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Clif Family Winery Gary's Improv Zinfandel 2009

Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
  • WE91
14.5% ABV
  • WE89
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14.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

This rich, fruit-forward wine offers intense aromas of ripe cherries and vanilla. Blackberry jam and mulled spice flavors linger on the palate. The densely layered and complex flavor profile and subtle oak influence integrate with the soft tannic structure, ending in a long and satisfying finish.

Grapes for our 2009 Gary's Improv Zinfandel were sourced from the Saviez Vineyard in Calistoga. This wine was aged in a blend of 30% new and 70% second fill American oak barrels for 16 months.

Critical Acclaim

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WE 91
Wine Enthusiast
A powerful Zinfandel, this is dry and balanced. It' classic Napa Valley, with ripe fruit and superb tannin structure. It floods the mouth with flavors of blackberry, black currant, cedar and licorice, with touches of spices ranging from pepper to cloves and cinnamon. Terrific with lamb shanks over creamy, baked polenta.
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Clif Family Winery

Clif Family Winery

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Clif Family Winery, Napa Valley, California
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You may know us as the people behind Clif Bar & Company. We are the makers of Clif Bar, LUNA and other nutritious, organic products. We have always had a passion for the outdoors and great food and wine. After a long day of hiking or cycling, we enjoy nothing better than relaxing over a meal with family and friends enjoyed over a great bottle of wine. After moving to the Napa Valley in 1997, this passion continued and we began making our own wine in 2004. Now with winemakers Bruce Regalia and Sarah Gott, we are committed to making high quality, affordable wines sourced from sustainable or organic vineyards whenever possible. Enjoy!

Napa Valley

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One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production as well as tourism, the Napa Valley was responsible for bringing worldwide recognition to California winemaking. In the 1960's, a few key wine families settled the area and hedged their bets on the valley's world-class winemaking potential—and they were right.

The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when producers scooped up vineyard lands and planted vines throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, and today Napa is home to hundreds of producers ranging from boutique to corporate. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. Napa whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that claim specific characteristics based on situation, slope and soil. Farthest south and coolest from the influence of the San Pablo Bay is Carneros, followed by Coombsville to its northeast and then Yountville, Oakville and Rutherford. Above those is the warm St. Helena and the valley's newest and hottest AVA, Calistoga. These areas follow the valley floor and are known generally for creating rich, dense, complex and smooth reds with good aging potential. The mountain sub appellations, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs, include Stags Leap District, Atlas Peak, Chiles Valley (farther east), Howell Mountain, Mt. Veeder, Spring Mountain District and Diamond Mountain District. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from a lot of time in the bottle to evolve and soften.

Zinfandel

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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 County, 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 specimen of the vine and acted as the source of its importation to New England by George Gibbs, probably in 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.

CLFIMPROV_2009 Item# 116947