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Dashe Big River Vineyard Zinfandel 2003

Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California
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    Winemaker Notes

    Dashe doesn't know why the Zinfandel vines at the Big River Ranch — just a few miles southeast of the town of Healdsburg — produce such inky-black, concentrated wines, but they certainly recognized from the start that this vineyard was sure to produce one of their very best Zinfandels.

    These head-trained vines on the rocky, red, steep slopes consistently produce a huge wine: thick, flavorful, and seductively rich. By combining this Zinfandel with a small amount of Petite Sirah from vines on the same ranch, Dashe was able to create a small amount of a wine that they feel is one of their most stylish and balanced, as well as mouth-filling, creations.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Dashe

    Dashe Cellars

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    Dashe Cellars, Sonoma County, California
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    In 1996, the husband and wife winemaking team of Michael and Anne Dashe founded Dashe Cellars. Focused on crafting exceptional single-vineyard wines, Dashe Cellars blends the two winemaker’s combined 40-plus years of experience at such noted wineries as Château Lafite-Rothschild, Château La Dominique, Ridge Vineyards, Cloudy Bay, Far Niente, Chappellet, and Schramsberg Wine Cellars. Drawing on this wealth of experience, the Dashes create vineyard-focused wines that capture the complexity and character of top vineyards throughout Sonoma County and beyond.

    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 nearly every wine lover. Physically twice as large as Napa, the region only produces about half the amount of wine, but what it lacks in quantity it makes up for in both 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 and Sonoma Valleys, Carneros, and Fort Ross-Seaview. Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, and Syrah have also found a firm footing here.

    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.

    CHMDSH4301003_2003 Item# 91307