2004 Von Weidlich Zinfandel
Zinfandel •Von Weidlich
California: Sonoma County: 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 has successfully produced fine zinfandels for so long due to the people that have put their hearts and souls into perfecting every step of the winemaking process. From growing and harvesting the grapes to making and bottling the wine, we here at Ottimino are proud of our combined heritage that brings these great wines to you.
We have built slowly on Ottimino Cristiani’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!
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.
Ottimino produces dry farmed Zinfandel from the cooler climates of the Sonoma Coast. Dry farming the grapes forces the roots to grow deep into the soil to find their own source of water and nutrients. This reduces the stress we put on the environment by not wasting water, and also buffers the vines from seasonal variations in temperature and rainfall.
Growing Zinfandel in a cool climate increases the time it takes to ripen the grapes, creating fuller flavors at lower sugars, and producing wines with less alcohol, more developed flavors and better acid balance than the hotter regions most notable for Zinfandel.