What We Say 2002 Estate Zinfandel
If you are visiting us for the first time, Welcome! The Wine Spies feature one exceptional wine each day – and we only bring you wines that we ourselves seek out and love. Always, the wines are great. Sometimes greater than great, as is the case with today’s wine from Pezzi King Vineyards.
Mission Codename: Zin is in
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Scour Sonoma County for a perfect Zinfandel – and return with a few cases for our Operatives to enjoy
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Pezzi King Vineyards
Wine Subject: 2002 Dry Creek Valley Estate Zinfandel
Winemaker: Gabriella Gazzano
Our Operatives have been clamoring for a great Zinfandel. We sent Agent Red on a mission to Sonoma County to find a superior example of Zinfandel – at a great price. Read his tasting notes and mission report below, and find out how he achieved victory.
Savings Summary: Today we save you $14 per bottle (35% off)
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark garnet, exhibiting a light and bouncy surface, pink edges and thick, branching legs that crawl down the sides of the glass
Smell – Jammy and sweet, with just the right amounts of balanced fruits, vegi and spice. Breathe deeply for a cascade of raspberry, blackberry and cranberry with briar patch, nettle, earth and black pepper
Feel – Light, round and cool at first as the wine glides across your palate, then, slowly, the wines soft to medium tannins grip the tongue gently
Taste – Lavishly layered and fruit-driven, with big flavors of mixed berry, subtle tutti-frutti, sweet wood, earth, soft black pepper and lightest tomato vine
Finish – Initially zingy on the tongue, the flavors and feelings that this wine leaves behind quickly settles down to provide a sweetness that gently tails off as it leaves behind a wonderful soft dryness
Conclusion – I have to say that our Operatives score big with today’s wine. It drinks beautifully now, probably as a result of its vintage date, but is it peaking? I suspect that bottles that you cellar for a few years would only continue to improve. That is, IF you can keep yourself from drinking up your supply beforehand.
I won’t go into too much detail on how I found today’s wine. I’m simply too busy with a number of simultaneous operations to report on the full background. Suffice it to say that the mission was fraught with peril and danger lurked around every corner.
Okay, it wasn’t all that dramatic, but what was dramatic was the reaction that this wine got when I convened a secret tasting panel a few nights ago.
After careful reconnaissance and subsequent negotiation,
Pezzi King allowed me to reach into their library and pull samples of their 2002 Estate Zinfandel for our tasting.
The tasting was conducted at the prestigious [censored] Institute, where Agent Sparkle had been taking advanced training classes. Sparkle convened our tasting panel, which was comprised mostly of fellow students, all of them deeply intellectual, well-studied, and lover’s of fine wine. The gathering was also honored by the presence of an Institute Dean, himself a wine aficionado and trained sommelier.
Bottles of wine lined up, glasses in hand, the tasting commenced. Among the wines were offerings from several different wineries and, after sampling the range, a clear winner emerged.
It was unanimous; The Pezzi King Estate Zinfandel was crowned, well, King Wine of the evening. In fact, so taken were some of the attendees, that I had to set a limit on how many bottles we would allocate to them. After all, we wanted our other Operatives (you) to enjoy today’s wine as well.
I was able to negotiate a very special deal for our Operatives today and this is the final allocation of this great wine. Be sure to get some – before we run out…
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Pezzi King vineyards can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Pezzi King Vineyards
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The Pezzi King Estate Vineyard has produced another powerhouse zinfandel. Flavors of black raspberry, mocha, spicy black pepper and toasty oak. Full bodied and complex, well integrated with an intense finish. Serve with Grilled lamb chops in zinfandel, garlic and honey glaze and rice pilaf. Use the 2002 PKV Estate Zinfandel in the glaze and serve with the meal.
About our Zinfandels:
Zinfandel is the only true American grape – like all Vitis vinifera wine grapes, it’s not native to this country (it’s of Croatian origin), but nowhere else has it made world-class wine, and only America has truly embraced it as its own. And nowhere else in America are conditions better suited to producing superior Zinfandel than Pezzi King’s home: the Dry Creek Valley.
The grape is thin-skinned and late-ripening, with compact clusters. It needs warmth and a long growing season to fully ripen, yet a climate too hot leads to raisiny, overripe fruit. On Dry Creek’s steep hillsides where the Pezzi King estate is situated, cool nighttime temperatures and temperate ocean breezes keep the grapes in ideal balance.
Once the grapes are harvested, they are cold crushed, destemmed, and undergo a “cold soak”, which extracts color and flavor before fermentation begins while retaining the grape’s freshness. After fermentation, the wine undergoes malolactic fermentation in stainless steel tanks before being aged in French and American oak for up to eighteen months.
Pezzi King produces three Zinfandels that are available nationwide: Sonoma County, Dry Creek Valley Old Vines Zinfandel and our Estate Zinfandel, made from a composite of some of the Valley’s best vineyards. Small lots of vineyard designated Zinfandel and an estate-bottled Zinfandel are available online or through our retail office.
History of Pezzi King Vineyards:
James P. Rowe, Sr., is passionate about his Italian heritage. His love of agriculture is rooted in the time spent as a child at his grandfather’s Central Valley ranches, while his family ties are expressed in the name he and his late wife Jane gave their vineyard: Pezzi King combines the names of Jim’s and Jane’s mothers, respectively.
The Rowes established Pezzi King Vineyards in 1993, when Jim discovered a beautiful vineyard nestled in the hills of Dry Creek Valley during a weekend visit from San Francisco. Aware of the vineyard’s superior terroir and captivated by the site’s natural beauty, he purchased the 137-acre estate and undertook its beautiful transformation into one of the leading producers of Zinfandel in the acclaimed Dry Creek Valley appellation.
The first step was restoring the vineyard to its natural, unspoiled potential: Jim Rowe, Sr. immediately eliminated all use of chemicals and implemented all-natural farming techniques. His commitment to quality extended to the winery, as well, which they completely renovated with state-of-the-art equipment.
Today, Jim Rowe, Sr. and his wife, Cynthia, run the winery as a collaborative enterprise. Cynthia Rowe is involved with business planning and strategy for Pezzi King Vineyards.
Jim Rowe, Sr. states his mission for Pezzi King Vineyards directly: “I wanted wines that would be considered among the best in the world. To accomplish this, I had to start with an excellent piece of land and add the right mix of talent and hard work. We’re doing that at Pezzi King and we’ll continue to strive for and achieve excellence in everything we do.”
In 2006, Pezzi King Vineyards won 10 Gold and 5 Silver medals in wine competitions and is among one of the highest rated Zinfandel in the world.
About the Winemaker:
Gabriella Gazzano is no stranger to critically acclaimed Dry Creek Valley Zinfandels. She helped craft them for five years at Fritz Winery in Cloverdale, and the opportunity to make wine for one of the region’s most noted Zinfandel producers is one major reason she agreed to become Head Winemaker for Pezzi King Vineyards. “I started my winemaking career experiencing old-vine Zinfandel at Fritz, and I’m really excited to be back in Dry Creek and work with the wonderful fruit that Pezzi King grows and sources,” said Gazzano.
Varietals: 100% Zinfandel
Vineyard: 100% Dry Creek Valley, Estate Grown
Aged: 15 months in French Oak Barrels (Seguin Moreau, Demptos, Saury, Canton)
Alcohol By Volume: 14.8%
TA: 0.59gm/100ml acidity
Production: 440 cases