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Zinfandel, America’s Grape

Zinfandel, America’s Grape

Del Carlo ’05 Dry Creek Zinfandel–Outstanding
Zinfandel-America’s Grape for Independence Day!
Be the first on your planet to experience a new Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel from a grower who’s been around over 100 years. 2005 Del Carlo Estate Zin.

The United States – Land of Opportunity…
Alberto Del Carlo purchased a small farm in the heart of the Dry Creek Valley in 1907 after arriving here from Lucca, Italy. In 1947 Michele and Lucille Del Carlo Teldeschi purchased the ranch but their connection to the Valley goes back to 1929 when 13-year old Michele came to California from his home in Casabaciana, Italy. Michele’s father and grandfather had both worked in the local wine industry (remember our history of the Italian Swiss Colony and the many Italian families who established vineyards in Healdsburg, Asti and Cloverdale) and saved enough cash to send for the family.

Ray and Lori’s Del Carlo “Home Ranch” totals 50 acres of which 26 are planted to (predominantly) Zin, Cabernet, Syrah, Petite Sirah (Petta-Serra to the old timers), Sangiovese, Grenache and Dolcetto. Ray has always adhered to his fathers “sustainable growing practices” allowing the soil and weather to guide him in producing his award-winning grapes.

For over 100 years, superb quality fruit grown on the property has graced the blends of many stellar-rated wines. Most recently, luminaries such as Ridge (for their exclusive “Advanced Tasting Program”) Carlisle, Brogan, Eric Kent and Eno Wines have included specific rows of Del Carlo fruit. Alberto’s Grandson, Ray Teldeschi has farmed the 22 acre vineyard for the last 14 years and in 2005 he, his wife Lori and son Marc made the decision to finally bottle a few hundred cases of hand-harvested Zin made from select blocks of the oldest vines on the property. This, my friends, is a labor of love. The 2005 Del Carlo Dry Creek Zinfandel marks the premiere bottling of a wine which can instantly take the podium with other, long established producers of the region.

From Duxoup to Del Carlo
(and never give an inch)
The 2005 Vintage of Del Carlo is a classic example of a hand-crafted, varietelly spot-on Dry Creek Zinfandel. It was made at (neighbors) Andy and Deborah Cutter’s all-gravity-feed photo-voltaic/organic Duxoup winery in the Dry Creek hills above the Teldeschi Estate. The Cutter’s earthy and delicious Duxoup wines (available on their web-site) have become something of a cult item given Andy and Deb’s (how can I put this) tendency to avoid spending a great deal of energy courting the wine press for attention or ratings. A practice much admired by many veterans in the wine biz, myself included. Years ago a very famous wine-writer came into our shop and asked if I could give him the Cutter’s telephone number and directions to their winery/home. I called Andy and told him who was in the store and his reasons for being there and he told me to say “thank you” but that they were too busy planting their spring garden to give him any time.

Zinfandel – America’s Grape
The 2005 Del Carlo Zin is produced from 89% Estate Old Vine Zinfandel and 11% Petta-Serra (Petite Sirah). The shot of Petite is pert-near common in the DC Valley given the grape’s ability to add a bit of rustic body and deep-purple color to even the biggest Zins. The wine spent 10 months in American oak barrels and was fermented (technically) dry although the ripe, robust fruit and bright, blackberry infused finish would have you thinking otherwise.

Pour the Zin and salute the flag…it’s the 4th of July!
“91+”/RC…Dark purple/black with steaks of purple casting shadow under light; odors of ripe Zin grapes, summer blackberry thicket, cedar and a hint of coconut (American oak will do that); flavors mirror the nose adding a touch of black licorice, black raspberry compote, blueberry reduction, vanilla and sweet oak. The finish is dry yet a perceptible hint of warm, ripe Zin grape-sugars cannot be ignored. Delicious wine will go great with anything off the grill, burgers, pizza or the classic DC-Valley picnic (a marriage made in heaven), Zin, sliced sharp Cheddar and Salami with a sourdough baguette…man oh man that’s a great pairing.

The Del Carlo label is a beautiful and colorful rendering of an ancient, head-pruned Zinfandel vine with a red stripe below and a “torn” edge above adhered to a classic Bordeaux-style bottle with black capsule; a very attractive package.

~ Paul Root Cellars–Date: Jul 3, 2008