2003 Trinitas Zinfandel Bigalow Vineyard Contra Costa County

Trinitas Zinfandel Bigalow Vineyard Contra Costa County

One of the original "Zin Masters," Trinitas founder and winemaker Matt Cline pioneered old-vine winemaking back in the early 1980s. At the time, Matt had just earned his degree in enology from U.C. Davis and was looking to make his mark. He ended up in his family's backyard, examining the vines that his grandfather Valeriano Jacuzzi, an Italian immigrant and early settler of Oakley, had planted back at the turn of the last century. Matt's discovery of grandfather's precious old-vine Zinfandel and Mataro turned out to be the beginning of something wonderful: Cline Cellars.

Old Vine ZinWhen Cline Cellars got to be a huge operation, Matt left and cofounded Trinitas, where he could return to his roots get back to what he liked best: producing small, unique bottlings from special old-vine parcels. Matt's the Indiana Jones of California winemaking, part archaeologist, part winemaker, he's spent the last twenty-plus years scouring the state for the best old-vine plantings in Contra Costa, Lodi, and the Dry Creek Valley. (Matt even discovered one row of superb old vines that had been planted in a residential neighborhood in the 1950s by a real estate agent who was trying to dress up three adjacent houses he had on the market.)

The soil in the 120-year-old Bigalow Vineyard looks exactly like (and is no more fertile than) typical beach sand. But vineyard's old vines reach deep underground where they access just enough water to keep alive. As a result, this vineyard produces clusters of tiny berries that are packed with concentrated fruit flavors.

There's nothing quite like Calfornia's best old-vine Zins. This 2003 Trinitas Bigalow Vineyard Zinfandel is a powerful wine that expresses the wonderful dusty raspberry and blackberry flavors (a classic expression of its Oakley terroir), with additional characteristics of white pepper, coffee, and chocolate nuances. Matt aged this wine in new and used wood to give it a subtle vanilla quality that nicely complements the explosive fruit notes. Enjoy this wine presently for its effusive black fruit, or cellar for up to 5 years.

Suggested Food Pairings:
Zinfandel like this demands barbecue--preferrably Santa Maria style. Lots of pulled pork, beans, cornbread, and hot sauce.