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Joel Gott Zinfandel 2006
The 2006 vintage was a cool, long growing season, which allowed the Zinfandel clusters to ripen evenly, permitting ideal harvesting conditions. Joel Gott's Zinfandel vineyards are in the top growing regions in California: Napa, Sonoma, Lodi and Amador. This wine reflects the soil and environment of each distinct location. The vineyards in Lodi and Amador are old head-trained vines, which are dry-farmed and produce deeply concentrated fruit. This fruit combined with the depth of Napa Valley fruit and the spiciness from cool Sonoma County, creates a blend that truly shows California Zinfandel at its finest.
Dark ruby red color with supple, mouth filling tannins that offer lively acid structure and an elegant balance. Classic currant, plum and sweet oak aromas lead to ripe berries, cherry, and spicy flavors with a long, sweet and juicy finish.
"Even better is the brilliant 2006 Zinfandel, which boasts fabulous ripeness along with a full-bodied, tarry, briery nose revealing plenty of pepper, spice, black cherries, and berry fruit. This full-bodied, dense, bargain-priced Zin includes 5% Alicante Bouchet in the blend.
Joel Gott, the brilliant restaurateur (think of Taylor's Refresher in St. Helena as well as San Francisco ... America's best hamburgers and Ahi burgers), also produces wines under the capable guidance of his talented winemaker/wife, Sarah."
In addition to Joel's uncanny blending ability, he has privileged access to many of the best and as yet undiscovered fruit sources in the Napa Valley. Joel Gott wines are therefore remarkable values, offering gobs of classic California fruit, good structure and excellent balance.
Of course, Joel is also the proud proprietor of Gott's Roadside, Napa Valley's red hot retro-chic "hamburger joint" on Highway 29, and most recently, in San Francisco as well. Robert Parker once proclaimed a meal at Taylor's one of the finest meals of the year in the Wine Advocate!
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 incredibly wide-ranging selection of wine styles, and unlike tradition-bound Europe, experimentation is more than welcome here. Wineries range from boutique to massive corporations, and price and quality are equally varied—plenty of inexpensive bulk wine is made in the Central Coast area, while Napa is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious and expensive “cult” wines.
Just about every style of wine you can imagine is made in California, from bone dry to unctuously sweet, still to sparkling, light and fresh to rich and full-bodied. Each AVA and sub-AVA has its own distinct personality. In the Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and other Bordeaux varieties dominate, as well as Sauvignon Blanc. Sonoma County is best known for Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Zinfandel. The Central Coast has carved out a niche with Rhône blends based on Grenache and Syrah, while Mendocino has found success with Alsatian varieties such as Riesling and Gewürztraminer. With all the diversity that California has to offer, it is certain that any wine lover will find something to get excited about.
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.