Taste and Talk: Old Vine Zinfandel from Seghesio Family Vineyards

A #WiningHourChat with Seghesio Wines

As winelovers, we keep abreast of the various wine holidays.  Nevertheless, we know full well that no excuses are needed when it comes to drinking wine.  In November, specifically on the third Wednesday, we celebrate the varietal known as Zinfandel for National Zinfandel Day.  Zinfandel Advocates and Producers (ZAP) is nonprofit association that endeavors to promote, educate and celebrate the Zinfandel grape. We were happy to do our part to taste and talk Zinfandel!
Zinfandel is a black-skinned grape that produces a robust red wine, along with the well-known blush wine (white zinfandel).  The grape is said to have originated in Croatia around 6000 B.C., and known as “Crljenak Kaštelanski.” This same grape is the cousin of Italian Primitivo of Puglia.  Zinfandel, originally known as the “Black St. Peters” vine, arrived in California around 1850.  This grape has survived and stood the test of time.  Today, Zinfandel is produced across the U.S., with the highest proportions being grown in California, which makes it California’s heritage grape.
#WiningHourChat celebrated this grape and #NationalZinfandelDay with Seghesio Family Vineyards. It was the second time we had the pleasure of featuring Seghesio. Seghesio Family Vineyards, located in Sonoma County, was an easy choice.  Seghesio was established in 1895 when Italian immigrant and winemaker Edoardo Seghesio planted his first Zinfandel vineyard. Seghesio’s story “begins with the vision and determination of immigrants and continues through the hardship of Prohibition and the challenges of survival in the 20th and 21st century. It is the story of one family’s adaptation and reinvention, not once, but multiple times. Most of all it is the story of the values we hold dear: heritage, tradition and community.” We could not celebrate National Zinfandel Day with a better pioneer of Zin!
We talked to a winery representative and were delighted to converse with Andy Robinson, the lead winemaker at Seghesio. It was a basic Q & A format with the winery and our #WiningHourChat participants.  Here’s some highlights from our conversation:
#WiningHourChat: Having been around since 1895 and celebrating a 124th anniversary, you are definitely a leader in the industry. Please tell us about your rich history in Sonoma County. What is the secret to your success?
Seghesio: Eduardo Seghesio planted Zinfandel at our Home Ranch Vineyard after working at the Italian Swiss Colony and marrying Angela Vasconi in 1895. So one of the secrets to our success is our commitment to our vineyards – we still have blocks of Zinfandel that were planted in 1895 that we use to make wine and we’ve had 5 generations to become true Zinfandel experts! In fact, each generation adapted to the times and focused on what they did best to succeed, like Old Vine Zinfandel and Sangiovese.
The key to success is also being able to stay relevant, adapt to market tastes and and trends, all the while preserving our heritage and producing delicious #Zinfandel.
Photo Credit: Seghesio Family Vineyards
According to your head winemaker, Andy Robinson, “Seghesio embodies a combination of tradition and innovation unparalleled in the industry.” What are some practices?
We learned that Seghesio Family Vineyards has a commitment to sustainability. “We farm utilizing the greenish inputs possible to sustainably foster the long-term health of our vineyards while maintaining  the highest quality of hand-farmed fruit.  In the winery, new processes aid in the conservation of resources-primarily energy and water usage-have been adopted.” Seghesio utilizes solar power and recycles 100% of the water used, among other sustainable practices.
In a previous conversation with Seghesio, they mentioned that Zinfandel is inherently uneven in ripening. “We perform timely fruit thinning, proper shoot positions, canopy management to optimize sunlight on grapes.  In the winery we cluster and berry sort to remove any undesired fruit, and punch down or pumpover to maintain a balanced structure. We harvest for physiological ripeness, with analysis like Brix, pH and Titratable Acidity as guides; and upcoming weather forecasts.”
Photo Credit: Seghesio Family Vineyards
#WiningHourChat: Your Five Generations have likely had their share of challenges, considering Prohibition, droughts, fires (most recently being the Kincaid Fires)…What are some other challenges?
Seghesio: One challenge has been that Zinfandel is not as well known as some other varieties and so we are always passionate about educating people on all there is to love about this variety!
It was interesting to learn that Seghesio has already survived two seasons of wildfires impacting their immediate area. Fortunately, they “came through without any damage to our vineyards, winery, or wines! The 2019 Vintage will be awesome!”
Photo Credit: Seghesio Family Vineyards
As we celebrate #NationalZinfandelDay, Why is Zinfandel so special and important to your winery?
Seghesio:  We like our wines to tell a story about wine in a place and time. Through our wines we travel back over a hundred years in Sonoma, and the vines that came from so far away have helped to build the industry here .We feel that while Zinfandel is difficult to grow and make, it’s a grape that adapts well to its surroundings and captures that sense of place like no other grape can.
Seghesio, what other varietals do you produce? Any Vini Italiani?! What is the Centennial Club?
Seghesio: Our Italian Heritage would not be complete without a stable of Italian Varietals!  We produce Vermentino, Arneis, Barbera, Sangiovese, and beginning last year Rosato d’Aglianico. The centennial Club is where most of our Italian wines are found along with our tasting room in Healdsburg and http://seghesio.com

