Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A Taste Of Americana

Seeing as we just celebrated Labor Day this past weekend, I've decided to write about something "All-American." When I think of wine in the "All-American" frame of mind, I have to think of Zinfandel. I know, I know--you're thinking "Didn't she just do a piece on Zinfandel?" Well, yes, but after I did that, I received even more requests to review Zinfandels! And I'm forever grateful for that because as everyone already knows---I live and breathe for this particular varietal and will forever and ever, Amen... Now--back to my Zinfandel story. When I think of the "All-American" story, I think of a family in small town America, the country house with the white picket fence, planting crops and gardens.

One such family is the Wycoff family, hailing from Calistoga on the northern end of the Napa Valley. (Anyone who's ever visited Calistoga will agree it is a typical small American town with many landmarks and friendly people.) Jim and Susie Wycoff had a dream to grow grapes and make wine on their property. They worked toward mastering the art of winemaking for fifteen years as they raised their "All-American" family (two sons and a daughter), starting off with a small vineyard but eventually expanding and learning on their own. The family created its first vintage in 2005 -- which included the first release of their Grant Street Vineyards Zinfandel along with a 2005 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

Mind you, when I think of Zinfandel, Napa Valley does not ring first however I am learning quickly that there are many great Zinfandels coming from this area and I'm happy to see that. The Wycoff family was brought to my attention by their son Ryan. He offered me a sample of their 2006 Zinfandel to try and I jumped at the chance! I have to say their Zinfandel is very unique and they seem to be on to something very special. Sourced from fruit originating from rootstock of Navone Ranch--Oakville, this Zinfandel is bursting with berries and has almost a floral, herbaceous component I've never sampled in this varietal before. Not jammy or overly alcoholic (14.3%), it has a smooth mid-palate and finishes very spicy making it a great wine to serve with barbecued meats and red-sauced pasta dishes. Really unique flavors. So, where can you find this piece of Americana? The family has a website, www.gsvineyards.com and it can be purchased for $22 per bottle at their online store.

I enjoyed it very much and definitely recommend trying it. A great example of a small production, handcrafted labor of love. In a way, this represents the All-American success story. Really touched by this story, I hope they continue building their legacy for many years to come.

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