Gnarly Head Zinfandel
The wine’s opaque blackish purple color gives you an idea of how concentrated it is. Intense aromas of black fruit, plums and cherry with a whiff of licorice explode out of the glass. It’s jammy and rich on the palate with luscious tannins and a hint of spice and vanilla from the French and Hungarian oak.
$22.00 / Bottle $264.00 / Case
SALE $9.99 / Bottle $119.88 / Case
When temperatures begin to drop, we can’t eat outside on the patio any more. Everything moves inside and cuisine changes from light refreshing salads to simmering stews and casseroles.
Luscious Napa vineyards.
The wines that bring so much pleasure in warm weather often don’t stand up to this heavier food. Besides, it warms body and soul to snuggle up in a soft sweater and sip a full-bodied wine while the wind is howling outside.
Zinfandel, the real thing, the red stuff - not the fruity, sweet pink wine that you might like in the summertime - is the perfect fall wine. Look for old vine cuvées (like Gnarly Head), they really show off Zinfandel’s true character.
Older vines don’t produce as many grapes, so the few bunches that are on each vine are really concentrated. Also, the root systems are generally much deeper, and this gives the vines an advantage in the long hot summers.
There are still quite a few blocks of old Zinfandel vines in California, holdovers from the early days. In fact, for a long time it was believed that Zinfandel was an American original (unlike Chardonnay originally from Burgundy or Cabernet that came from Bordeaux).
Even though modern DNA testing has allowed some smart scientists to track down Zinfandel’s origins to the coast of Croatia and have linked it to southern Italy’s Primitivo grape, we still think that there is nothing else in the world like an old vine Zinfandel from California.
Gnarly Head’s Zinfandel comes from an old vineyard (Block 9) in northern Napa Valley that the Delicato Family has farmed since 1906. The wine gets its name from the gnarly, knotted, head pruned vines. Head pruning is the old-fashioned way vines were trained, before wire trellising appeared.
For maximum enjoyment, open this wine up an hour or two before you serve it. This "breathing time" allows the aromas to open up so they explode out of the glass when you lift it to your nose.
Braised short ribs, Chicken Cacciatore, grilled Portobello mushrooms with blue cheese or just plain pasta with a hearty tomato sauce would all taste delicious when served alongside this wine.