Zinfandel grows very, very well in Amador. And, it has been growing here for a very long time. The original Grandpère vineyard across the street from Renwood Winery is acknowledged as the oldest, continuously producing zinfandel vineyard in the United States.
What are some of the factors that contribute to growing great zin? According to Joe Shebl, Winemaker and General Manager at Renwood Winery: it’s weather, soil, artisan production, and the micro-climates.
“We have dramatic shifts in diurnal temperatures,” he says, “as much as 40 degrees.” That means temperatures that reach 95 degrees Fahrenheit in the afternoon might cool to 50 degrees in the night. “This helps grapes maintain a really good natural acidity, a vibrancy. And that translates to a wonderful range of styles in the wine – from bright red fruit to heavier plums and blackberries."
"Little pockets of vineyards, set amidst the rolling hills create fruits that are so distinctive from vintage to vintage."
"Not to be cliché," he adds, "but Amador is a veritable mosaic of microclimates. Little pockets of vineyards, set amidst the rolling hills create fruits that are so distinctive from vintage to vintage. There are not big swaths of vineyards that cover extensive acreages that you will find in larger valleys. Here the hills are tighter, the rise to the mountains closer, and the land snakes individually along ridges, rises, rivers, and diverse geological landscaping."
Joe sees this expression best enunciated in the Signature Series. What is the difference in taste profile, you ask?
|One of our darkest wines. Plum and ultra-ripe cherries.||Fox Creek 66%, Habacht 20%, Veauta 6%,
NCBP 4%, Oakmont 4%
|100% Zin||Blueberry, cinnamon to start; orange zest and marmalade mid-point to finish||Habcht 72%, D’Agostini 16%, Deaver 12%|
|Bright red fruit, vanilla and cedar.||Fox Creek 76%, Kirkland 18%, Veauta 6%|
7% Petite Sirah
|Dark red fruit, clove, cocoa and dried herbs.||Deaver 66%,
Fox Creek 28%, Bailey 7%
|86% Zin, 11% Petite Sirah, 2% Syrah,
|This wine is from multiple vineyard sources, it is dark and dusky with raspberries, dried herbs, and cocoa dust.||Kirkland 32%,
Fox Creek 26%, Bowling 26%, plus others.
On Saturday, June 8th at 6 p.m., Renwood will host a special dinner at the winery showcasing the barbera grape and one of America’s foremost wine-and-food experts, Darrell Corti, whom many of you may know as the proprietor of Corti Bros. Grocery in Sacramento. The dinner is being held in conjunction with Amador County’s sold-out 3rd annual Barbera Festival and will feature a multi-course dinner paired with several distinctive barberas selected to highlight the variety’s many charms. Corti and Renwood winemaker Dave Crippen will be on hand to discuss each wine and how they complement the food.
Darrell Corti is a legendary grocer/wine merchant who was the first American to import fine olive oils, prosciutto, white truffles, exotic salts, Parmigiano-Reggiano and Brie cheeses, and many other delicacies. He also introduced Californians to rare sherries and single-malt bourbons and scotches. Many a budding oenophile first discovered the great wines of the world in the Corti Bros. wine department, Darrell’s domain for 50 years.
Corti has also been instrumental in the development of Amador County as a world-class wine-growing region, advising local vintners on where and what to plant, and perpetually encouraging them to strive for excellence. In recognition of his contributions, Darrell was inducted, in 2008, into the Vintners Hall of Fame, the only wine merchant to be so honored. He also is a member of the Italian Trade Commission’s Hall of Fame – for introducing so many Italian wines and foodstuffs to the American market – and, in 1992, received the rare honor of being named a Cavaliere (i.e., an Italian knight) by the Italian government.
Naturally, Darrell is an expert on barbera, the northern Italian grape variety – and longtime mainstay of the Sierra Foothills wine scene – that produces wonderfully fruity, sensuously textured red wines that beautifully accompany food. Our June 8th Barbera Dinner is a rare opportunity for oenophiles to experience the joys of barbera guided by one of the world’s top wine educators.
Tickets to the dinner are $75 per person and can be purchased at /product/Darrell-Corti-Dinner.