I began producing our “Peter Franus Napa Valley Zinfandel” in 2002 to allow me more blending flexibility in the creation of this wine. Rather than highlight a particular vineyard identity, the plan was to create a style of wine that was more immediately approachable and easy going. The vineyard sources have varied somewhat from year to year, but the goal is always the same--to provide a good value, balanced, and delicious wine in a world of Zinfandel that often delivers the opposite.
Several years ago I was fortunate to get to know, Mark Neal. Jack Neal and Son has been farming some of the top vineyards in Napa Valley for decades, and is one of the oldest and most respected vineyard management companies in the valley. And the Neals also just happen to own a Zinfandel vineyard in the prime growing area of Rutherford known for some of the most highly touted Cabernet Sauvignon in Napa Valley. Would I be interested? And by the way the Zinfandel is certified organic. The answer was obvious.
After the marvelous 2012 vintage, we were rewarded again in 2013, with a nearly perfect growing season, and a long ripening period as well. I refer to it a “leisurely” harvest, not forced to pick for fear of rain or extreme heat. When the winemaker is relaxed, so is the wine! As more and more wines from the 2013 vintage are released, the unanimous praise continues to grow.
Medium ruby in color, our 2013 Napa Zinfandel offers enticing notes of wild thyme, dried herb, boysenberry, vanilla and cinnamon, with subtle anise notes in the background. Lively and refreshing are the first palate impressions--often atypical for this variety. Blueberries and cream, butterscotch flavors are kept in check with a precise and angular structure. Refreshing and long on the finish, we continue on our mission to offer Zinfandels that are poised and elegant.
As a winemaker, I produced my first Zinfandel in 1981, so many years of experience guide my production. We enjoy the challenge of those who say, “I don’t like Zinfandel,” and proud of the fact that our Zins are enjoyed in so many countries around the world.