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Taking the High Road to High Valley

While there is some contention as to how and by whom the Zinfandel grape was introduced to California from Europe in the mid 1800’s, it remains one of the “golden state’s” signature varietals. Whether this exotic black variety has been made into full-bodied reds, currently popular, or a foray into providing the key ingredient for producing huge quantities of sweet pink wine called White Zinfandel in the latter part of the 20th Century, “Zin is still in,” big time. After more than 150 years of questioning its origins, through DNA finger printing, it was irrefutably demonstrated that Zinfandel is one and the same as the Primitivo grape, mainstay of southern Italy. Hailing from their estate vineyards in the High Valley viticultural area of Lake County, north of Sonoma, Zinfandel is a respected staple in Shannon Ridge Winery’s product line up. Grown at elevations between 490 and 915 meters above sea level, the slightly cooler micro-climate, combined with significant day to night temperature swings, means the grapes retain a refreshing acidity. This serves as a counter balance to the fuller body and slightly higher alcohol levels one gets with Zinfandel. The dark fruit bouquet, and then the body with nicely integrated spice and smoke elements, provide a long smooth finish. Since Lake County is also cattle country, let’s serve this wine with a “cowboy cut” steak, a thick, bone-in ribeye meant for two.       


2019 High Valley Vineyard Zinfandel #22033, $24.95.