Lake Sonoma Winery Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel 2003
The grapes for this wine were crushed and fermented warm, pumping juice from the tank bottom over the cap of floating skins on a regular basis. The wine was pressed off the skins slightly sweet and racked to 60 gallon French and American oak barrels. Malolactic fermentation was completed in the barrel. The wine was aged in barrel for a total of 18 months.
Lake Sonoma Winery focuses on the individual appellations in Northern Sonoma County where California’s top grape varieties achieve their ultimate expression of character. Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc come from Dry Creek Valley, where gravelly soils and a climate of warm days and cool nights produce intense fruit and impressive balance. Chardonnay and Pinot Gris are grown in the very cool, often foggy Russian River Valley, where they develop rich, crisp character. Cabernet Sauvignon is drawn from Alexander Valley, where fertile soils and very warm climate result in mouthfilling character and smooth texture. The intrinsic excellence of these regions is enhanced by sustainable farming techniques in the vineyards, which uses natural amendments and controls to enrich the soil and combat pests.
To preserve and complement the extraordinary character of these grapes, Lake Sonoma Winery meticulously handcrafts each wine. Vineyard lots are kept separate until blending and aging in small oak barrels is tailored to each individual wine. Lake Sonoma Winery produces less than 25,000 cases annually, but every Lake Sonoma wine – through its bold flavors and intriguing complexity - makes a statement.
A multifaceted and highly reputable sub-region of Sonoma, Dry Creek Valley is responsible for a wide range of wine styles—both red and white. One of the smallest AVAs in California, Dry Creek Valley has a winning combination of ideal geography and climate. Fertile, well-drained soils create concentrated varietal character while long, warm days, bookended by cool nights, allow grapes to reach full phenolic ripeness and balance. The warm and welcoming appellation is home to a number of family-owned vineyards and wineries that place a strong emphasis on sustainable farming practices.
Zinfandel reigns supreme here and still produces in a great number of very old vineyards—often 100 years old or older. These old vines create a powerful, voluptuous and sultry wine unlike those of any other region. Sauvignon Blanc, the valley’s signature white grape, also performs exceptionally well. Many other varieties grow comfortably here, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache and Syrah. Petite Sirah is often found in blends with Zinfandel.
Unapologetically bold, spice-driven and jammy, Zinfandel is often thought of as California’s flagship grape. In 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 journey to New England, carried by George Gibbs circa 1829. Eventually, making its way to California around the Gold Rush of 1849, Zinfandel found its new home, parading the true American spirit.
Tasting Notes for Zinfandel
Zinfandel is a dry red wine, though typically forward in fruit. Notes of dark plum, blackberry, sweet spice, dark chocolate and licorice are common. Very ripe examples may express a dried fruit quakity like fig or prune. But Zinfandel grown in cooler, coastal zones often shows red fruit, black pepper and fresh herbal characteristics like juniper and menthol.
Perfect Food Pairings for Zinfandel
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.
Sommelier Secrets for Zinfandel
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.