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Flowers Talmage Beach Zinfandel 1999
Over 25 years ago, Flowers Vineyards and Winery pioneered the growing of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay on the rugged coastal ridges of the extreme Sonoma Coast. Joan and Walt Flowers had a simple goal, to make exceptional wine that captures the wild beauty of the land and the spirit of the Sonoma Coast. This idea continues to drive everything we do - farming responsibly, harvesting by hand, using 100% native fermentation, and making wine with minimal intervention. Our unwavering commitment to crafting distinctive wines that capture the spirit of the Sonoma Coast has been the bedrock of our success, and it will continue to drive us forward for years to come.
Perched on top of soaring coastal ridges that border the nearby Pacific Ocean, our estate vineyards, Camp Meeting Ridge and Sea View Ridge, rise to impressive elevations from 1,150 to 1,875 feet. Flowers resides in the Fort Ross-Seaview American Viticulture Area (AVA), which was established in 2012 and located on the extreme western edge of the Sonoma Coast Appellation. Defined by elevation, rugged terrain and proximity to the Pacific Ocean, vineyard plantings are limited to 920-1,800+ft above sea level and are only 2% of the total AVA acreage.
The Pacific Ocean is less than two miles from the vineyards, generating cooling sea breezes and coastal fog while the soaring elevations ensure abundant sunshine for a long, slow growing season. Together they create an ideal environment for elegant and nuanced Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
A vast appellation covering Sonoma County’s Pacific coastline, the Sonoma Coast AVA runs from the San Pablo Bay to the Mendocino County border. The region can actually be divided into two sections—the “true” Sonoma Coast, marked by high rainfall, marine soils, cool temperatures, and saline ocean breezes, from which one can actually see the ocean—and the warmer, drier vineyards further inland, creating a diversity of wine styles. Contained within the appellation is the much smaller and more focused Fort Ross-Seaview AVA.
Sonoma Coast is highly regarded for elegant Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and, increasingly, cool-climate Syrah, with high acidity, moderate alcohol, firm tannin, and fruit that is rarely overripe. One of the most favorable sites within the region is the Petaluma Gap, where a break in the coastal mountain range allows Pacific winds and fog to funnel through and cool the vineyards.
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.
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.
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.