2007 Sonoma Valley Zinfandel
Zinfandel • MacLeod Family Vineyard
California: Sonoma Valley
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Mission Codename: A world of experience
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Acquire a lovely single vineyard Sonoma Valley Zinfandel
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Teresina Vintners
Wine Subject: 2007 MacLeod Family Vineyard Sonoma Valley Zinfandel
Winemaker: Linda Trotta
The Sonoma Valley AVA is one of the oldest wine growing regions in California with the first vines being planted in the early 1800s. The AVA is located along California Route 12 and its eastern boundary are the southern end of the Mayacamas mountains. The unique micro-climate with less rainfall and fog than other parts of the region along with its unique soil provides ideal growing conditions for Cabernet Sauvignon and especially Zinfandel.
Varietal Backgrounder: Zinfandel is related to the Italian Primitivo grape, tracing its origin to the Croatian grape Crljenak Kastelanski. Zinfandel is one of the most versatile varietals with the ability to make wines, both rich to fruity, dark to light, and dry to sweet. Alexander Valley and the Russian River Valley, where this Zinfandel’s grapes are are grown are characterized by their balanced flavors, are gaining in popularity with our Operatives.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deep and dark ruby red with garnet hues. This wine’s clear core shows ruby reflections and along the edges the color remains deep ruby and lightens just slightly to pink. When swirled, this wine leaves slow, fat and evenly spaced legs on the side of the glass.
Smell – Rich and spicy-brambly, with rip red and black fruit that is well integrated with a distinct chocolate component. A touch of pepper, vanilla, toasted oak and floral violets rounds out the pleasant and inviting nose of this wine.
Feel – Smooth and rich, this dry full-bodied wine has a distinct minerality about it. Medium textured tannins and balanced acidity hold on to the fruit and spice long into the finish.
Taste – Rich red fruit interlaced with white pepper and dark chocolate that blend harmoniously and create a unique flavor profile. Earthy and herbal bramble are layered over subtle toasted smokey oak as well as the flavors that presented on the nose.
Finish – Long in length with lingering textured minerality and dark and red fruit. Hints of chocolate, spice and bramble fade gracefully leaving this wines textured tannins and minerality to invite another sip.
Conclusion – The 2007 Teresina Vintners MacLeod Family Vineyard Sonoma Valley Zinfandel is a youthful, but rich Zinfandel with all the classic aromas and flavors you’d expect, but framed by a focused and textured minerality and tannic structure. Give this wine some time to open up to fully express itself now or cellar it for years to come. We enjoyed this wine with grilled skirt-steak, fajita style with grilled veggies.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Linda Trotta
DATE OF BIRTH: April 1963
PLACE OF BIRTH: Burbank, CA
WINE EDUCATION: Scientific / Technical Training: University of California at Davis, 1981-86, Practical Training: In the vineyards, cellars and labs of wineries, ongoing since 1986.
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Current: Independent Consulting Winemaker, 1989-2008: Director of Winemaking and Winegrowing, Gundlach Bundschu Winery
1987-1989: Lab and QA Technician, Sebastiani Vineyards, 1986-1987: Cellar Intern, St. Francis Winery, Southern Hemisphere Harvests: Santa Monica Winery, The Rapel Valley, Chile, Rupert & Rothschilde Vignerons, Cape Winelands, South Africa
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Whether making wines reflective of distinct vineyard sites or crafting blended wines that express a consistency of style and profile: Showcase the fruit with balance, finesse, power and grace.
SIGNATURE VARIETY: Tough to pick just one. I’d say the most distinctive wines I’ve made have been (dry) Gewurztraminer, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel. It was with a 1992 Zin that I made an appearance on the Spectator’s Top 100 list.
CAREER HIGHLIGHT: Anytime I open an older wine I made from a particularly challenging vintage that is delicious. Most recently a 1998 GB Estate Merlot.
WINEMAKER QUOTE: BALANCE — IN WINE AND IN LIFE.
AGENT RED: Greetings, Linda. We are thrilled to be showing your 2007 Zinfandel today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer
questions for our Operatives today.
