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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 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.