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Gnarly Head Old Vine Zinfandel 2010

Zinfandel from California
  • TP88
Ships Tue, Oct 24
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3.9 11 Ratings
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3.9 11 Ratings

Winemaker Notes

Gnarly Head 2010 Old Vine Zinfandel is made from gnarled 35 to 80 year-old head trained vines. Fruit from these unruly branches is intense and powerful, and as some of the oldest in California, these brash old vines produce exceptional, full flavored grapes. The intrepid Old Vine Zinfandel has a gnarly core of rich, dark raspberry and black cherry flavors with layers of spice and chocolate balanced by complex French and American oak toast. Try pairing this wine with braised short ribs, chicken enchiladas, or dark chocolate.

Critical Acclaim

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TP 88
Tasting Panel

Ripe and sweet with wild spice and rich fruit; intense and a bit coarse - but a style that people like.

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Gnarly Head

Gnarly Head

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Gnarly Head, , California
Gnarly Head
My first impression, as the truck pulled up to the eighty year old Zinfandel vineyards, was, "Wow, those vines sure have some gnarly heads!" Thus began a fifteen year love affair with the Old Vine Zinfandel.

The older Zin vineyards in California were planted before the use of modern trellising techniques and were "head pruned", meaning the shoots that eventually produce the grapes grow directly out of the head of the trunk. The resulting vines look more like a bush than the normally well-manicured rows of neatly trained along posts and wires – and they do have "Gnarly Heads".

Bordeaux Blends

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington, and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and/or Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde river, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux can be bold and fruit-forward or restrained and earthy, while New World facsimiles tend to emulate the former style. In general, Bordeaux red blends can have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful, and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb, or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or virtually any other grape deemed worthy by the winemaker. In Australia, Shiraz is a common component.

WAL405200_2010 Item# 113627

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