Rosenblum Cellars England Shaw Vineyard Syrah 2003
In 1978, Rosenblum Cellars opened in Alameda, California; a place known more for its docks and shipyards than for winemaking. But then again, Kent Rosenblum, “The King of Zin,” always did things a little differently from the status quo.
When most of the established wineries in California were focused on their estate-grown wines, Kent chose to explore some of the unrecognized and underappreciated grape-growing areas of Northern California. He met families who had been growing grapes for generations; dedicated growers passionate about their vineyards, who worked tirelessly to grow the best grapes possible from old vines their families had planted years before.
Their efforts showcased the difference between mountainside and valley floor grapes, the importance of soil types and their influence on the taste of a wine. Kent was fascinated by the character and complexity of the Zin grapes produced by these old vines, and was determined to capture this spirit in a bottle.
Kent took grapes back to Alameda and began to make wines, acknowledging the contributions of his friends by placing the vineyard’s name on the bottle. Working out of a factory building near the docks, Kent and his crew looked more like longshoremen than winemakers. But the wine they made spoke for itself.
From single-vineyards in Sonoma and Alexander Valley to strictly selected regional blends, Rosenblum has made more than 50 Zinfandels earning 90 or more points from Wine Spectator. It’s an eye-opening track record for Zin lovers, but at Rosenblum, guided by commitment and craft, delivering sumptuous wines is just business as usual.
Reaching up California's coastline and into its valleys north of San Francisco, the North Coast AVA includes six counties: Marin, Solano, Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino and Lake. While Napa and Sonoma enjoy most of the glory, the rest produce no shortage of quality wines in an intriguing and diverse range of styles.
Climbing up the state's rugged coastline, the chilly Marin County, just above the City and most of Sonoma County, as well as Mendocino County on the far north end of the North Coast successfully grow cool-climate varieties like Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and in some spots, Riesling. Inland Lake County, on the other hand, is considerably warmer, and Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc produce some impressive wines with affordable price tags.
Marked by an unmistakable deep purple hue and savory aromatics, Syrah makes an intense, powerful and often age-worthy red. Native to the Northern Rhône, Syrah achieves its maximum potential in the steep village of Hermitage and plays an important component in the Red Rhône Blends of the south, adding color and structure to Grenache and Mourvèdre. Syrah is the most widely planted grape of Australia and is important in California and Washington. Sommelier Secret—Such a synergy these three create together, the Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre trio often takes on the shorthand term, “GSM.”