2010 PETER FRANUS NAPA VALLEY ZINFANDEL
I began the “Peter Franus Napa Valley Zinfandel” label in 2002 to allow me more blending flexibility and to hone down the number of wines in my portfolio. My plan was to reduce confusion and vineyard designation sprawl, while creating a wine with a little more immediate quaffability. The vineyard sources vary 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.
As in 2009, Calistoga was the vineyard source that provided a plummy, lush and fruity element with an impression of sweetness. We tapped into a bit of Jim Fore’s deep, dense, Syrah from his vineyard at 3000 feet elevation in Red Hills Lake County. His grapes always offer that black pepper, smoked bacon quality that enliven and leap from the glass. And finally, a bit of Brandlin Zin and Mourvèdre elevates the blend a little more and firms up the structure.
2010 was one of the most intriguing and unusual vintages in my 30-year career in Napa Valley. The coolest summer in decades was followed by scorching heat in August. As a result, some clusters shriveled and yields were down 10 to 15%. On the positive side, a cool, long growing season allowed great flavor development at lower sugars and wines that tend toward more elegance.
Our 2010 Napa Valley Zinfandel is medium dark ruby, a surprisingly youthful impression. A mélange of classic aromas offer cherry, blackberry, toasty oak, white pepper and truffle, that entice and invite you back—an indication of complexity in my vocabulary. Berry and anise flavors are surrounded by soft tannins, but good acidity firms up the structure to keep the wine lively.
Our Napa Valley Zinfandel is one of our most popular and fastest selling wines. With that in mind, I no longer think we have to prove that Zinfandel can be balanced, structured, and elegant. The verdict is in!