Experiencing ZD Wines

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 10-18-2018

ZDWinesThe most exciting thing about a bottle of wine is the potential it holds for fostering community, intimacy, and relationship. As I said before, nobody drinks wine in a vacuum. We empty our glasses in all kinds of places, among friends, family, and even strangers.

This past month I received three bottles from ZD Wines, a Napa Valley producer that’s celebrating its 50th anniversary this harvest. My wife and I even used one of the bottles as an occasion to get to know our neighbors.

2016 ZD Reserve Chardonnay (SRP $77)
It could’ve been the post-Ultimate Frisbee thirst and fatigue, but this bottle stood out as the true winner of the trio. All it took was Jim Croce on the record player and a cool glass of ZD Reserve Chardonnay to sooth our aching bodies. “Apply,” was my wife’s first impression. I smelled lychee, something floral (maybe chamomile), vanilla, and allspice.

The extended yeast contact came through quite clearly, as the wine was nice and creamy and coated my tongue. It left my mouth watering slightly, despite any notable acidity. I tasted spice and—surprisingly but not at all unpleasantly—a hint of salinity. The winemaker did well to forgo MLF, as too much butteriness would surely have marred the harmony of oak, flowers, and spice. Sprawled out on the floor and sweaty, ceiling fan whirring, we agreed it was an excellent Chardonnay.

2015 ZD Cabernet Sauvignon (SRP $75)
When you live in a four-unit apartment building, you don’t have much excuse for not knowing your neighbors. After a year and a half of passing pleasantries, my wife and I decided it was high time we get acquainted with the couple our age living below us. And what better excuse to do so than a premium bottle of wine?

Turns out the gentleman preferred beer. So over dinner, board games, and dessert, while he put back the Yuenglings, the lady, my wife, and I savored the ZD Cab—and I discretely scribbled tasting notes on a pad of paper under the table. The wine was dark and dense with a notable lack of tannin but a delightful blueberry character. 22-months in American oak had given it rich aromas of vanilla and cola. The bottle emptied quicker than I could record all of my impressions, but it did its job facilitating great conversation and laughs. Our neighbors have promised to reciprocate with dinner soon and I’m sure the folks at ZD will be happy to know they’ve played a part in what looks to be the beginnings of a more neighborly relationship.

2016 ZD Founder’s Reserve Pinot Noir (SRP $82)
Okay, sometimes I just drink wine alone. It had been an insanely hot week and, of course, my AC unit decided to give up the ghost. With my wife gone and the windows down I popped this beauty in the refrigerator. The evening’s aptly selected movie, Mississippi Burning, played as I puzzled over what turned out to be quite an enigmatic Pinot.

From the start, nose firmly in glass, it wasn’t giving me much. It just sat there, dense and ruby, mocking my inadequacy. So I let it alone, until it would relent and reveal to me all of its wonderful qualities. I blinked first, of course, and the wine greeted my tongue with a wonderful acidic tingle—just what I needed in the heat—and gave forth odors of overripe strawberries and anise, but little else. At a point, I stopped trying to figure this wine out and just enjoyed it. It was well structured and enjoyable, but didn’t have the wow factor I would expect at this price.

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