Growers were probably hoping for more from the first vintage of the new Millennium, but the 2000 vintage ended up with good wines, if somewhat variable results overall. Spring was uneventful, and the year started off on the right foot. Overall, the growing season was on the cool side for the summer, after a heat spike in June. Rain during the harvest in late August prompted the only real worries. The harvest was fairly compact and finished in mid-October. Yields were up a tick, as many vineyards planted after the phylloxera problems of the last decade came to fruition.
In mid-September, rain from a tropical storm threatened, but it mainly stayed away and produced only moderate showers. As usual, those who managed their vineyards carefully and kept yields low had the best chance for achieving good degrees of ripeness, and as a result made the best wines. Overall, the coolness of the vintage can show in the wines, with a little more acidity, structure, and restraint than the typical Napa vintage.
Moderately cool temperatures
Temperatures in Napa and Sonoma hit 95°F-108°F
Cool weather and more rain
With no vineyards of its own, Rosenblum Cellars' home base is a giant hangar next to the docks in Alameda. Here, winemaker John Kane directs his focus to Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, and Syrah...but mostly Zinfandel. They like it so much at Rosenblum that they make over 20 varieties. And although these wines come from vineyard sites all over California, the huge range of Zins are reliably rich and extroverted, typically made in a super-ripe, high-alcohol style. Kane took over in 2009 from Kent Rosenblum, the King of Zin.
Bold, assertive red wines often showing jammy fruits and impressively high alcohol
Grilled meats and barbecue
Zinfandel is not the rage it was in the 1980s and early 1990s, as there are now too many wines made from overripe fruit or from young vines, or overwhelmed by excessive use of new barrels. Today's Zinfandel styles range from elegant, taut, and claret-like midweights to superripe and potty behemoths, with off-the-charts alcohol levels, distinctly exotic character, and, frequently, noticeable residual sugar. Classic Zinfandels are normally medium to full in body, with fruit-driven aromas and flavors of fresh berries, black pepper, and spices, sometimes with notes of citrus zest, chocolate, and briary underbrush; they are rarely overwhelmed by oak notes. Many of the best producers continue to work largely with very old vines (some-times with "field blends" that include other grapes such as Petite Sirah and Carignan), which give consistently low crop levels and make wines with atypical creaminess of texture, aromatic complexity, and aging potential.