Rombauer El Dorado Zinfandel 1999
Rombauer Vineyards was founded in 1982 by Koerner and Joan Rombauer and sits on a tree covered knoll overlooking the Napa Valley. The winery features caves that extend for over a mile into the hillside. The caves provide a constant temperature and humidity which result in optimum conditions for aging our wines.
Rombauer wines are consistently ranked high in the wine trade journals. Many of the finest restaurants throughout the country include Rombauer wines on their list and feature them by the glass. The joy of wine is something that's important to Rombauer. Whether you are a collector of fine wines or like to have wine with food, wine is something that truly should be enjoyed. Rombauer Vineyards puts a lot of hard work and tender care into making drinkable wines. And because wine is a simple product to enjoy, emphasis is given to taking the mystique out of enjoying fine wines.
Our emphasis on the joy of wine comes from the heritage of the Rombauer family. Koerner's ancestors made wine in the famous Rheingau region in Germany and his great aunt, Irma Rombauer, wrote the book The Joy of Cooking. Hence our focus on wine as complements to good food and good friends. Every family member is actively involved in the day to day operation of the winery from selecting grapes for the winemaking process and getting the wine to market.
As home to California’s highest altitude vineyards, El Dorado is also one of its oldest wine growing regions. When gold miners settled here in the late 1800s, many also planted vineyards and made wine to quench its local demand.
By 1870, El Dorado County, as part of the greater Sierra Foothills growing area, was among the largest wine producers in the state, behind only Los Angeles and Sonoma counties. The local wine industry enjoyed great success until just after the turn of the century when fortune-seekers moved elsewhere and its population diminished. With Prohibition, winemaking and grape growing was totally abandoned. But some of these vines still exist today and are the treasure chest of the Sierra Foothills as we know them.
El Dorado has a diverse terrain with elevations ranging from 1,200 to 3,500 feet, creating countless mesoclimates for its vineyards. This diversity allows success with a wide range of grapes including whites like Gewurztraminer and Sauvignon Blanc, as well as for reds, Grenache, Syrah, Tempranillo, Barbera and especially, Zinfandel.
Soils tend to be fine-grained volcanic rock, shale and decomposed granite. Summer days are hot but nights are cool and the area typically gets ample precipitation in the form or rain or snow in the winter.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.