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DeLoach Saitone Zinfandel 2001
"Italian in style, this smells like a Barolo, then breaks out into a California dream that may make you heartsick for the Sonoma coastline. Like several of its siblings from De Loach, this cool zin has captured the Russian River Valley in a bottle. It's coastal scrub and moss, low-bush blueberry with tannins carved out of stone. The black spice, anise and dried fig complexities that come up with air give a Porty edge, but the wine remains completely frresh, lifiting all those flavors into a zesty, zinny, purely delicious finish. This is what California does best. Grab it if you can; enough people understand to make this kind of site-expressive zin hard to get, but evidently not enough to drive up the price."
-Wines & Spirits Top 100 Wines of 2003
Food Pairings: Pork Tenderloin with Raspberry Reduction Sauce, Tomato & Black Olive Risotto and Pizza with Pepperoni, Sausage and Mushrooms.
DeLoach Vineyards has been a pioneering producer of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Zinfandel in Sonoma’s Russian River Valley since 1975. DeLoach seeks to produce exceptional wines that spotlight the singular personality of the Russian River Valley, with its rare and bountiful convergence of the sea, the soil and the stars. The Boisset family of Burgundy has stewarded winegrowing and winemaking at DeLoach since 2003, bringing the techniques and approaches of Burgundy to winemaking in the Russian River Valley, which they believed to be California’s most expressive terroir for cultivating Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Under Boisset, DeLoach has grown its small-lot vineyard designate wine program, become a certified organic and Biodynamic estate vineyard, and implemented traditional Burgundian winemaking techniques such as open-top wood fermentors, native yeast fermentations, and hand punch-downs. Wine & Spirits magazine has named DeLoach Vineyards a Top 100 Winery twelve times.
A standout region for its decidedly Californian take on Burgundian varieties, the Russian River Valley is named for the eponymous river that flows through it. While there are warm pockets of the AVA, it is mostly a cool-climate growing region thanks to breezes and fog from the nearby Pacific Ocean.
Chardonnay and Pinot Noir reign supreme in Russian River, with the best examples demonstrating a unique combination of richness and restraint. The cool weather makes Russian River an ideal AVA for sparkling wine production, utilizing the aforementioned varieties. Zinfandel also performs exceptionally well here. Within the Russian River Valley lie the smaller appellations of Chalk Hill and Green Valley. The former, farther from the ocean, is relatively warm, with a focus on red and white Bordeaux varieties. The latter is the coolest, foggiest parcel of the Russian River Valley and is responsible for outstanding Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
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 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.
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.
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.