2019 Bucklin Bambino Old Hill Ranch Zinfandel Field Blend
Wine Spectator | 93 WS
Wine Spectator | 93 WS
Wine Details for 2019 Bucklin Bambino Old Hill Ranch Zinfandel Field Blend
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: Whether it's Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah or Zinfandel, Californian red wine producers have a lovely habit of taking a varietal and expressing its essence in a unique, never before seen way. From Napa Valley to the regions south of Los Angeles, there's a red for everyone - and it's never too late to start exploring.
: The Zinfandel wine grape has prospered in California for over 150 years where it has long reflected the characteristics of the region’s many different climates and terroirs. From Napa Valley to the Sierra Foothills, wherever Zinfandel is grown, it is preserved with care and affection. The red grape varietal and the wine it produces has gone through many stages of development throughout its history, from quick slinging harvest to bottle for miners during the gold rush to the “accidental” inception of white Zinfandel to the fabulous lush offerings from old vines of today.
Considered America’s darling, the quintessential California wine and as American as Apple Pie, Zinfandel, or “Zin” as it is affectionately known, first appeared in the US in the early 19th century. Zinfandel’s emergence upon the US wine industry was accepted full heartedly by consumers and growers alike for its early drinkability and delicious upon release qualities. By the 1860s, rise in quality only allowed the grape to prosper even greater and by the close of the century, Zinfandel was being planted throughout California.
During the 1970s when white wine became popular and when producers were trying to figure out what to do with leftover red grapes, Bob Trinchero of Sutter Home began using the saignee method (bleeding off a portion of juice from crush grapes) to intensify his red Amador County Zinfandel; a technique used frequently in the production of rose wine. The result was a pink juice which he wasn’t quite sure what to do with. On the suggestion of renowned food importer and retailer, Darrell Corti, he bottled and sold it under the name, Oeil de Perdrix (Eye of the Partridge). In 1975, a fortuitous mistake occurred when the fermentation of the saignee method rose “got stuck” rendering a semi-sweet pink wine. He bottled it anyway, name it White Zinfandel, and the rest as they say it is history.
Zinfandel has medium to large, deep blue-black berries that grow in large compact clusters. The varietal is known for its uneven berry ripening, which most growers believe add to the intense and balanced quality of the wine produced. The varietal thrives in warm, dry climates and on hilly terrain with “poor,” well-drained soils. The grape is terroir sensitive and becomes a reflection of the soils in which it is cultivated.
High altitude vineyards and sandy clay-loam soils yield a bold old vine zinfandel with rich, bright raspberry and black cherry fruit complemented by hints of spice and sweet oak that add to its complexity. Fresh fruit characteristics are balanced by lively acidity: hallmarks of the Sierra Foothills.
In the appellation of Lodi, distinctive characteristics of the region are reflected in the wine, with lush berry fruit flavors accented by cocoa and vanilla, soft tannins and a long lingering finish. Dry growing seasons featuring warm days and cool evening breezes offers ideal growing conditions that lead to full-flavored wines. The region’s terroir is composed of sandy loam soils at lower elevations or clay-base at the higher elevations. These well-draining soils produce well-structured wines with intense fruit flavors and rich silky texture.
The coastal mountain range of Mendocino has a myriad of unique micro-climates. High heat during the day, though the proximity to the Pacific Ocean allows cooling in the evenings. This coupled with rich, well-drained soils makes spectacular growing conditions. The wines are a true expression of California with varying but distinctive qualities of mellow, bold or even spicy flavors.
There are approximately 50,000 acres of Zinfandel covering the Golden State, much to the satisfaction of consumers; however Zinfandel remains a niche wine. It does not have the spotlight thrust upon it like Cabernet Sauvignon, or Chardonnay for that matter, though the varietal has an intense “apple of my eye” sentiment following, as well as ZAP (Zinfandel Advocates and Producers) which has taken great strides in preserving and raising awareness of the varietal’s history, from its humble beginnings to the award winning wines of today. The Zinfandel grape remains a strong symbol of the American dream, trudging its way towards success.
: As one of the most prolific and innovative wine regions in the world, America is a joy to explore. Most wine connoisseurs will agree that the nation's finest and most compelling wines are being produced today, which means that we have front-row seats to one of the most inspirational stories in wine history. While other regions tend to focus on specific wine styles and have somewhat strict rules as to which varietals you could grow, areas like California have few such restrictions in place. As a result, creative visionaries behind America's most reputable estates have been able to develop compelling, unique, and innovative styles, with a level of terroir expression that rivals even France's largest giants.
: With a history of wine production that dates back to the 18th century, California currently sits as one of the world's most prolific and reputable wine regions. With an area as vast as California, you can expect a colorful collage of terroir profiles, a series of microclimates, and micro-environments that give the wine a unique, memorable appeal. The region's produce is far from homogenized in that sense, and it would take you countless hours to sample all of it. While the region boasts scars from the Prohibition era, it went through what can only be described as a viticultural Renaissance sometime after the 1960s. At that point, California went from a port-style, sweet wine region to a versatile and compelling competitor on the world market. Today, no matter which way your taste in wine leans, you can find a new favorite producer among California's most talented.
Notable sub-regions include legendary names like Napa Valley and Sonoma County, places that any wine lover would die to visit. California's quintessential warm climate allows for incredibly ripe fruit expressions, a style that provides a stark contrast to Old World-inspired, earthy classics. Even where inspiration was clearly taken from staple French appellations, Californian winemakers put their own unique spin on the wine.