T here’s nothing I love better than to dig in the cellar and pull out a wine that has aged nicely. Don’t get me wrong. I love fresh, young wine, bursting with fruit and tannins. But there’s something about an aged wine that just can’t be matched by wine that has just been released. As I age, I seem to appreciate that even more.
I had to stay home Thursday night, so I dug deep to find Spelletich Cellars Zinfandel 2002 to go with the spaghetti pie I had made. I bought the wine a couple of years ago from the winery for about $25. I loved it when it was young, but it has gotten so much better over the years. The teenaged boys in our house wolfed down the spaghetti pie, and I loved the way it matched the wine. (I had the same wine the night before with homemade vegetable beef soup and it matched up just as well.)
I know mellow is an overused word, but that is the perfect description of this wine. Mellow, and lush, with rich, deep fruit. All the hard edges from the oak and tannin have been smoothed out. What’s left is the beautiful blackberry, black cherry and plum flavors. Everything’s in perfect order. This wine probably is at its peak now, so if you are lucky enough to have some in your cellar, drink it now.
The wine is 100% Zinfandel from Alviso Vineyard in Amador County, California. It was aged for 12 months in American and French oak. Amador County has a well-deserved great reputation for Zinfandel. The county has the climate that lets the grapes ripen fully while maintaining the acidity needed to hold the flavors together.
I’m not sure if this wine is available locally, but if it is, you should buy it. The 2004 vintage is sold out, but the 2005 vintage might be available soon. They also make a Cabernet Sauvignon, a Reserve Cabernet, a Chardonnay and a blend called Bodog Red, which is Zinfandel, Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon aged in French and Hungarian oak.
Spelletich was started with the 1994 harvest in Napa Valley. Timothy and Barb Spelletich both had extensive history in the wine industry before starting their winery. They are joined by their daughter Kristen, who spent 10 years working in the wine industry before joining the family business.
The 2004 version of the Zinfandel spent 16 months in oak. Only 618 cases were made, compared to 1,383 cases in 2002, so it’s easy to see why this wine is sold out. I would try any Spellitich wine you can find. They know what they are doing.
From: Amador County, California