As in the rest of the wine making world, it seems each region in California takes on its own personality. Certain grapes tend to fair better in certain regions. The Mayacamas mountains for its big Cabernets, the central coast for its rich Pinot noir, the Carneros district for its luscious Chardonnay and Amador County for its big (red) Zinfandel. This month’s domestic red is one of the best I have had from the Amador district.
In 1969, Ann Story realized a dream and opened the Story Vineyards overlooking the Consumnes River. She married John Ousley in 1982 and in 1990 the couple needed their freedom and set out to sell the winery. Enter Bruce and Jan Tichenor; both pharmacists (good background for winemaking) from the San Francisco Bay area. You see, Bruce and Jan had been making wine at home and decided that retail pharmacy wasn’t nearly as much fun as winemaking and they, at the same time as the Ousleys, realized they needed a change. In March of 1992, a perfect match was made, the Ousleys sold to the Tichenors (our vintage was made under the Ousleys reign).
The Story vineyard sits on a plateau in the Sierra Nevadas at about 1,500′ of elevation overlooking the river. Black, Blue and Live oak trees surround the picnic area from where visitors can eat lunch and relax while watching the river flow.
The vineyards are a story (no pun intended) themselves. Ranging from 5-75 years in age, they are planted on their own rootstock (ie. phyloxerra has not visited there).
Zinfandel has unknown origins. Some say it is an indigenous Italian grape, others suggest that it is of Hungarian roots. No doubt, however, that it grows best in California. And its versatility is its own. This grape makes light fruity blush wines (white Zinfandel), hedonistic desert wines (port), and luscious red wines (as in our selection).
This Zinfandel starts with a clear garnet red color deceivingly light. The nose is full of berries and spice (cinnamon, pepper and vanilla). The age of the vines shows off in the mouth. Full bodied with rich concentrated fruit (berries and cherries) and spice (cinnamon and vanilla). The finish is smooth with vanilla and cherry lingering.
Serve at room temperature with chicken in cherry sauce, or a pasta with sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, Romano cheese and artichoke hearts.
Cellaring notes: Already three years old, will hold for 2 more.