The vineyard is located on Bell Hill Road, a part of the Kelsey Bench of Lake County, just south of Kelseyville. Catfish Vineyard, planted in 1901, is head-pruned and stands on its own roots. Steele Wines purchased the vineyard in 2000 and we have been working to rehabilitate the old vines since that time. Catfish Vineyard Zinfandel, is actually a field blend of a number of varieties, including small amounts of Carignan, Alicante Bouschet, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, and Cinsault. Having more than one variety assured the old-time vintners that they would have some grapes to harvest regardless of spring frosts or autumn storms.
We utilize warm temperature fermentations on the Steele Catfish Vineyard Zinfandel. This is followed by 12 months of aging in hybrid barrels. The hybrid barrels are unique in that they have alternating staves of French and American oak, which balance the unique flavors of this wine. With volcanic soil and a wide variety of grapes in the field blend, this wine tends toward a more brambly style. The wine provides a mouth full of bright red fruit, and many layers of jam, coffee, and eucalyptus along with good structure and balance.
Enjoy this wine with Cioppino, pasta, or red meat in a cream-based sauce. Grilled venison, spice-rubbed leg or rack of lamb, pizza with pesto, and sausage are also great companions to this wine.