Trinitas Cellars

2004 Bigalow Ancient Vines Zinfandel

Zinfandel •Bigalow Vineyard

California: Contra Costa County

Offer Expired:Sep 16, 2009 at 11:59 pm
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What We Say


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Mission Codename: The Big Ancient

Operative: Agent White

Objective: Revisit Trinitas Cellars and investigate their Ancient Vines Zinfandel

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Trinitas Cellars

Wine Subject: 2004 Bigalow Ancient Vines Zinfandel

Winemaker: Kevin Mills


Zinfandel is often aptly named California’s grape. Its history and lore and the wines that result are often the makings of legend. In this case, Trinitas’ winemaker selected the best old-vine grapes from the historic Bigalow Vineyards in California’s Contra Costa County that was planted 120 years ago. Contra Costa is technically considered part of California’s Central Coast region and is located east of Oakland and north of Livermore.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Deep and dense burgundy and plum in color that when held to the light shows ruby reflections through its clear but dark core. Along the edges the color remains dense lightening just slightly to a garnet-purple. When swirled, fast but fat legs that show hints of this wine’s color descend to the springy wine below

Smell – Medium bold and aromatic in character with spicy and dusty red fruit (raspberry and red cherry) leading off over a classic base of spicy pepper; toasted oak and cedar; and bramble herbal earthiness. As this wine opens hints of mocha coffee and tobacco mix well with the fruit, spice and oak.

Feel – This medium-to-full-bodied and dry wine is initially cool and smooth then at mid-palate the firm but fine-grained and textured tannins spread across the tongue. Good spice and balanced acidity provide an excellent structure that holds this wines flavors through to the finish. Given time, the tannins soften.

Taste – Focused with ripe and tart flavors of red raspberry, red cherry and plum with a spicy white pepper kick. The dusty earthiness combined with the textured tannins creates at great feel-flavor combination that is unique to old-vine Zinfandel. Combine that with oaky vanilla, herbal bramble, dark chocolate, spice, coffee and tobacco and you’ve got a very expressive wine.

Finish – Medium long in length with fruit, spice and other complex flavors framed by this wine’s well structured and rich tannins.

Conclusion – Old Vine Zinfandel is always a treat – its like drinking California’s wine-making heritage. The 2004 Trinitas Bigalow Ancient Vines Zinfandel is just that kind of wine. Bold and rich with real depth and character. A classic nose and flavor profile held together by a nice textured structure and you’ve got a wine that really delivers. Enjoy this wine right now or cellar for up to 5 years.

Mission Report:

Below is a recap of Agent Red’s original mission when he first visited Trinitas Cellars:

Located at the southern end of the Napa Valley, nestled behind the Meritage Resort & Spa and buried in and underground cave, lies a remarkable secret: Trinitas Cellars.

Trinitas first came to my attention while on stakeout during a prior mission. I was on a vetting mission and was keeping an eye on a potential new asset. If this person proved to have the connections that she was reported to, I’d be recruiting her by days end.

I had followed her to the Meritage Resort, when she was having what looked to be a poolside meeting with a group I recognized as some heavy-hitters in the biz. These guys are all business and so I knew that my target must have the chops that her dossier suggested.

A waitress offered me a menu but I politely waved it away. Instead, I simply asked her for a glass of their best house Pinot Noir.

The wine arrived. The waitress set it down on the table in front of me. I handed her a $20 and told her to keep the change. I sat and watched my target for some time before finally picking up the wine.

I inhaled deeply – and the hairs on my neck stood up. This, I could tell, was one excellent wine! I spent the next several minutes enraptured by the wine. It was a young wine, I could tell, but it was very impressive.

When I finally looked up, my target was gone! How could I let myself be so distracted? On scanning the area, my eyes came to rest on an anomaly in the landscape; The hill that sat behind me, over my right shoulder, was obviously manmade. I had seen enough ‘hills’ like this to know that it was a wine cave!

I got to my feet and dashed toward the hill. Cleverly concealed as it might have been, I quickly found the entrance. Once inside I made my way through the cavern, eventually finding – a full tasting room!

And there, at the bar, was my target and her cohorts.

The woman behind the bar beamed at me and said, “Welcome to Trinitas Cellars!”

