Four Decades of Organic Excellence in Carneros and on the Silverado Trail
ZD has been doing things the right way for more than four decades, and over the years they have never lost sight of the importance of being good stewards of the land. Long before Napa became world famous, wine country had its intrinsic appeals: a slow pace of gradual movement, an appreciation for the valley’s environs, and working with and not against nature. That feeling of connectedness has been the cornerstone of ZD’s success and that same attitude certainly shines through in their wine tasting experiences. Whether you’re tromping around their organic vineyard during the Eco Tour or overlooking Rutherford’s famous vineyards during the Vineyard View Tour, you will find yourself with a deeper appreciation of organic winegrowing and the attention to detail it takes to make world-class wine.
ZD prides itself as an eco-friendly winery, and equally a winery that produces world-class wine. They do a great job connecting the relationship between healthy, balanced grapevines to the quality of wine in the bottle.
Take ZD’s Eco Tour and you’ll learn all about the great lengths taken to produce flavorful grapes in a way that is symbiotic with nature. As you sip your way around the vineyard, you are exposed to the sights, smells and sounds of organic farming: the cover crops, insectaries, owl boxes and composting. All their equipment runs on biodiesel. They use hybrid vehicles and solar power, implemented waste reduction programs and a water recycling system.
If a walkabout in the vineyard isn’t for you, ZD offers a variety of tour and tasting experiences to choose from, like the Cellar Tour, which offers visitors several current vintage and reserve wines with a private guided tour through the cellar and a sampling of soon to be released wine maturing in the barrel.
A Private Group Tour & Tasting provides a relaxed experience where groups of people can enjoy a private tasting in the intimate environment of its barrel rooms.
The Vineyard View Tour & Tasting is an experience in the eponymous room with its west-Valley-facing floor-to-ceiling windowed space and exterior deck above the crushpad at the top of the winery. From there, you can see the entire property as you enjoy the wines complemented by artisan cheeses and finished with a decadent chocolate truffle. All tours require an appointment.
ZD also offers daily tastings, just drop by their Rutherford winery on the Silverado Trail between 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. They offer a tasting of current wines and a reserve tasting with selections from the library.
ZD Wines was founded by two aerospace engineers involved in the 1960s space race, Norman deLeuze and partner Gino Zepponi. The “ZD” in ZD Wines has two meanings: the obvious, the initials of the partners, and the inspirational – “Zero Defects,” a quality-control program used to build rocket engines.
With a love of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, they set out to make their favorite Burgundian wines. They received their winery permit in 1969, the first new permit issued in decades, and subsequently fell in love with the Carneros grape growing region where the first ZD wines were produced. It was the beginning of a journey that had included three-generations.
ZD produces more than excellent Cabernet, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, they also produce special winery-only bottlings, known as the Rosa Lee “Whims,” including, at various times, releases of Barbera, Malbec, Muscat Canelli, Mourvèdre, Petit Sirah, Pinot Grigio, Riesling and Viognier – the newest is a delicious and not-to-be-missed Grenache Rosé.
Perhaps the wine most symbolic of ZD’s approach to sustainable winegrowing is its Founder’s Reserve Pinot Noir, made from the grapes off of its organic estate vineyard in the Carneros region. This wine is a tribute to Norman, who was the motivational force behind ZD’s philosophy of eco-friendly business practices and organic farming.
Its flagship wine, Abacus, is the ultimate Cabernet Sauvignon, combining the best qualities of an aged wine with the best of a youthful wine, together in one sumptuous mouthful. Incredible depth and complexity along with a deep, lingering finish are backed by an intense fruit character.
The concept was born on a deLeuze family retreat, when ZD Winemaster, Robert and his brother, Brett were enjoying a wonderful Cabernet Sauvignon from the ZD library. They agreed that the deep complexity and subtle nuances that develop in older wines are always accompanied by a loss of fruit. What if there was a way to blend the elegance of an older Cabernet Sauvignon with the intensity of fruit found in a younger wine? Their answer was a “solera style” multiple-vintage blend of every ZD Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon ever produced, which is held in barrel until bottling.
ZD offers an Abacus Tasting, which includes a comprehensive tour of the ZD cellar and finishes in the Vineyard View Room for a sit-down tasting of its current reserve wines and a bottle of Abacus, complemented with artisan cheese selections and charcuterie. The tasting is finished with a decadent chocolate truffle.
The ZD experience doesn’t have to end when you leave; they bring your experience full circle. Those folks who tasted the young wines from barrel will receive an email from ZD letting them know that the young wine they sampled is now a finished wine in the bottle and is available to them. Following a wine from barrel to bottle is an experience that all wine enthusiasts should experience. To witness simple flavors and aromas evolve into complex layers of hedonistic delight is a perfect punctuation to the perfect Napa Valley experience.
Open daily from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
8383 Silverado Trail, Napa, CA 94558
1-800-487-7757 | www.zdwines.com
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