Zinfandel is a popular, yet classic, black-skinned wine grape, that is the 4th most planted wine grape in California vineyards. Zinfandel is also one of the oldest grape varieties. This hearty red grape, which yields wines that are typically robust and high in alcohol, is known as Primitivo in Italy (Puglia) and, according to a DNA analysis, it is also genetically equivalent to the Croatian grapes Crljenak Kaštelanski and Tribidrag. The name, Primitivo, is derived from the terms primativus or primaticcio, due to the fact that the grape is an early-ripening variety.
National Zinfandel Day
Now that we know a tad about Zinfandel, did you know that this grape varietal has it’s very own dedicated day? National Zinfandel Day takes place every year on the third Wednesday of November. In fact, Zinfandel Advocates & Producers ensure it. Zinfandel Advocates & Producers (ZAP) is an organization dedicated to Zinfandel preservation, education, advocacy and appreciation. “We are celebrating Zinfandel’s unique place in our culture and history while supporting the global spirit of this much sought-after wine grape.”
Zinfandel Advocates & Producers (ZAP) serve as a comprehensive resource for all things Zinfandel, via tastings, seminars, classes, discussions etc., featuring Zin producers, winemakers and wineries. They seek to preserve and improve the quality of Zinfandel. ZAP also promotes appreciation and advocates by spreading the word about Zinfandel, both nationally and internationally.
This year, I chose to celebrate #NationalZinfandelDay with one of my favorite Zin producers: Pedroncelli Winery. Join me and Pedroncelli on Instagram LIVE, Wednesday November 17 @ 4 pm Pacific Standard Time, as we chat for a bit about the winery, their zins and the significance of the special day. Check it out @thewininghour!
Pedroncelli Winery has been a staple in Sonoma County since 1927, when John Pedroncelli, Sr. purchased a vineyard and a small winery in the Dry Creek Valley. The winery was able to maintain, even during prohibition. They eventually expanded and nine decades later, they are still going strong as a family owned and operated business. Today, Pedroncelli is 70% woman-owned with a woman winemaker!
The Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma, known for its optimal growing conditions, is an American Viticultural Area (AVA) that Pedroncelli helped form. This is where Pedroncelli’s winery and vineyards are located. In fact, half of all Zinfandel planted in Sonoma County is in the Dry Creek Valley! It gets better-Pedroncelli is Certified Sustainable. “We practice sustainable winegrowing and, over the years, we have been reducing water use, building healthy soil, and protecting the vineyard environment. This is a comprehensive approach to vineyard management that involves all aspects of farming including human resources, viticulture, soil management, water management, pest management, habitat management, and wine quality.” Some of their sustainable farming practices include composting, the use of cover crops and manual harvesting, just to name a few.
Although Pedroncelli are masters at producing Zinfandel, they also produce other varietals, including Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Rosé. I have had the pleasure of tasting many of their wines and participating in delightful food and wine pairings from their wide array of recipes.
The Wining Hour with Pedroncelli
Pedroncelli Bushnell Vineyard Zinfandel 2016
Bushnell Vineyard is composed of old vine Zinfandel, as this 22-acre vineyard has been with the Pedroncelli family for over 80 years. After harvesting, this particular Zin is fermented in small-capacity stainless steel tanks, which contributes to better skin-to-juice ratio. Following maceration and daily pumpovers, the wine is barrel aged for 16 months in oak.
“Pedroncelli wines are regionally focused and site specific and we’ve learned to pair the right varietal with the best site creating great character.” They absolutely nailed it here.
Pedroncelli’s Bushnell Vineyard Zinfandel is a deep purple red with enticing aromas of ripe blackberry and red berries, pepper, baking spice and oak. The palate complements with more concentrated dark and red fruit, vanilla and nutmeg. Balanced acidity, with smooth tannins and a long finish. Definitely full-bodied. 16.1% ABV.
So that’s how I celebrated. How are you celebrating #NationalZinfandelDay?