2007 Napa Valley Estate Zinfandel
Zinfandel •Calistoga, California
California: Napa Valley
What We Say
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The Wine Spies are proud to announce, once again, that we were able to be the first get our hands on a wine before it is released to the general public. Today’s wine usually sells out to the winery’s wine club, on release, so please be sure to make your purchase today – while you still can.
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Mission Codename: The Silverado 120
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Infiltrate Canard Vineyards, and be the first wine merchant – anywhere – to sell their much-anticipated 2007 Zinfandel. Before it is too late, procure an exclusive allotment for our Operatives, as the winery sells out each year.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Canard Vineyard
Wine Subject: 2007 Napa Valley Zinfandel
Winemaker: Brian Graham
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. The Calistoga AVA (American Viticultural Area), at the northern end of Napa Valley’s fabled Silverado Trail, is home to some of of our favorite Zinfandels. Today’s exclusive wine easily joins the ranks.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark ruby-hued, with a clear but darker heart of dark garnet. A fine ring of pure ruby circled the edge of the glass. After swirling the wine, thick tears that are wine-stained, move very slowly down the glass.
Smell – A warm rush of candied cherry, spiced black cherry and blackberry all rush up to greet you. These delightful aromas are followed by dark raspberry, bramble, cigar box and soft spices of cinnamon, clove and black pepper.
Feel – Very smooth and very plush on the attack. After a moment, the wine quickly expands, filling the entire mouth. Integrated tannins support the wine, adding a soft dryness that moves around the mouth, eventually drying the cheeks and lips.
Taste – Big and lush and wonderfully jammy, with sweet black cherry juice, blackberry preserve, blueberry and raspberry taking the lead. Just below, sweet red currant, boysenberry and brown spice make an appearance. As flavors tail off, subtle brown spice, subtle burnt caramel and black pepper remain behind.
Finish – Long, lush and very flavorful, with flavors that tail off very slowly. As flavors fade, dark fruit, black pepper and spice remain.
Conclusion – In a word: Sensational! Today’s exclusive selection, Canard Vineyards’ 2007 Napa Valley Zinfandel, is a true Zin-lovers wine that is certain to please the palate of both jammy Zins and those that are more austere. Today’s wine shows big flavors, but the wine is beautifully balanced – and not at all overpowering. The wine is great, right out of the bottle, but decant for at least an hour and you be rewarded with a softer wine that has richer and more authentic fruit flavors. Pair this food friendly Zin with nearly anything. Just be sure to take part in today’s exclusive offer, because the winery sells out of this wine very quickly!
AGENT RED: Greetings, Brian. We are thrilled to be showing your 2007 Zinfandel today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
BRIAN: Thank you for allowing us to show you our wines.
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
BRIAN: My dad and I drank wine, studied and talked about winemaking, viticulture together from a very young age. That was our passion.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
BRIAN: The wine that made the “light come on” for me was a 1963 Dow port. When my dad decanted that wine and while tasting the first sip I realized that I truly understood what makes wine special and it became my life at that moment.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
BRIAN: This is one of the oldest Zinfandel vineyards in Napa Valley. The wines created from the very old, dry farmed vineyard are intense, powerful, full bodied Zinfandel but also has a velvety elegant finish.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
BRIAN: I like anything game. Venison and Elk are my favorite. But a great rib eye or fillet works fantastic also.
RED: In your opinion, what makes the Calistoga AVA so special?
BRIAN: Calistoga, the northern end of Napa Valley, gets hot during the day but cools off each day, allowing the grapes to slow ripening and allow the ripening time on the vine to be extended. This extra time on the vine allows the wines created to be fat, plush and full bodied with amazing length.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
BRIAN: Well, its harvest and we just picked the last sections of the vineyard. I think the 2007 is delicious…the 2010 might end up
rivaling it someday. I’ve never picked Zinfandel this late in the season. The fruit was perfect.
RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
BRIAN: The wines are crafted to be may things to different people. I truly like enjoying this wine in phases. Enjoying while cooking while the wine is just opening up, the wine is delicate and fruity with a soft finish. Within an hour the wine will open up into a power, dark full bodied Zin that drink similar to a Cabernet Sauvignon, perfect for dinner.
RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
BRIAN: We would like to hear from you and have you share any thoughts or experiences with us. We encourage you to visit our website, and we welcome you to visit us when you come to Napa. Please mention you found out about us here!
RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The approximate location of Canard Vineyard can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
On the nose and upon entry the wine is a seamless transition of rich ripe red fruits with rose petals and exotic spices. The mid-palate leads into a full bodied, dry mouth full of ripe red cherries, blackberries and red currants, finishing with a soft and very long finish of rich tannin structure and vanilla beans.
VINEYARDS & WINEMAKING: Our winemaker, Brian Graham, believes that the vineyard is absolutely the most important factor when creating a wine. “For me, it’s the vineyard that creates the quality and a wine’s uniqueness. Really it’s all about the vineyards.”
Situated just South of Calistoga on the Silverado Trail, this sustainably farmed vineyard has short cool mornings and evenings with long very warm days. Deficit irrigation and traditional head-trained trained vines high above the soil allows for a constant breeze to flow through the vineyard. This environment yields the qualities most prized among Napa Valley fruit.
After picking, the grapes were sorted and de-stemmed into a fermentation tank where they rested and soaked for 4 days. After a warm fermentation the wine was pressed off of the skins immediately and placed in barrel for its malolatic fermentation. Aged in only French Oak barrels for 18 months with neither fining nor filtering.
About The Winery:
WELCOME TO CANARD VINEYARD: Our vineyard is located at the top of Napa Valley just south of the town of Calistoga. And home to the newest AVA (American Viticultural Area).
One of the newest boutique wineries, 25 years in the making…..
Over 25 years ago, Rich and Carolyn Czapleski purchased the historic Reason P. Tucker Vineyard dating back to 1860.
In 1983 the Czapleski’s started what is now Canard Vineyard, but it was not until the crush of 2006 that they began to create wines exclusively from their vineyard. Rich and Carolyn along with their talented winemaker, Brian Graham, have come together to create unique wines from this fabled vineyard. We hope you agree.
THE CZAPLESKI RANCH: Rich and Carolyn Czapleski have owned Canard Vineyard and Czapleski Ranch for 25 years. They purchased the vineyard and home in 1983 as a weekend getaway. At first, they did not even realize they could sell the 22 acres of grapes, but when word got out that they were thinking of replanting a 6 acre section of Old Vine Zinfandel – the phone calls started. Wineries called wanting to purchase the grapes and urging the Czapleski’s to keep the Old Heritage Zinfandel Vines intact. Most of these vines are well over 100 years old.
Over the years they have been able to nurture the old vines and plant Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc on the remaining acres. For 24 years Ravenswood has purchased the Zinfandel, Cabernet Franc and Merlot and the rest of the grapes have found a home at Mondavi. During that time, Joel Peterson at Ravenswood has made a small amount of special reserve for the Czapleski’s under their Canard label which has been enjoyed by their friends, family and a few restaurants. The name Canard comes from Rich’s nickname-“Duck” – French for duck.
With the vintage of 2006, they decided to try their hands at producing the wines they love to drink. At the 2006 Napa Valley Wine Auction they met winemaker Brian Graham and liked the styles of his hand crafted wines. Brian then joined forces with the Czapleski’s. Since they are so small, they can oversee all aspects of winemaking offering Estate Napa Valley wines at a great value. Their son, Adam, has now started taking over some of the vineyard operations and giving his input into the winemaking.
BRIAN GRAHAM – THE WINEMAKER: The Czapleski’s went looking for a winemaker who could take their philosophy of terrior-driven wines from Napa Valley and produce a balanced wine at a great price. An Estate Napa Valley wine you could afford to drink everyday and that could age for many years to come.
Brian Graham is formally educated in enology at the University of Bordeaux and at The Wine and Spirits Educational Trust in London. He apprenticed at wineries in Bordeaux, Burgundy and Napa Valley. Settling in Napa Valley he now has his own label – Ramian. These experiences have given him the foundation for balanced, terrior-driven wines that can be produced in small lots. He is taking small blocks of Czapleski Vineyard grapes individually blending these lots on a barrel by barrel tasting.
SUSTAINABLE FARMING: The small vineyard offers sustainable farming with and an organic approach. It uses deficit irrigation which allows the vines to create intense wines with depth and focus. The partnership of the Czapleski’s and Brian Graham work toward one common goal in mind to create wines that showcase this exceptional vineyard while remaining respectful of their surroundings.
Appellation: Napa Valley – Calistoga, California
Fermentation: Cold Soaked 4 days prior to fermentation
Aging: 18 months in French Oak (20% New)
Cooperages: Damy, Francois Frère, Demptos
Varietals: 100% Zinfandel – 100-120 Year Old Vines
Cases Produced: 150