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blog swirl & savor

Wine of the Moment, August Briggs Napa Valley Old Vine Zinfandel

Beth Ribblett

Winemaker August "Joe" Briggs will be paying us a visit this week, so I thought it only fitting to write about one of his specialities, his Napa Valley Zinfandel.  Joe has been producing under his own label since 1995, and before that was the winemaker for La Crema as well as a few famous spots in the Willamette Valley.  He produces a total of 16 different wines, all in small quantities from some of the most legendary vineyards of the North Coast. 

The 2008 Napa Valley Zinfandel is a blend of three different vineyards. The first, the Luvisi vineyard, was planted in 1908 and is located just across the street from the winery. The other two are blocks of the Frediani Vineyard, also located in Calistoga, about 200 yards south of the winery on the Silverado Trail. The “old” Frediani vineyard block was planted sometime in the 1940s and the “new” block was planted in the 1950s. All three vineyards are head-trained and dry-farmed, thus yielding small, very concentrated Zinfandel grapes.

Each block was harvested and fermented separately. The clusters were hand sorted before being de-stemmed into open-top fermenters, and punched-down twice daily by hand. Following fermentation and pressing, they were inoculated for malo-lactic fermentation and barreled down. The barrels used were 30% new American oak, and 70% two to three year old French oak barrels and aged for 16 months. Due to the damaging spring frosts, Only 420 cases were produced.

From the winery:  "Our Zinfandel is flashy & fragrant with aromas of ripe black berry, black cherry, plum, cedar, and mocha oak tones. On the palate, it is rich & expressive with flavors of dark berry fruit and hints of coffee-mocha. This Zin is a bit old school in style showing great depth, but also having a balanced well structured finish."  $38 

Try this wine and 4 others with Joe on Wednesday, October 20 from 6-8pm.  The tasting is free and open to the public.