by Fred McMillin
for July 23, 1997
An Angelic Zinfandel
Prologue: "I have yet to see the red wine of any variety, which I would prefer to the best samples of Zinfandel produced in California. Unfortunately these BEST samples are like angels visits, few and far between."
... Professor George Husmann, 1888
The Rest of the Story: Kendall-Jackson Winemaker Randy Ullom has made one of those "best samples," his '95 Vintner's Reserve Zinfandel. He did not make it from a single vineyard, but rather took advantage of the different flavors of three different regions. Sonoma's Dry Creek Valley furnished tart blackberry...moderate Mendocino contributed raspberry and spice...warm Amador County added its well-known jammy plum and pepper. It is worth the price of admission simply to try to identify these components.
1995 Vintner's Reserve Zinfandel, California
Postscript: Hats Off to Hussman
White Zinfandel swept the USA in the last two decades. Prof. Husmann anticipated the development by 100 years. In 1888 he wrote, "There are many locations in California where the Zinfandel has been planted, and will not make a first class red wine, where it could be utilized better for white wine. In this case, let the grapes be thoroughly ripe, then crush lightly immediately. The first run of the juice will make a very sprightly light red wine." Right on, Professor!
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