Rock Star California Zinfandel Wineries
California has always been the premiere state in the U.S. for wine production, and probably will be for a very long time. With so many different vineyards, climates, and growing conditions all throughout the state, there are thousands of different wines being produced in California. With that being said, we wanted to highlight one beautiful varietal- the Zinfandel- and some of the awesome California wineries creating it.
The Robert Biale Vineyards were started in 1991 by Robert Biale, his father Aldo Biale, and partners Dave Pramuk and Al Perry. Aldo Biale had a history of winemaking, as he learned to produce Zinfandel under the radar after the Great Depression. He had to keep things on the down low, so he created the code name “Black Chicken,” which is the Italian folkloric symbol for wines from Chianti. This is where the inspiration for their incredibly popular Black Chicken Zinfandel came from.
Now, the family has vineyards in Napa Valley and Sonoma, producing mostly Zinfandel and Petite Syrah, along with some interesting blends. Their resident winemaker is Trester Goetting, a 26-year veteran Napa Valley enologist and viticulturist who has made his mark amongst many Napa wineries.
Larry Turley began his winemaking career as half-owner of Frog’s Leap Winery in California in 1981. He grew very fond of old vineyards, especially those producing Zinfandel and Petite Syrah, decided to start his own winery focused on vintage vines, and thus Turley Wine Cellars was created. Now, Turley produces 28 separate wines from 35 vineyards, some with vines dating back to the 1800s.
Still focusing on Zinfandels and Petite Syrahs, Turley Wine Cellars have all organic vineyards and use only natural yeasts for fermentation. Tegan Passalacqua, head of winemaking, has spent time in vineyards all over the world and is now responsible for all 35 vineyards at Turley.
Dashe Cellars, in Oakland, California, was started by husband and wife Michael and Anne in 1996. Each of their many vineyards is specifically chosen because of their steep hillsides, vigor-reducing growing conditions, and old vines. Many of their wines are created using non-traditional winemaking techniques like small-lot fermentation, indigenous yeasts, and little to no filtration.
While they aren’t focused on just one varietal, with their wine selection including classic reds and even some dry whites, their main focus is the single-vineyard Zinfandels. Founder Michael Dashe is still the head of winemaking at Dashe Cellars, having worked all over the world, learning everything he possibly could about fermentation since the age of 15.
Check out our Big Apple Zinfandel Experience on June 7th!