Trinitas, eh? This requires deeper investigation…

Agent Red, out!

Agent White, reporting:

Is Agent Red losing it? Does he need glasses? The sign above the wine cave clearly reads, “Trinitas Cellars”. At least he returned to HQ with samples of that Pinot Noir. The Pinot, of course, turned out to be a 2007 Carneros Pinot Noir from Trinitas – and today we are proud to present you with an opportunity to try this special wine for yourself.

As for Agent Red and his mission worthiness, we are recommending that he be placed under closer scrutiny. His wine-finding skills are still top-notch, but his methods and his reports leave just a tad to be desired!

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The location of the Trinitas Callears cave tasting room and winery can be seen, behind the Meritage Resport & Spa, in this satellite photo.

What the Winery Says

About This Wine:

The 2004 Bigalow Zinfandel is a powerful wine expressing the wonderful dusty raspberry and blackberry flavors, which exemplify the Oakley terrior, with additional characteristics of white pepper, coffee and chocolate nuances. Aging in new and used wood has lent this wine a subtle vanilla quality that complements nicely the explosive fruit notes. Enjoy this wine presently for its effusive black fruit, or cellar for 5 to 7 years. This Zinfandel is an integration of the best climate, soil types and winemaking, which is an expression of the Trinitas philosophy.

THE VINEYARD: The Bigalow Vineyard was named after the original family who planted the vines. Located in the town of Oakley in Contra Costa County, this 120 year-old vineyard is dry-farmed and grown in Delhi Sand series loam soil, which is similar to beach sand. These vines produce a mere 1.5 to 2.5 tons of fruit per acre and are some of the first grapes to arrive into the winery. This vineyard also produces a small amount of Mataro (5-7%), which is field blended throughout this 12 acre block of Zinfandel.

VINTAGE: The 2004 vintage has been labeled by many as an inconsistent year but those who were patient reaped the benefits. The growing season was delayed by a wet cold April causing inconsistent berry formation in some sites ultimately resulting in low yields. The summer months were a rollercoaster of hot and cold temperatures and on September 3rd a spectacular storm shook Northern California. The storm was followed by severe heat in mid-September. For the finale, normal warm weather helped achieve the flavors, colors and ripeness that winemaker’s desire. Despite such a nail biting season the 2003 vintage was a success with ripe bright flavor and supple tannins.

WINEMAKING: A pre-fermentation cold soak with traditional pump-over cap management preserved the unique fruit qualities of this wine. After malolactic occurred in neutral wood, an addition of 20% new American oak and 10% new French oak were used to enhance the spice flavor components and to frame the fruit with added structure in the mid-palate. During 14 months of aging this wine was racked once and only lightly filtered before bottling

About The Winery:

Trinitas Cellars celebrates the connection among sun, soil and humanity by working closely with its grower society throughout Northern California to source a broad range of varietals from the regions where climate and soil conditions are most favorable. Small quantities of these exceptional-quality grapes are then handcrafted into an approachable California-style wine to be enjoyed as an aperitif or with food. The Busch family balances their resources to grow their business and benefit the community and their faith, by honoring and serving God in all they do.

Trinitas, the Latin word for Trinity, is the fundamental principle of Christianity. Trinity also symbolizes Sun, Soil & Humanity, which are the three ingredients evoking the perfect wine. It further reflects the triumvirate of the Wine Country lifestyle, Meritage Resort & Spa, and Trinitas wines.

About The Winemaker:

Kevin Mills – Kevin Mills grew up in Oklahoma where he and his family have grown vines since 1977. After years of hard work and many “interesting” wines they decided to go to school. Kevin enrolled in Grayson County College’s Viticulture and Enology program at Denison, Texas and together started Canadian River Winery. Kevin met Tony Peju of Peju Province Winery and mentored under then Peju Winemaker Sean Foster for four and a half years. Kevin took the winemaker position for Trinitas Cellars in January, 2007. His emphasis is to mainstream Trinitas with top tier Bordeaux and Burgundy varietals. Kevin has introduced Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Cabernet programs to the Trinitas Portfolio.

Technical Analysis:

APPELLATION: Contra Costa County

ALCOHOL: 14.5%

TOTAL ACIDITY: 0.77 g/100 ml

pH: 3.55


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