LINDA: My pleasure. So is that your real voice or an undercover distortion?
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
WINEMAKER: Yes. Birth.
RED: And where did you learn the most about winemaking?
LINDA: I learn something new about winemaking every day. Since most of my days are spent in the vineyard and cellar, that’s where most of my learning happens.
RED: What is your winemaking style or philosophy?
LINDA: As I mentioned earlier, it is all about the fruit. Whether I am making a wine that reflects a distinctive vineyard site or expresses a specific stylistic profile (for example a “house blend”) the fruit is what I am showcasing. Everything else in the wine plays a supporting role to compliment and express the fruit in the most compelling, delicious and, above all, BALANCED way.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
LINDA: My style and who I am as a winemaker is ever evolving and is influenced by nearly everything I experience. One specific inspiration I can relate is the night of my Chardonnay epiphany. It was dinner at Postrio in SF. The wine was a 10 year old Meursault, Le Limouzin. Still a baby but it shook me to the core with endless layers of aromas and flavors; round and opulent while staying bright and austere; powerful yet elegant. The experience of this wine inspires me to this day, as I seek to pull together the multiple facets of the fruit into a seamlessly layered wine.
RED: How long have you been making wine?
LINDA: Professionally, for nearly 25 years. Overall, since I started walking and could help my great-grandparents stomp their grapes.
RED: Who do you make wine for?
LINDA: Obviously, in a commercial venture just enough people need to enjoy and buy the wine. There’s a certain style that I gravitate toward and so far enough consumers go there with me.
RED: Tell me, what makes the Sonoma Valley so special?
LINDA: Sonoma Valley is such a diverse appellation, a wide range of wine varieties grow well there. Zinfandel is a variety that does well all over the valley. I have worked with Zinfandel from several locations throughout Sonoma Valley, ranging from coolish to warmish sites, deep to shallow soils, 35 to 10 year old vines. Every single one has been distinctive and delicious.
RED: What is one piece of advice that you would give to someone that is considering a career as a winemaker?
LINDA: Develop a broad perspective on wine and on life. Experience winemaking in as many different environments as you can — work harvests in different parts of the world and the states. Winemaking is a unique discipline that encompasses so many aspects of working and living. Be open to new ideas, different ways of approaching things. Above all, maintain as much balance in your life as possible. Winemaking is hard work involving long hours – make sure it stays fun.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
LINDA: The 2009 wines are barreled down and either finishing up primary fermentation or starting ML. I’m keeping an eye on them and whispering sweet nothings to keep the ferments going.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today
LINDA: This Zin is sourced from the MacLeod Vineyard in Kenwood, Sonoma Valley. The vineyard has been owned and farmed by George MacLeod and his family for more than five decades, so George has it figured out. The greatest thing about this fruit is that it hits its maturity mark at a relatively low sugar level. So the wine shows all this great raspberry / bramble / peppery spice with mature tannins and an alcohol in the neighborhood of 14%.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
LINDA: Most anything off the grill: lamb chops simply seasoned with salt and pepper, baby back rib with Memphis dry rub and bbq sauce to name a couple of recent indulgences.
RED: Please share one thing about yourself that few people know
LINDA: I was a cheerleader for the city football league in my youth.
RED:What is your favorite ‘everyday’ or table wine?
LINDA: There is always a bottle of bubbles chilling in the home fridge. Always.
RED: How would you recommend that people approach your wines, or wine in general?
LINDA: Know what you like and how to get it. Don’t be intimidated or over-think it. Wine is a beverage not a Kafka novel.
RED: If you could choose any one wine to drink (regardless of price or availability), what would it be?
LINDA: Champagne. I’ve never met a Grande Dame that did not please.
RED: What is the one question that I should have asked you, and what is your answer to that question?
LINDA: Where do I give my attention when not making wine? My wife, our dogs and the home garden (in that order).
RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and about your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!
