Weekday wine - DeLoach Heritage Reserve Zinfandel

2020 DeLoach Heritage Reserve Zinfandel

Sonoma, California

Regular price: $14 per bottle

Sale price: $11 per bottle

Once upon a time, Zinfandel was the backbone of the California wine industry. I’m talking before White Zinfandel, back when wines were purchased in jugs and the grape varietals weren’t listed on the labels and no one asked or seemed to care what particular vineyard supplied the grapes or how much time was the wine aged in barrel. I’m not saying those were better times, in terms of wine, but they were simpler times, for sure. And in those simpler times, a jug of red wine was often largely composed of old vine Zinfandel from vineyards tended by immigrant Italian farmers in Northern California. Many of those names and families are still around; Seghesio and Mondavi, Carlo Rossi and, of course, Gallo.

Cecil DeLoach wasn’t one of those Italian farmers, but he bought a vineyard in 1970 that had been planted by Itilo Barbieri in 1905, and in 1975, produced his first commercial wine, a Zinfandel, from Barbieri Ranch. DeLoach was an iconoclast and a visionary and at its peak, De Loach Vineyards produced 250,000 cases annually, and owned or leased over 1000 planted vineyard acres in the Russian River Valley. Notable vineyards included Papera Ranch, Pelletti Ranch, Gambogi Ranch, Saitone Ranch and Barbieri Ranch, which were all of mostly Zinfandel plantings from the late 1800s and early 1900s.

This is in many ways, a throwback wine, a wine that summons up memories of those simpler times. No, it’s not in a jug and it does announce its predominant grape variety, Zinfandel, on the label. Yet, much like its historical forerunners, its simply an enjoyable wine, with zero pretense. Fruity and lush, yet not sweet, it's bold berry and plum flavors define it, and the appealing secondary spice notes offer a welcoming contrast. It’s perhaps not the best wine for a momentous occasion or setting, but it’s precisely the right wine for almost any other time. (PW)

Insider’s tip

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