The Wining Hour with Seghesio Wines: 

We have enjoyed Seghesio on several occasions. This time, however, we tasted Seghesio’s Rockpile Zinfandel and Old Vine Zinfandels. Whoa!!!

Seghesio Rockpile Zinfandel 2016

The Rockpile Zinfandel hails from the Rockpile Appellation, contiguous to the Dry Creek Valley. The appellation is known for its high elevation (1000 feet above sea level) and its rugged terrain with well-drained soil, which yields fewer clusters with small, concentrated berries.

Seghesio’s Rockpile Zinfandel is a beautiful purple with spicy plum, dark raspberry and earthy, mineral notes. The ripe fruit yields an intensely flavored Zinfandel. Complex, medium bodied, balanced and elegant, with a persistent finish. “Our Chef loves to pair Rockpile with savory ingredients like mushrooms and he also commonly pairs it with cream-based sauces.” 

Seghesio Old Vine Zinfandel 2015
Old Vine Zinfandel blends vineyards planted on the Dry Creek bench and the Alexander Valley. ”
“Although “old vine” is often loosely interpreted in the wine industry, our benchmark is minimum 50 years. However, the average age of our vines is approximately 70 years old. True old vine Zinfandel is distinguished by head-trained vines with thick, gnarled trunks and is planted with ancient clones dating back to the turn of the century. ”

This Old Vine Zin was truly impressive! It packs a punch with blueberry, blackberry, licorice, herbs and black plum. Seghesio has crafted a beautiful, full-bodied, balanced zinfandel that ages gracefully. 
Regarding pairing suggestions, Seghesio says, “Old Vine has earned its reputation as a BBQ star, working well with the likes of pork, beef and lamb. Also try to steer clear of overly sweet BBQ sauces, which can tend to make the wine taste bitter. Old Vine LOVES animal proteins, lending to its reputation as a BBQ wine.  Beef, pork and lamb all work well with the intrinsic acidity and ripe briary flavors.”

These wines truly capture the essence and character of Seghesio’s vineyards and hard work. We were happy to celebrate the Zinfandel grape with Seghesio Family Vineyards.

About The Wining Hour

The Wining Hour writes about wine, Italy and global travel.  The Wining Hour boutique caters to wine-lovers across the globe by offering all wine-related items.  The Wining Hour markets unique wine décor and furnishings, accessories, glassware, barware, wine racks, storage and cooling options, games, gifts and more. For more information, please visit www.thewininghour.com­­­
The Wining Hour also hosts #WiningHourChat on Twitter (@wininghourchat) on Tuesday’s at 9 p.m. EST. (For more, see link at the top or side of this page)

Get Social with The Wining Hour:

Follow our Tweets
Like & Follow
on Facebook
Follow us
on Instagram
Follow us
on Pinterest

Planted, harvested and aged in NY. I have a background in education and marketing, with a love and passion for travel...and all things wine. In addition to writing about wine, I also maintain an online wine boutique (thewininghour.com) that caters to the winelover, as well as the weekly vinous winechat (#WiningHourChat) on Twitter (see page for more info).

Subscribe To Our Newsletter.


Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)