Mission Codename The Countdown
We have another monster great deal on a wine from our good pal, Rudy Zuidema. Today, Rudy offers our Operatives his Alyris Vineyards 2014 “The Audition” Mount George Estate Napa Valley Zinfandel. This wine is a Mega QPR (Quality to Price Ratio) powerhouse with loads of juicy, dark fruit on the nose and palate.
This Zinfandel is a rich and deep garnet from edge to edge with high density that renders it almost completely opaque. The nose is powerfully fragrant with notes of hops, cannabis, hibiscus, anise, wild blackberry, and dusty bramble. There’s quite a bit of spice on the palate with big bramble, blackberry preserves, juicy red plum, butterscotch, and almond. The fruit and barrel flavors are held nicely in balance, with a generous mouthfeel that drives a long finish. All-around tasty. If you’re into lamb then this would be a great wine for the job, and if you’re not, then go with slow-cooked baby back ribs.
About Rudy Zuidema:
Today, as a consulting vineyard manager and winemaker for small estate programs, Rudy combines a passion for agriculture with an expansive knowledge of winemaking. He follows organic and biodynamic farming practices to naturally enhance the flavorful diversity of the estate’s rich tapestry of vineyard blocks. This natural approach continues in the winery, where Rudy emphasizes classic, small-lot techniques and gentle handling to craft balanced wines that embody a sense of elegance, purity, and power.
Rudy was born in Sacramento, California, and grew up in the nearby agricultural community of Davis. Building on a love of the outdoors and an interest in farming, Rudy studied Plant Science and Agricultural Management at the University of California, Davis, where he focused on viticulture.
Upon graduating from UC Davis in 1991, Rudy moved to Napa and took a position at the famed Oakville Grocery. That inspired Rudy’s desire to pursue winemaking. Working alongside wine buyer Mary Danielak, Rudy tasted thousands of wines, refining his palate and expanding his base of knowledge about vineyards, vintages, and winemaking styles.
In 1993, eager to gain hands-on winemaking experience, Rudy traveled to Australia’s McLaren Vale to work at Wirra Wirra Winery. Under the guidance of Australian winemaker, Ben Riggs, Rudy learned techniques for achieving ideal ripeness, cap management, and extraction—techniques that still form his approach to winemaking.
After returning to the United States, Rudy worked for St. Clement Vineyards and White Cottage Ranch under his mentor Dennis Johns. From there he moved on to such respected wineries as Cuvaison and Honig Vineyards, where Rudy was the assistant winemaker working alongside James Hall, of Patz and Hall Wine Company.
In 1996, Rudy joined Robert Craig Winery as winemaker, where he spent the next seven years focusing on terroir-driven Cabernet Sauvignon production from Howell Mountain, Mount Veeder, and the Napa Valley floor. Eager to combine his love of agriculture and winemaking, Rudy moved to a post as the winemaker and vineyard manager for Ehlers Estate from 2003 to 2008.
Today, Rudy consults with a long list of wineries throughout the Napa Valley and the West.
Here’s what the wine press has to say.
92 Points - Virginie Boone, Wine Enthusiast - “Peppery, brambly, integrated and balanced, this impressively layered and complex 100% varietal wine highlights the grape’s ability to be fruity, spicy and soft all at the same time.”
What the Winery Says
2014 "The Audition" Mount George Estate Napa Valley Zinfandel
- Rudy Zuidema
- 100% Zinfandel
- Carneros, Napa Valley
- Cave-aged for 17 months
- 100% French and Hungarian oak barrels (40% new)
- 145 cases