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Cypher Winery ZinBitch Zinfandel 2013

Zinfandel from Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
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    Winemaker Notes

    On the nose, raspberry, cranberry, and rhubarb laced with nutmeg and exotic spice with hints of vanilla oak. Rich raspberry fruit with bright acidity dances with cranberry, rhubarb and exotic spice on the palate. The big sexy mouthfeel is accented with grippy tannins that weave through the surprising massive structure. Generous red and black fruit run long on the palate and trail into a dried herb and subtle vanilla oak finish. "Like getting spanked with a velvet glove."

    Critical Acclaim

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    Cypher Winery

    Cypher Winery

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    Cypher Winery, Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
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    After growing Four Vines to 140,000 cases, Christian Tietje and Susan Mahler longed for the old days of running and working a smaller winery. Susan was anxious to get out from behind my desk of number-crunching madness and re-claim her title of "Mother-Trucker." (Yes, she hauled grapes from their many vineyards at pre-dawn, death-o-clock in the morning runs during the months of harvest in our early years as a winery.) She longed to get back into the vineyards and enjoy the diversity of daily responsibilities required in running a smaller operation. While Christian loved developing and growing the Naked Chard and OVC projects, he wanted to dedicate his time towards pushing his creativity with high-end "extreme winemaking." So, here they are…. on the other side, loving life. This new winemaking journey as Cypher will continue to push the art of winemaking. Enjoy the ride.

    Paso Robles

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    Paso Robles has made a name for itself as a source of supple, powerful, fruit-driven wines wines. But with eleven smaller sub-AVAs, there is actually quite a bit of diversity to be found in this inland portion of California’s Central Coast.

    Just east over the Santa Lucia Mountains from the chilly Pacific Ocean, lie the coolest in the region: Adelaida, Templeton Gap and (Paso Robles) Willow Creek Districts, as well as York Mountain AVA and Santa Margarita Ranch. These all experience more ocean fog, wind and precipitation compared to the rest of the Paso sub-appellations. The San Miguel, (Paso Robles) Estrella, (Paso Robles) Geneso, (Paso Robles) Highlands, El Pomar and Creston Districts, along with San Juan Creek, are the hotter, more western appellations of the greater Paso Robles AVA.

    This is mostly red wine country, with Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel standing out as the star performers. Other popular varieties include Merlot, Petite Sirah, Petit Verdot, Syrah, Grenache and Rhône blends, both red and white. There is a fairly uniform tendency here towards wines that are unapologetically bold and opulently fruit-driven, albeit with a surprising amount of acidity thanks to the region’s chilly nighttime temperatures.

    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.

    EPC34572_2013 Item# 168235