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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 and tourism, the Napa Valley is the AVA that brought worldwide recognition to California winemaking. 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 many smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two are St.-Helena and the valley's newest 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 District, and Mt. Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.

Zinfandel

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Unapologetically powerful, heady, and fruit-forward, Zinfandel is often thought of as a truly Californian grape, though in fact it is anything but. This variety has followed an intriguing trajectory to reach its adoptive home, beginning, surprisingly, in Croatia. Originally known as Tribidrag, it first made its way to southern Italy where it became known as Primitivo. From there it eventually migrated to what is now unarguably its most successful outpost, in California, and has thrived throughout the state. Of course, this is also the grape of White Zinfandel, a sweet pink wine that enjoyed great popularity in the 1980s and 90s. Though White Zin still has a significant following, today the variety is increasingly associated with the red version.

In the Glass

Zinfandel commonly features a bold, plush texture and notes of dark plum, blackberry, sweet spice, black pepper, dark chocolate, leather, and licorice, and can often be described as “jammy” and a little bit sweet. Very ripe examples may express a hint of dried fruit like raisin, fig, or prune. Despite its significant alcohol and weight, Zinfandel has very smooth, gentle tannins.

Perfect Pairings

Zinfandel is a powerfully flavored wine, mingling happily with bold food like brisket, lamb shanks, pork ribs, or anything barbecued. If care is taken with regards to alcohol levels, Zinfandel’s hint of sweetness can work well with milder Indian-spiced dishes like lamb curry.

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 vines tend to produce wine that is concentrated, complex, and elegant.

CLFIMPROV_2009 Item# 116947