The 2000 Diamond Series Zinfandel has all of the personality and complexity that one would expect from a California Zinfandel. The aromas are dominated by inviting ripe, red currants with exotic spice overtones. The palate is soft, concentrated, and filled with luscious black currants. While the tannins are moderate, the supple texture upholds the core fruit and provides a lengthy finish to the wine. For a deep, intense color and mid-palate structure, we have blended in a small percentage of Petite Sirah. This wine partners well with spicy pasta dishes, like rigatoni pasta with arrabbiata sauce or with strong cheeses, such as Reblochon or Muenster. The 2000 Diamond Series Red Label Zinfandel can be enjoyed now and will cellar nicely over the next five years.
Francis Ford Coppola Winery
Francis Ford Coppola Winery, re-opened in July 2010, is the latest venture from Francis Ford Coppola, whose passion for wine, food and adventure is nowhere more evident than in this new production – a winery resort located in the heart of Alexander Valley, California. Among the many attractions at the property, Francis Ford Coppola Winery features a wine tasting bar, two restaurants, swimming pools, a movie gallery, a performing arts pavilion and a park area with game tables and bocce courts.
Francis puts it best, saying the winery is meant to be "a wine wonderland, a park of pleasure where people of all ages can enjoy all the best things in life – food, wine, music, dancing, games, swimming and performances of all types. A place to celebrate the love of life."
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It's hard not to think of Napa Valley when thinking of California wines. The region is, after all, the one that brought world recognition to California wine making. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux Blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Within the Napa Valley lie smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two is St.-Helena and finally, just granted an AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap and Mount Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.
It's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country unto itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.