2004 Von Weidlich Zinfandel
Zinfandel •Von Weidlich
Russian River Valley
Little Big Eight
Ottimino Zinfandels have become a Wine Spies Operative favorite, setting sales records and selling out, each time we showcase them. We have had the great fortune to get our hands on newer vintages of their wines so when I was offered the special opportunity to raid their cellar, I was just thrilled!
Today’s 2004 Ottimino Von Weidlich Vineyard Zinfandel is astoundingly great. Rich, sweet, multi-layered and ultra-delicious, this juicy wine is showing beautifully. And, we expect it to become even better in the bottle, for the next couple of years.
This perfectly-aged Zin is a true masterpiece and we offer it up with our heartiest recommendation. If you’ve enjoyed Ottimino’s Zins in the past, you will be absolutely delighted by today’s offering. Pair this very food friendly as you would your favorite Zinfandel. We enjoyed our review bottles with BBQ ribs, right off the grill and slathered with a spicy BBQ sauce.
Dark ruby red with glinting maroon edges. Color is perfectly concentrated through its slightly darker, crimson heart. Heavy and bouncy looking, when swirled, this wine continues to spin long after you stop swirling it. When it settles down, it leaves behind slow-moving, chubby, wine-stained tears.
Bold intensity and deeply aromatic with spicy black cherry, ripe plum, ripe blackberry, tobacco, leather and sweet spice. As the wine opens up, follow-on aromas include wild fennel, butterscotch, cigar box and black pepper.
Ultra flavorful, delicious and very juicy, with bright red cherry, raspberry, wild strawberry and boysenberry. Beneath these are red plum, tobacco leaf, supple leather, blueberry, soft exotic spice, white pepper and flinty black pepper.
Ultra long, juicy and filled with sweet red fruit flavors. As fruits fade, tobacco, leather and spice appear along with a flinty black pepper at the very end.
What the Winery Says
Von Weidlich Vineyard
Purchasing the property in 1969 from the Morelli family, Robert Von Weidlich became what was only the second owner of the land. The Zinfandel portion of the vineyard had been planted in 1937, grafted from vines originally brought by Italian immigrants in 1884.
Robert planted additional vines in 1969, selecting budwood from the 1937 planting. He refers to these as “German-pruned,” meaning the vines are head-trained but with a goblet of canes about four feet above the soil. Both the older planting and the German pruned vines are dry-farmed, with all weed removal and pruning done by hand. Von Weidlich Vineyard is located about half a mile from Ottimino and Rancho Bello Vineyards, and as such benefits from both the banana belt climate and Goldridge sandy loam soil.
Vineyard Designation: Von Weidlich
Blend: 100% Zinfandel
Appellation: Russian River Valley
Aging: Eighteen months in French oak
Barrel Age: 35% new/65% 1- & 2-year-old
Cases Produced: 601
About the Winery
Ottimino’s land is a land of dreams. When he came to America in 1913, Ottimino “Little Eight” Cristiani, so called because he was the last and smallest of eight children, had big ambitions. He made his home on a beautiful ridge above Green Valley and forged a life on new soil. He planted the land, especially proud of the vines that nurtured the grapes made into wine for his family’s table. Ottimino became a favorite in the area, and always spoke proudly of his vines.
Eventually Ottimino’s time came to pass, as all things must. But along the way one of the friends he made was California native Brad Alper, who had moved from Los Angeles to Sonoma County in 1987. Possessing a similar dream, Brad’s first grapes grew as Ottimino’s time was coming to an end, and the legacy was passed on. Brad eventually expanded his vineyards, and consulted with other grape growers on Ottimino’s ridge. In time, he knew that all these grapes would need a winemaker to bring their uniqueness to light.
His inquiries led him to veteran winemaker Bill Knuttel, who instantly knew that Brad’s (and Ottimino’s) dream would soon become their passion. They have built slowly on Ottimino’s legacy, as befits the traditions of Old World quality and craftsmanship, but the results are now for all to see…and taste and enjoy!
Since forming Ottimino Winery in 1999, their goal has been the same: To produce premium Zinfandel using only the highest quality grapes and winemaking practices, with Ottimino’s passion for life and winemaking serving as inspiration.
Winemaker William Knuttel
Long time California wine- maker William Knuttel has concentrated on ultra-premium wine making for the majority of his wine career. Knuttel’s philosophy has long been to make an enormous range of wines in various styles in any given vintage, for the simple reason that a winemaker only gets to make a limited number of vintages over his lifetime. This wealth of experience has led directly to his adherence to traditional winemaking practices.
He consults for numerous wineries, for whom he produces a broad stable of labels across many varieties of Napa and Sonoma wines. He is Executive Winemaker for Dry Creek Vineyard, where he has completely re-honed the styles and quality of that winery’s extensive portfolio. His career includes being owner/winemaker of Tria, founded in 1993 and VP/Winemaker at Chalk Hill Winery from 1996 to 2003 as well as being Saintsbury’s winemaker from 1983 to 1996, establishing that brand as an international leader in high-end Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.