Zaca Mesa Z Cuvee 1997
The 1997 growing season was a winemakers dream come true. Winter rains came early. Mild temperatures in December and January caused the vines to have a short dormancy period and an early bud break. The bud break started a perfect growing season of warm temperatures and dry weather; flowering and fruit set proceeded without a hitch.
The Grenache, Mourvedre, Cinsaut, Counoise, and Syrah were individually harvested at optimal maturity and vented as separate wines. The fermentation caps were wetted twice a day for 12-14 days. The tanks were then pressed to seasoned French oak barrels where each variety underwent malolactic fermentation. We then blended and aged the wines for 10 months.
The married varietals express red and black fruit flavors, a wide array of spices, and big, silky textures. The Grenaches forward rich aromas of raspberry jam and the Counoises distinct strawberry and ripe cherry nuances blend perfectly with the Cinsauts plush mid-palate contribution of plums, spice and a silky mouth-feel. Typically as the wine ages, these aromas evolve into eucalyptus and sagebrush fragrances which mimic the vineyards surrounding landscape. The black fruit flavors, anise, and earth tones come from the Mourvedre and the Syrah. Both give this wine a firm backbone of rounded tannin around a textured and densely layered middle.
Enjoy this wine with your Thanksgiving meal, unique in its ability to match almost any foods flavor or spice. Spicy Penne Puttanesca, Santa Maria Tri-Tip and seared tuna are all Favorite matches with the Z Cuvee. Our 1997 Z Cuvee is delicious to drink now, but will continue to improve over the next 10 years. Buy a case and watch it age!
Established in 1973, Zaca Mesa is a family owned and operated winery with a long-standing history in Santa Barbara County. As the first vineyard to plant Syrah in the area in 1978, Zaca Mesa has since helped pioneer the Santa Barbara Rhône movement through an unwavering dedication to Syrah. Combining traditional Old-World winemaking practices with innovative farming and vineyard techniques, Zaca Mesa continues its legacy as a producer of high quality California Rhône-style wines that are true reflections of the vineyard and appellation.
The largest and perhaps most varied of California’s wine-growing regions, the Central Coast produces a good majority of the state's wine. This vast district stretches from San Francisco all the way to Santa Barbara along the coast, and reaches inland nearly all the way to the Central Valley.
Encompassing an extremely diverse array of climates, soil types and wine styles, it contains many smaller sub-AVAs, including San Francisco Bay, Monterey, the Santa Cruz Mountains, Paso Robles, Edna Valley, Santa Ynez Valley and Santa Maria Valley.
While the region could probably support almost any major grape varietiy, it is famous for a few. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel are among the major ones. The Central Coast is home to many of the state's small, artisanal wineries crafting unique, high-quality wines, as well as larger producers also making exceptional wines.
With bold fruit flavors and accents of sweet spice, red Rhône blends originated from France’s southern Rhône Valley. Grenache, supported by Syrah and Mourvèdre typically form the base of the blend, while Carignan, Cinsault and Counoise often come in to play. With some creative interpretation, Rhône blends have also become popular in Priorat, Washington, Australia and California.
In the Glass
The taste profile of a Rhône blend will vary according to its individual components, as each variety brings something different to the glass. Grenache is the lightest in color but contributes plenty of ripe red fruit and a plush texture. Syrah supplies dark fruit flavors, along with savory, spicy and earthy notes. Mourvèdre is responsible for a floral perfume and earthy flavor as well as structure and a healthy dose of color. New World examples tend to be fruit-forward in style, while those from the Old World will often have more earth, structure and herbal components on top of ripe red and blue fruit.
Rhône red blends typically make for very food-friendly wines. These can work with a wide variety of meat-based dishes, playing equally well with beef, pork, lamb or game. Braised beef cheeks, grilled steak or sausages, roasted pork and squab are all fine pairings.
Some regions like to put their own local spin on the red Rhône blend—for example, in Australia’s Barossa Valley, Shiraz is commonly blended with Cabernet Sauvignon to add structure, tannin and a long finish. Grenache-based blends from Priorat often include Carignan (known locally as Cariñena) and Syrah, but also international varieties like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In California, anything goes, and it is not uncommon to see Petite Sirah make an appearance.