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Flat front label of wine

Zaca Mesa Viognier 1999

Viognier from California
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    Try the 2016 Vintage 15 99
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    Winemaker Notes

    This summer, Zaca Mesa submitted cuttings of its "Roussanne" vines to DNA testing which confirmed that our prize-winning "Roussanne" is actually Viognier. By the time this newsletter reaches you, no doubt you'll have heard plenty of news from the fallout these discoveries are causing other companies. Our Zaca Vineyards "Roussanne" has been an outstanding performer, winning awards and recognition since its introduction to our product line. And no matter its name, it's still a prize as far as we're concerned. While we feel the error in identification was made in good faith, to lessen confusion in the marketplace, Zaca Mesa is retrieving it's recently released 1999 Roussanne for relabeling as Viognier.

    In fact, the winery's production experience with its Roussanne and Viognier, along with the DNA results, has caused Zaca Mesa to change its belief about its Roussanne. According to President Jeff Maiken, "While we now know these vines are not Roussanne, we also know they are quite different from our other Viognier plantings, which leads us to believe that they are actually a separate and unique clone of Viognier," Maiken said. "The vineyard where the cuttings originated no longer exists, but this exceptional clone now resides at Zaca Mesa. Unfortunately, DNA testing cannot distinguish clonal variations."

    Stay tuned as this story takes shape in the future--and for now, enjoy our 1999 Roussanne...uh...make that Viognier.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Zaca Mesa

    Zaca Mesa

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    Zaca Mesa, California
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    Foremost, Zaca Mesa, where our vineyards are rooted, is a place. This elevated plateau with its extraordinary vistas lies within the unique Santa Barbara coastal mountain corridors. Here, the land is softly pained by sunlight, directly cooled by the Pacific windstreams. For over 2000 years its bounties and its beauty were revered by the Chumash Indians. The Spanish settlers who arrived in the 17th century were the ones who named it "La Zaca Mesa," borrowing the word "Zaca" from the Chumash-meaning "peaceful" and adding their own "Mesa" meaning "table."

    At over 1,500 foot elevation, the Zaca Mesa vineyards are among the highest in Santa Barbara County. Warm sunny days and cool, breezy afternoons produce temperature conditions ideal for our Rhone varietals: Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Viognier, Cinsaut and Counoise.

    This land has always driven our approach to farming. Way back in 1978, when Zaca Mesa was established, it was the first Santa Barbara County winery to plant the lush and luscious red/black Rhone grape Syrah. Zaca Mesa's estate program is now dominated by the incredible, blend-able Rhone superstars.

    We are committed to the highest quality grapes, so year-round, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, Ruben and his crew manage our 246 vineyard acres to maximize the unique character of our fruit. This means conservative cropping, resulting in fewer tons per acre, careful pruning to achieve that delicate balance between vigor and crop, and leaf pulling to encourage healthy cluster development.

    Our wines are true to the uniqueness of our estate fruit, with a focus on quality. We are always working with new and exciting varietal blends, wines that pair perfectly with the cuisine of today. A little something off the grill and a glass of Zaca Mesa Syrah (or Chardonnay. or Z Cuvee. or Z Gris), we are proud to bring you our vineyard to your glass.

    California

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    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 incredibly wide-ranging selection of wine styles, and unlike tradition-bound Europe, experimentation is more than welcome here. Wineries range from boutique to massive corporations, and price and quality are equally varied—plenty of inexpensive bulk wine is made in the Central Coast area, while Napa is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious and expensive “cult” wines.

    Just about every style of wine you can imagine is made in California, from bone dry to unctuously sweet, still to sparkling, light and fresh to rich and full-bodied. Each AVA and sub-AVA has its own distinct personality. In the Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and other Bordeaux varieties dominate, as well as Sauvignon Blanc. Sonoma County is best known for Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Zinfandel. The Central Coast has carved out a niche with Rhône blends based on Grenache and Syrah, while Mendocino has found success with Alsatian varieties such as Riesling and Gewürztraminer. With all the diversity that California has to offer, it is certain that any wine lover will find something to get excited about.

    Viognier

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    Full-figured and reminiscent of a potent floral perfume, Viognier is the mandatory grape of the northern Rhône appellation Condrieu and neighboring monopole (an entire appellation dedicated to just one winery) Château Grillet. It is also a blending variety in several appellations throughout the entire Rhône Valley. Viognier is grown throughout much of the world with some degree of success, but is perhaps at its best outside of France in Oregon, Washington, and cooler parts of Australia, where minerality and acidity can be achieved to give the wine the backbone it can sometimes lack.

    In the Glass

    This is a heady, aromatic variety making rich, complex, and full-bodied white wines redolent of a floral bouquet and assorted stone fruits and tropical fruits, with a hint of spice not unlike that of Gewürztraminer. It is lower in acidity than most white wines, lending to its heavy impression on the palate. While a whiff of Viognier might suggest sweet flavors, these wines are typically quite dry.

    Perfect Pairings

    Viognier is an intense, bold variety that can easily stand up to gutsy food like pork loin with apricot stuffing, chicken Kiev, or rich, spicy fare.

    Sommelier Secret

    While Viognier is a white grape, it also plays an important role in the red wines of Côte Rôtie in the northern Rhône, made otherwise from Syrah. About 5% Viognier is typically co-fermented with the Syrah in order to stabilize the color, and as an added benefit, add a subtle perfume.

    HEI2965044_1999 Item# 28111