Napa Cellars Zinfandel 2017
September 6 - 26, 2016
19 months, 42% new oak (85% French, 15% American)
Our 2017 Zinfandel boasts bright aromas of fresh blackberry, anise, bits of clove, cassis, spicy black pepper and saffron. On the palate, intense brambly fruit, figs, dark toasty notes, vanilla and cocoa are threaded with hints of cedar. This wine is weighty and juicy with balanced acidity accenting soft and supple tannins. Winemaker Joe Shirley recommends pairing this wine with chicken cacciatore or a well-seasoned steak topped with fresh basil.
Grapes for the Napa Cellars 2017 Zinfandel are hand-selected from vineyards in the warmer areas of Napa Valley, including St. Helena, Yountville, Oak Knoll and Calistoga. Zinfandel grows best in warmer climates, and sourcing grapes from these areas results in complex and concentrated fruit. Zinfandel is not nearly as ubiquitous as Cabernet Sauvignon in Napa Valley, and makes up roughly 2% of total acreage.
The 2017 growing season in Napa Valley started out with unseasonably warm temperatures, though welcomed rains occurred in the late winter and early spring after years of drought. Bud break was early though slowed with April showers leading to a harvest that was still early, though with a heavier crop than the 2015 vintage.
After a three-day cold soak designed to extract color from the skins, the grapes were pressed early to avoid extracting harsh tannins. Following a 7 to 15-day maceration period and fermented with the délestage method, the lots were aged in 42% new French and American oak barrels for 19 months. The partial use of new oak helps preserve the big Zinfandel flavors, while still imparting warm, spicy characteristics to create an elegant and balanced wine.