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Bear Flag Zinfandel 2016

Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
  • WE92
  • WS91
750ML / 14.8% ABV
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  • TP93
  • WS92
  • WW92
  • WE91
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750ML / 14.8% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Critical Acclaim

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WE 92
Wine Enthusiast
Flavors of crayon wax, vanilla bean and dark cherry appear on the palate along a continuum of tight, firm tannins. This is a thick, powerful wine that is given extra lift by a fresh citrus tug on the midpalate, providing a breath of refreshment.
WS 91
Wine Spectator
Blended of 89% Zinfandel, 7% Petite Sirah and 4% Teroldego and aged in French and American oak, the medium to deep garnet-purple colored 2016 Zinfandel bursts from the glass with baked raspberries, redcurrant jelly and Black Forest cake notes with hints of tree bark, cracked pepper and Indian spices plus a waft of potpourri. Full-bodied, rich, velvety and wonderfully spicy in the mouth, it gives up loads of earthy layers on the long finish.
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Bear Flag

Bear Flag

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Bear Flag, California
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Having now worked more than 20 vintages in the vineyards of California, Aaron Piotter is excited by his next adventure as winemaker for Bear Flag. A deeply personal project, Bear Flag allows Aaron to represent Sonoma, his hometown, with perhaps the its best-known variety. He understands the dynamic growing region and what it takes to craft a truly authentic California Zinfandel.

“California’s remarkable, persistent heat and cooler nights push Zinfandel into the ripe, jammy berry spectrum. This region is known for making amazing Zinfandel, and some of the top, if not the best, wineries who specialize in this variety are in Sonoma County,” he says.

Aaron and his wife love going on adventures with their two children, who were both born in Sonoma, and are excited for their local roots to continue spreading. With his family still residing in Sonoma, they enjoy spending time with his parents, eating meals in their backyard under giant cork oak and fig trees and taking hikes in the Eastern hills of Sonoma - the same hillsides that were deemed ideal for Zinfandel 160 years ago.

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Sonoma County

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Home to a diverse array of smaller AVAs with varied microclimates and soil types, Sonoma County has something for every wine lover. Physically twice as large as Napa Valley, the region only produces about half the amount of wine but boasts both tremendous quality and variety. With its laid-back atmosphere and down-to-earth attitude, the wineries of Sonoma are appreciated by wine tourists for their friendliness and approachability. The entire county intends to become a 100% sustainable winegrowing region by 2019.

Grape varieties are carefully selected to reflect the best attributes of their sites—Dry Creek Valley’s consistent sunshine is ideal for Zinfandel, while the warm Alexander Valley is responsible for rich, voluptuous Cabernet Sauvignon. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are important throughout the county, most notably in the cooler AVAs of Russian River, Sonoma Coast and Carneros. Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Syrah have also found a firm footing here.

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Unapologetically bold, spice-driven and jammy, Zinfandel is often thought of as California’s flagship grape. And it fact it owns this title by having the ability to adapt to the states’ many microclimates and landscapes, producing unique expressions of the grape throughout. Zinfandel thrives in California’s Central Coast, as well throughout Sonoma County, parts of Napa Valley, the Sierra Foothills, Lodi and Paso Robles.

Zinfandel was born in Croatia and later made its way to southern Italy where it became known as Primitivo. The astute imperial nursery of Vienna collected specimens of the vine and acted as the source of its journey to New England, carried by George Gibbs circa 1829. Eventually, making its way to California around the Gold Rush of 1849, Zinfandel found its new home, parading the true American spirit.

In the Glass

Zinfandel commonly expresses powerful notes of dark plum, blackberry, sweet spice, dark chocolate and licorice. Very ripe examples may express a hint of dried fruit like raisin, fig or prune. But Zinfandel grown in cooler, coastal zones often expresses red fruit, black pepper and fresh herbal characteristics of juniper and menthol.

Perfect Pairings

Zinfandel is a powerfully flavored wine, mingling happily with bold food like brisket, lamb shanks, pork ribs or anything barbecued. More delicate Zins work with pork, lamb curry and even Ceasar Salad or Salad Nicoise.

Sommelier Secret

Thanks to its popularity both for home winemaking and as communion wine, many Zinfandel vines were able to survive prohibition, leading to the abundance of "old vine" Zinfandels. These low-yielding, ancient vines tend to produce wine that is deeply concentrated, delicately perfumed and decidedly complex.

PBC9263138_2016 Item# 434610