The Coppola Director’s Cut Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel 2012 is 80% Zinfandel and 20% Petite Sirah sourced from vineyards with 40 to 80 year vines located in the Dry Creek Valley AVA inside Sonoma County in Northern California. Dry Creek Valley is 20 miles from the Pacific Ocean which gives the region cool evenings and mornings to contrast the warm mid-days and has a climate similar to the Bordeaux region in France. The Petite Sirah grape compliments the Zinfandel grape by adding a deep, rich color, structure (tannins and acidity) and additional ripe fruit flavors. The Director’s Cut series of wines is the top of a line of wines that begin with the Diamond Collection wines sourced from California (meaning grapes sourced from more than one AVA), the Director’s wines, single AVA wines and the Director’s Cut wines sourced from a sub-AVA. This Zinfandel was aged for 12 months in French and American oak barrels, 20% new barrels (a new barrel can cost $1,000 each), with the remaining 80% being 1 to 2 years old. With each use the oak barrel imparts a lesser amount of oak influence to the wine, so it is a bit of a math problem for the winemaker to get just the right amount of oak for each type of wine. The alcohol content is 14.5%.
The color is a shiny cherry red with black highlights. The nose is lush, bright red berries, plums, black pepper, a little Dove chocolate, spice and a hit of vanilla. The Director’s Cut Zin has a weighty mouth-feel, with complex, yet balanced flavors. It starts with blackberry, black cheery, black pepper and a nice contrast of raspberry. The mid-palate brings vanilla, oak spice, blueberry and tart cranberry. This Zinfandel has excellent structure, the tannins and the acidity are integrated into the body of the wine and do not interfere with your sipping pleasure. The finish is full and long.
I am a big fan of Zinfandel, even though it came to the US from Croatia by way of Italy, it really is America’s wine. It is the 3rd most planted grape in California, behind Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon and until about 15 years ago it was the #2 grape (much of that was due to White Zinfandel). The Zinfandel grape blossomed in California, each AVA brings out a slightly different characteristic in the wine. In some AVA’s, Zinfandel is the perfect accompaniment for BBQ and the blues, but the Coppola Director’s Cut Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel adds a touch of elegance and refinement. This is a Zinfandel that does not need a party, that’s not to say it can’t rock BBQ and the blues, it just that it has the structure and complexity to stand on its own.