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Peirano Estate Primo Zinfandel 1998
My mission is to make the best wine to ever come out of the Lodi Appellation.
My great grandfather, Giacomo Peirano, arrived in San Francisco in 1879 from his home in Genoa, Italy. By 1881, he started farming in Lodi, and year by year he steadily gained a place for himself pioneering vineyard and orchard development. Planted in the early 1880's, Peirano Estates was one of the first vineyards in Lodi. Located in the very heart of the Lodi Appellation (granted in 1986), Peirano Estate Vineyards grows Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, and has perhaps the largest single block of old, head-trained, natural-rooted Zinfandel left in the state of California.
Nestled between the Sacramento-San Joaquin river delta and the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, Lodi has an ideal Mediterranean climate with deep, rich, sandy-loam soils and abundant, quality water. These factors combine to make Lodi a major producer of quality wine grapes.
Beginning with the hard work and inspiration of Giacomo Peirano, five generations have grown and harvested grapes from our vineyard for over 100 consecutive years. Knowing that great wines must begin with the greatest grapes, it has always been our belief that wine should reflect the character of the fruit and the land. We also know that in the past Lodi has been associated more with quantity than quality.
With that in mind, we have strived to carry our five generations of commitment to the land through to our wines. Rather than destroy these beautiful old Zinfandel vines to make way for larger-yielding, more economically advantageous vines, we have decided to harvest the meager two tons per acre production. It is our goal to produce wines of bold varietal character with this fruit, vintage after vintage.
At Peirano Estate Vineyards we make wines that we enjoy. We hope that you, too, will find pleasure in our wine. It is our commitment to deliver that enjoyment at fair prices.
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.