2007 Quackenbush Mountain Vineyards Zinfandel
Zinfandel •Quackenbush Mountain Vineyards
California: Lake County
What we say
Today’s wine delivers exceptional value, earning it this QPR (Quality to Price Ratio) alert. Whenever a wine rises above its price class, we issue such alerts.
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Mission Codename: If it quacks like a Zin
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to our good friends at Rutherford Grove, and acquire an allotment of their delicious Lake County Zinfandel.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Rutherford Grove Winery and Vineyards
Wine Subject: 2007 Quackenbush Mountain Vineyards Zinfandel
Winemaker: Andy Pestoni
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. Napa Valley Zinfandels, characterized by their big, extracted flavors, are among the most popular with our Operatives.
Regional Backgrounder: The Red Hills Lake County AVA is distinguished by red volcanic gravelly soils and a distinctive lake-land effect breeze/wind that moderates temperatures. The Quackenbush Mountain Vineyard sits at 2000-foot elevation, making it one of the highest Zinfandel vineyards in the region.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark garnet with a dark but clear core. Near the edge of the glass, the wine shows a soft cherry color. After swirling, slow, skinny tears start high on the glass – and slowly make their way downward.
Smell – Jammy blackberry and Bing cherry jump out of the glass. These are soon joined by bramble, wild raspberry, subtle savory herbs and toasty oak. After some additional swirling, hints of black licorice and white pepper emerge.
Feel – Lightweight across the tip of the tongue, he wine quickly digs in at the mid-palate, coating the mouth and adding a soft, flinty dryness. Present are fine and well developed tannins with a soft acidity and a hint of minerality. As the wine opens up and breathes, it becomes more plush and round while retaining its tannic structure.
Taste – Dark, ripe and rich, this wine leads with young blackberry, plum and black cherry compote. These are supported toasty oak with vanilla hints, anise and red currant. After the wine stretches out, more subtle components appear, including dried leaves, soft dark herbs and white pepper.
Finish – A medium long finish, leading with black fruits and then transforming to red fruit and earthen components. Subtle herbs and white pepper are supported by the balanced structure of the wine.
Conclusion – The 2007 Quackenbush Mountain Vineyards Zinfandel from Rutherford Grove Winery and Vineyards, is delightful wine that took us by surprise. It delivers a great drinking experience for a really great price. Especially at today’s price. Terrific fruit on the nose and palate lead the way to a soft complexity that had us discussing its virtues for a long time. This wine is very easy to drink, so be’ warned’; You may find yourself going through your stash quickly. Pair with grilled marinated steak or BBQ Chicken, drenched in zesty sauce. This wine has the acidity to cleanse the palate, while also standing up to heartier foods.
_Alas, Andy Pestoni was too darn busy – making wine or some such – to spend time with us, for an interview today. We’ll be sure to nab him, the next time we feature another great Rutherford Grove wine._
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Rutherford Grove Winery and Vineyards can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the winery says
About This Wine:
Our 2007 vintage opens with aromas of raspberry and a hint of cinnamon. It enters the palate with nicely balanced dark berry and earthy tones complimented with a velvety finish.
Vineyard Notes: Quackenbush Mountain Vineyard sits at an altitude of 2,000 feet on a rocky slope overlooking the eastern shore of Clear Lake. With its ideal red clay and fractured basalt, this location benefits from the cool lake breezes. This slows the ripening process, allowing the fruit to reach the balance and intensity we look for in a mountain wine.
Our vines, all heirloom selections of Zinfandel and Petite Sirah, are planted with budwood gathered from some of the oldest existing plantings in California. Our grandfather, Albino Pestoni, and great uncles made their robust wines with these types of grapes under similar conditions… one of the blocks even originates from uncle Fred’s old ranch.
About The Winery:
Nestled in the heart of the Napa Valley, Rutherford Grove Winery and Vineyards invites you to enjoy our wines, stroll through our gardens, or stay for an afternoon picnic. Conveniently located on Highway 29, we welcome visitors daily from 10am to 4:30pm. Prior appointment for tasting is not required for groups fewer than 8.
About The Winemaker:
Andy Pestoni is the fourth generation of his family to live and work in the Napa Valley. Born and raised in St. Helena, today he directs the winemaking for Rutherford Grove Winery’s Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petite Sirah, Sangiovese and Sauvignon Blanc. The winery’s total production is 10,000 cases a year and the wines are estate-grown from 50 acres of vineyards in the Rutherford and Howell Mountain appellations. The family came to the Napa Valley in the late 1880’s from the Ticino region of Switzerland, from the town of Monte Carasso.
“Even though I have winemakers in my family history, I didn’t think I’d grow up to be a winemaker,” Andy smiles. He caught the ‘wine bug’ working harvests at Beaulieu Vineyard while attending college. He went on to work in the cellar at Ferrari-Carrano in Sonoma County for several years. While he was at Ferrari-Carrano his father and uncle bought a winery formerly known as Rutherford Vintners, in the town of Rutherford, and asked Andy to ‘come home’ and help them launch it as a new family winery. Ray Corison joined the team for the first few years as a winemaking consultant, as did Bob Pepi; from the 1996 vintage on, though, Andy has directed all winemaking operations.
Wine Type: Red Wine
Varietal: Zinfandel & Petite Sirah
Appellation: Lake County
Aging: 24 Months in Oak Barrels