Travel back in time to when Zinfandel was first planted in California. It was during the Gold Rush Era, and the heart of the Era laid amongst the foothills of the Sierras. This is where the Deaver Vineyard was planted over 130 years ago in 1881.
Not long ago I had a chance to taste through Terra d’Oro’s line up of Italian-inspired varietals: Pinot Grigio, Sangiovese, Barbera, and of course Zinfandel. Without a doubt, the standout is their Deaver Vineyard Zinfandel. With its simultaneous delicacy and rusticity, a sip of this Zin will have you reveling in the mysteriousness of what has become California’s heritage grape.
Zinfandel was one of the first grapes planted in California when folks migrated to California during the Gold Rush era. And while there’s no real legal definition for the term “old vine,” vintners take great pride when their vineyard source can boast true roots to those first plantings. Pedroncelli’s estate vineyards have been planted to Zinfandel since 1904. Today the vineyard blocks contain a second generation vineyard cloned from the original “Mother” vines, which were replanted in the 1980s. The Pedroncelli ‘Mother Clone Zinfandel’ is so named because a small portion of fruit from the remaining over 100-plus-year-old vines is harvested and blended into this exquisite old-soul of a wine.
The story of Mark Edward Wines is the story of a man who took what he knew — entrepreneurial business — and combined it with what he loved — wine. In the summer 2014 Mark Flowers took the plunge and fully immersed himself in the wine industry, taking on an internship under the tutelage under the collective winemakers at Sheldon, Two Shepherds and Krutz Family Cellars. It wasn’t long after that that Mark began making his own wines, connecting with prestigious vineyards and sourcing some of the best fruit Sonoma has to offer. And I can tell you right now, the moral of this wine story: Good things come in small batches…
Sunce Winery is a family-run business through and through. Husband and wife team Frane and Janae Franicevic have been working together for 26 vintages. With his winemaking abilities, her marketing skills, and their dual passion for turning great grapes into great wine, Sunce Winery receives consistent accolades year after year. While three out of four acres in their estate vineyard (called Zora after one of their three daughters) is planted to Pinot Noir, the family sources 39 different varietals from throughout California to create a full portfolio of wine offerings. In 2013 the family turned to the Russian River Valley — home to some of the oldest and boldest Zinfandel grapes. (more…)
If you haven’t been able to tell by now, I’m a big fan of Grgich Hills wine. I’m particularly partial to their Cabernets, which I find put the intimidating “Napa Cab” stereotypes to rest. But their Zinfandels come in at a close second. Last year’s vintage had me taken aback, as the Zinfandel’s disparate flavors and textures seemed to, in the end, create a seamless journey. This year, those flavors and textures seem to come together creating a rounder, fuller-figured wine, a more cyclical story — and quite an enjoyable drinking experience.