LINDA: This was fun. You guys are great. Thanks.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the MacLeod Family Vineyard in Sonoma Valley can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the winery says
About This Wine:
This balanced and brambly Zinfandel yields aromatic black raspberry fruit with hints of violets and white pepper spice. Integrated tannins and acidity bring breadth across the palate and length to the finish, delivering clarity of Zinfandel fruit flavors throughout. This wine makes a perfect pair with grilled meats and Mediterranean-style dishes. Those able to wait can expect the wine to benefit from up to 5 years of cellar aging from the vintage date.
Wine on the Vine: Clearly matching the Trotta Family’s enthusiasm and dedication to creating flavorful and balanced wines, the MacLeod Family have meticulously developed and sustainably tended the hillside Zinfandel vines sourced for this wine. The vines have taken root in a well-drained deposit of gravels and cobbles derived from the Sonoma Volcanics. The superb quality obtained from the rich and jammy Zinfandel clusters is directly related to the energy and attention the vines receive from the MacLeod family, who have literally hand-developed this vineyard over the past 30 years and continually study and learn from the land they farm – the most important ingredient for developing exquisite terroir.
Wine in the Making: The grapes were hand-picked in the early morning hours of September 29, 2007 and gently destemmed to stainless steel fermenters. Under the guidance of winemaker Linda Trotta, the must cold soaked for three days before inoculation with a prepared French isolate yeast strain and received gentle pump-overs throughout fermentation. The wine was pressed at dryness and racked clean to American oak barrels (35% new oak), where it aged for 16 months prior to bottling.
Wine on the Bottle!: The label artwork was painted with Trotta Family homemade wines by artist Manuel Barrios (the artwork features Petite Sirah vines and a Sangiovese sky!). The label art reflects the tradition and spirit behind Teresina wines, which draw upon the longstanding Trotta Family tradition of handcrafting wines to share at the gatherings of friends and family.
About The Winery:
Drawing upon generations of Trotta Family winemaking passion and experience, Teresina wines celebrate a longstanding tradition of sharing and enjoying handcrafted wines with family and friends. Teresina is named for our grandmother, who paired her culinary talents with our grandfather’s handmade wines to gather the perfect blend of food, drink, family, and friends around her table. In the spirit of preserving this tradition, Teresina’s Family Vintners craft flavorful and balanced wines designed to grace tables where memories of laughter, love, friendship, and family continue to be forged.
We source fruit from talented grape growers who share our enthusiasm for creating fruit-forward wines that feature smooth and lush tannins with balanced acidity. Our goal during the winemaking process is to intervene as little as possible and allow the varietal characteristics and each vineyard’s unique terroir to shine through. The wines are crafted in small lots to ensure that the wonderful flavors and aromas each vine works so hard to develop are carried through from the vineyard to the bottle.
From Our Table to Yours,
About The Winemaker:
Linda Trotta – Wine Making Consultant – Like all of Teresina’s grandchildren, winemaker Linda Trotta was introduced to the craft early in life thanks to the family’s annual home-winemaking events. Linda’s decision to study winemaking at UC Davis brought her grandparents a delight that was matched only by her subsequent decision to spend a year of study in Italy. At the Universita` degli Studi di Padova, Linda set aside her wine course-work to study Italian art history. Her first interaction with a commercial winery was a harvest at Santa Margherita Winery in the Veneto. Winemaking had now thoroughly hooked Linda and in 1986 her professional winemaking adventure began.
She spent 20 years with Gundlach Bundschu Winery in Sonoma, CA where she started as winemaker in 1990 and ultimately served as Director of Winemaking and Winegrowing. She produced highly acclaimed wines from the winery’s estate vineyards and led the winemaking and vineyard departments through a dynamic evolution toward increased quality. Linda has also experienced winemaking in the Cape Winelands of South Africa and the Rapel Valley in Chile, expanding upon the global perspective on winemaking she began in Italy.
When not making wine Linda spends much of her free time in her home garden, which includes tending a fig tree that originated from a cutting of the tree her great-grandfather grew in his garden.
Appelation: Sonoma Valley
Harvest Date: September 29, 2007
Total Acidity: 0.57 g/100ml
Bottled: February 17, 2009
Total Acidity: 0.68 g/100ml
Residual Sugar: 0.09%