This mountain-grown Zin’s elegant nature is apparent from the first whiff. Deep aromatics of blackberry and vanillin oak appear with just a touch of white floral in the background. From the silken texture emerge delicious flavors of brambly blackberry, dark cherry, and plum layered with hints of pomegranate, cardamom, white pepper and a mouthwatering minerality. Perfectly balanced with seamlessly integrated tannins and oak, this refined Zinfandel exemplifies the sophistication that’s possible but rarely achieved with this varietal.

We have a history with mountain wines and mountain vineyards going back to 1979 when I first laid eyes on Mount Eden Vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountains and fell in love with the intensity of mountain fruit. I carried that devotion for mountain wines with me when I moved up to Dry Creek Valley in 1983 to develop a vineyard and build my house on Bradford Mountain.

This wine encapsulates all of the best qualities found in mountain-grown Zinfandels from the Dry Creek Valley appellation. Poorer soils and colder nights harness and preserve more of the bright acidity and freshness in the grapes. More sunlight hours at the higher elevation means darker, richer fruit. Unlike benchland Zins, mountain Zins have a peppery quality and more black fruit character (think wild blackberry).

The 2014 Zinfandel brings together a few elements from different blocks in our newer plantings. In the winery, we chose to blend in Petite Sirah, Carignane and Grenache six months before bottling, to enhance the structure and complexity of the wine, without overwhelming its inherent “Zinniness” or the mountain terroir.

Enjoy pairing this elegant beauty with a perfectly grilled rib-eye steak served with a side of sautéed onions and mushrooms, or a pomegranate-marinated leg of lamb with couscous.