people don’t “get” us, and even more people don’t even know what or who we are. We hide in plain sight and are the answer to “can you tell me which thing is not like the other?”
…I also find that meaningful things happen to me when I am a prime number age…
In 2011 — a prime year — the Russian River Valley experienced unconventional climatic conditions that, for all intents and purposes, shouldn’t have worked. But it did — not for everyone, but for some vintners. And when I tasted the Crux Winery 2011 Zinfandel the first time I visited the boys in their warehouse winery, this was the wine I felt a deep, undeniably emotional connection to.