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Heritage Zinfandel 2012
2012 vintage Winemaker, Chris Leamy of Terra d'Oro Winery
The Heritage Vineyard Zinfandel is produced by the Zinfandel Advocates Producers (ZAP), a not-for-profit, membership based, organization with the mission to advance the public knowledge of and appreciation for American Zinfandel and its unique place in our culture and history.
ZAP began producing wine from this historical vineyard in 1997. The first Heritage Vineyard Zinfandel was harvested by ZAP winery producer Nils Venge of Saddleback Cellars and Mary Buckles Pisor of PlumpJack Winery in Oakville. The 1998 vintage by Robert Biale of Robert Biale Vineyards in Napa, the 1999 vintage was by Matthew Cline of Cline Cellars. The 2000 vintage is by Rod Berglund of Joseph Swan Vineyards, 2001 vintage is produced by Joel Peterson of Ravenswood, 2002 vintage by Ehren Jordon of Turley Wine Cellars, vintage 2003 by Paul Draper of Ridge Vineyards, 2004 by Kent Rosenblum of Rosenblum Cellars, 2005 by Bill Knuttel of Dry Creek Vineyard and Ottimino, 2006 by Dr. J. Bernard Seps of Storybook Mountain Vineyards. 2007 by Joel Peterson of Ravenswood and 2008 produced by Tom Mackey of St. Francis Winery. 2009 by Ted Seghesio of Seghesio Family Vineyards. 2010 by Diane Wilson of Wilson Family Winery. 2011 by Scott Harvey of Scott Harvey Wines. 2012 by Chris Leamy of Terra d'Oro Winery.
Responsible for the vast majority of American wine production, if California were a country, it would be the world’s fourth largest wine-producing nation. The state’s diverse terrain and microclimates allow for an incredible range of wine styles, and unlike tradition-bound Europe, experimentation is more than welcome here. Wineries range from tiny, family-owned boutiques to massive corporations, and price and production are equally varied. Plenty of inexpensive bulk wine is made in the Central Valley area, while Napa Valley is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious and expensive “cult” wines.
Each American Viticultural Area (AVA) and sub-AVA of has its own distinct personality, allowing California to produce wine of every fashion: from bone dry to unctuously sweet, still to sparkling, light and fresh to rich and full-bodied. In the Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc dominate vineyard acreage. Sonoma County is best known for Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. The Central Coast has carved out a niche with Rhône Blends blends based on Grenache and Syrah, while Mendocino has found success with cool climate varieties such as Pinot noir, Riesling and Gewürztraminer. With all the diversity that California has to offer, any wine lover will find something to get excited about here.
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.