Dry Creek Vineyard’s Heritage Zinfandel began as an experiment more than three decades ago. The verdict is in and the experiment is a tasty success.
Heritage Zin began as an experimental project in 1982 to preserve the heritage of very old Zinfandel vineyards. Cuttings from a pre-Prohibition vineyard in Dry Creek Valley were grafted onto disease resistant rootstock. Finally in 1997 the process concluded with a “young vine” that displayed “old vine” Zinfandel characteristics.
The wine was released in 1997 as Heritage Clone Zinfandel. Later the controversial term “clone” was dropped. Today the wine is a beautiful blend of 88% Zinfandel and 12% Petite Sirah that spends 14 months in French, American and Hungarian oak. The average vine age is 30 years.
For us, old vine Zinfandel conjures up images of gnarly old roots producing a few struggling grapes which have delightfully concentrated flavors. This wine delivers that smooth side of Zinfandel with panache.
There is a mixed berry aroma and on the palate there are layers of black cherry, currant and some earthiness. The wine has 13.5% alcohol, which is about a point less than the “big” California reds. This leads to a great balance. The finish is mouthwatering and satisfying.
Dry Creek Vineyard, a pioneering winery in Northern Sonoma, is undergoing a bit of a Zinfandel renaissance. They currently offer the Heritage Zinfandel, Old Vine Zinfandel, Somers Ranch Zinfandel, Beeson Ranch Zinfandel, Spencer’s Hill Zinfandel and even a Late Harvest Zinfandel.
Heritage Zin is a delicious bottle that retails for $19 and is a good choice for an after dinner drink or for a special occasion.
Full Disclosure: This wine was received as a marketing sample.