Ziata Green Valley Pinot Noir 2014
The growing season harvest was one of the earliest on record—one to two weeks earlier than average. Nonetheless, moderate summer temperatures, coupled with morning fog and afternoon sun, helped the grapes mature and ripen at an optimal pace. Despite the drought conditions, the quality of fruit this vintage was a superior representation of the Green Valley AVA. The Pinot Noir wine was fermented and then aged for 10 months in French oak barrels, 35% of which were new, which lent beautiful spice notes to the finished wine.
Karen Cakebread launched ZIATA Wines in 2008, after marketing Napa Valley and its wines for 20 years. Karen started the brand with two goals in mind: “to create beautifully structured wines that reflect the vineyards they come from, and to be involved in every aspect of making wine.” Named after her beloved mother Mary Annunziata Webb, ZIATA’s collection of Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Mia Madre Red Blend and Chardonnay allows Karen to have an outlet for all of her passions. “Choosing where we source our fruit, working closely with our growers and our winemaker, building strong connections with our customers—I love being able to put my personal touch on all of it,” she says. Jennifer Williams joined the ZIATA team as head winemaker in 2015 after working at many reputable wineries since the early 2000s.
Situated on the foggier and colder western edge of the Russian River Valley, almost abutting the Sonoma Coast appellation, Green Valley is one of California’s most reputable Chardonnay and Pinot noir producing regions. It is also a wonderful source of sparkling wines made from these varieties.
Goldridge soils abound throughout the Green Valley appellation. This fine, dark, sandy loam and fractured sandstone is derived from the remains of ancient inland seabeds dating back three to five million years. It is valuable for high quality grape growing because of its excellent drainage and low fertility.
Thin-skinned, finicky and temperamental, Pinot Noir is also one of the most rewarding grapes to grow and remains a labor of love for some of the greatest vignerons in Burgundy. Fairly adaptable but highly reflective of the environment in which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate and requires low yields to achieve high quality. Outside of France, outstanding examples come from in Oregon, California and throughout specific locations in wine-producing world. Somm Secret—André Tchelistcheff, California’s most influential post-Prohibition winemaker decidedly stayed away from the grape, claiming “God made Cabernet. The Devil made Pinot Noir.”