2016 Zinfandel Sierra Foothills
California’s nascent wine industry took flight during the Gold Rush of the 1850s, amid the rugged western foothills of the majestic Sierra Nevada mountain range. As fortune seekers, many of them Italian immigrants, flocked to the Sierras to prospect for gold, small wineries arose to help slake their thirst. Some of the vineyards planted during that era survive to this day.
In the late 1960s, a new generation of pioneers began migrating to the Gold Country’s Amador County, this time drawn by the region’s rolling, sun-drenched hillsides, warm daytime temperatures, and volcanic, decomposed granite soils – ideal conditions for producing top-quality wine grapes. When their robustly flavored wines, especially Zinfandel, began attracting the attention of wine lovers throughout California and the U.S., the historic Sierra Foothills wine region was reborn.
The Sierra Foothills has a long, unique history. In the 19th century, Italian immigrants flocked to the foothills during the California Gold Rush. When the mines ran dry, the immigrants planted grape vines and began making wine. The region is revered for its Zinfandel vines, many of which date back to the early 20th century. Today, where gold once reigned, some forty wineries produce a new treasure: superb wines which have earned this region international acclaim.
The 2016 Red Zinfandel from the Sierra Foothills displays expressive characteristics of bright candied plums, allspice, dark chocolate, soft leather and subtle hints of blueberry jam. The wine’s medium-bodied mouthfeel, silky tannins and moderate acidity balance the up-front fruit and create length on the finish.
The medium-bodied Zinfandel offers more fruit flavors and tannins. The aging and fermentation process increases the fruity character, balance, and complexity of the wine while revealing the spicy nature of the varietal and offers a longer finish. Foods to pair with Zinfandel include sausage, beef, lamb, pork and venison, either braised, grilled or roasted. The lower tannin in this wine can accommodate some heat from chiles, so ribs with a spicy barbecue sauce are considered almost a classic match. Zinfandel-friendly cheeses include aged Parmesan, Dry Monterey Jack and Manchego. Other ingredients that enhance Zinfandel are tomatoes, eggplant, mushrooms and olives.