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Oliver Caldwell Cellars Aida Vineyard Zinfandel 1998

Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
    0% ABV
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    0% ABV

    Winemaker Notes

    The 1998 Zinfandel is a big, luscious wine, the likes of which is rare either in Napa or Sonoma counties. The wine is deep red briary with a spicy nose which gives the impression of richness, with just a slight topnote of chocolate in the back. The taste in the middle is very full, and not for the timid. Big tannis play out in the finish, which carries a late harvest fruit style, but the structure is very rich and meaty. The Zinfandel can age for many years (unlike most Zins) and has just the right amount of French oak to broaden the flavor profile.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Oliver Caldwell Cellars

    Oliver Caldwell Cellars

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    Oliver Caldwell Cellars, Napa Valley, California
    In 1996 art dealer Oliver and Karen Caldwell purchased the Aida Vineyard, located just north of St. Helena in the Napa Valley. Though well known amongst wine lovers as the source for some extraordinary old vines Petit Syrah and Zinfandel, the vineyard had fallen into disrepair. The Caldwells decided to resurrect the vines, and employed the talents of David Abreu from the Araujo Winery to manage the site and winemaker Tom Eddy to make the wine. The 1996 vintage was the first release of their wine. The 1996 harvest in the Napa Valley was considered difficult by some winemakers due to a shorter growing season and a small crop. However, the Aida Vineyard continued to produce massive, structured wines as it has some of the oldest vines in Napa (dating back to 1922) and gravely, well-drained soil. The intense flavors and level of extract clearly demonstrated that this vintage was no exception to the rule for this vinyard.

    Napa Valley

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    One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production as well as tourism, the Napa Valley was responsible for bringing worldwide recognition to California winemaking. In the 1960s, a few key wine families settled the area and hedged their bets on the valley's world-class winemaking potential—and they were right.

    The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980s, when producers scooped up vineyard lands and planted vines throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, and today Napa is home to hundreds of producers ranging from boutique to corporate. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. Napa whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

    Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that claim specific characteristics based on situation, slope and soil. Farthest south and coolest from the influence of the San Pablo Bay is Carneros, followed by Coombsville to its northeast and then Yountville, Oakville and Rutherford. Above those are the warm St. Helena and the valley's newest and hottest AVA, Calistoga. These areas follow the valley floor and are known generally for creating rich, dense, complex and smooth reds with good aging potential. The mountain sub appellations, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs, include Stags Leap District, Atlas Peak, Chiles Valley (farther east), Howell Mountain, Mt. Veeder, Spring Mountain District and Diamond Mountain District. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from a lot of time in the bottle to evolve and soften.

    Zinfandel

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    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.

    Perfect Pairings

    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 Secret

    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.

    LSB43347_1998 Item# 43347