2019 ZD Petit Verdot
Region: Napa Valley
With a beautiful deep ruby color, intense aromas of candied strawberry and ripe raspberry complemented subtle notes of cocoa, flint, and violet. Bright, soft, and balanced on the palate, flavors of cherry pie, chocolate, and tobacco lead into a long finish. Drinking wonderfully now, we expect the wine to develop gracefully for years to come.
Founded in 1969, ZD Wines is owned and operated by the deLeuze Family. The winery is located in Rutherford, a premium Cabernet Sauvignon growing region in the heart of the Napa Valley. ZD Wines is a family business that is committed to producing world-class wines, farming organically and providing first-class hospitality to guests, all while supporting many charitable efforts locally and throughout the country. They celebrate more than 50 years of winemaking, with the second and third generations of the deLeuze family carrying on the family legacy.
ZD Wines primarily produces three core varietals: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon. The current ZD winemaking and vineyard management team have amassed a fantastic base of winemaking and vineyard management knowledge with more than 100 years of combined experience. The winemaking team is comprised of Robert deLeuze (CEO/Director of Winemaking), Chris Pisani (Senior Winemaker), Brandon deLeuze (Winemaker), and Chad McComber (Cellar Master). They combine their winemaking knowledge and use blending as their ultimate winemaking tool to craft wines of quality, consistency and style. Rafael Llamas Sr. (Estate Vineyard Manager) and his son Rafael Llamas Jr. (Hospitality, Garden Curator and Vineyard Assistant), manage ZD’s certified organic estate vineyards at the Rutherford winery, as well as the ZD Carneros Estate in Napa. The winery also maintains long-term grower relationships with vineyards in Napa, Sonoma Carneros, Monterey and Santa Barbara.
Founder Norman deLeuze believed that great wines are made from healthy vines grown in rich, living soils. ZD Wines has an in-depth history of embracing an ecologically sensitive approach to all aspects of their operation. With a focus on producing world-class wines, their certified organic vineyards promote biodiversity using the best technologies of the day, as well as time honored farming methods. The winery and vineyards use solar energy, bio fuels, composting, cover cropping, recycling, water conservation, electric vehicles, and more, to conserve and enhance our planet. ZD’s Rutherford and Carneros Estates have been certified organic by the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) and are certified by Fish Friendly Farming, Napa Green Winery and California Certified Sustainable Winegrowing. The winery offers an Eco Vineyard Tour at their Rutherford property where guests walk through the organic certified vineyards and learn firsthand about the winery’s eco practices.
To date, ZD Wines and The deLeuze Family Charitable Foundation have raised more than $1,000,000 to support research lead by Dr. Joseph Tuscano at the UC Davis Cancer Center. In addition to fundraising events, each week the deLeuze family and ZD team deliver healthy snacks to the Napa Valley Boys & Girls Club Teen Center. The deLeuze family also provides an annual $500 grant to each employee to gift to local charities of their choosing.
Being guided by the whims of my grandmother and ZD’s co-founder, Rosa Lee, during the last 15 years was a privilege and an adventure. During that time, we produced 29 Rosa Lee designated wines and many fond memories. After losing our matriarch in 2018, we decided to transition the Rosa Lee varietals to permanent offerings. We would lean on the knowledge gained during the production (and consumption) of the Rosa Lee’s Whim wines and pick our favorite red and white to define the program moving forward.
It was a serious challenge to choose which red wine of the Rosa Lee’s Whims was the ultimate fan favorite and therefore would carry on the Rosa Lee designation. Eventually the debate came down to the first two Whims produced in 2004 and 2005, Zinfandel and Petit Verdot. In the end we were unable to deny our reverence of Petit Verdot based on its ability to consistently enhance the complexity of our Cabernet Sauvignon blend during the last 14 years, with its dense and delicious characters. To maintain the fun, unique, and experimental essence of the Rosa Lee wines, we decided to blend two additional varietals with the Petit Verdot. We landed on Malbec because of an excellent experience with it as the 2010 Rosa Lee Whim red. On a gamble we were excited to try Touriga Nacional, which is considered Portugal’s premier variety. The final wine is 76% Petit Verdot, 12% Malbec, and 12% Touriga Nacional, 100% Napa Valley, and 100% organically farmed.
The three wines were fermented independently ensuring optimum ripeness at harvest and proper extraction during fermentation while being punched down by hand three times per day. After pressing, the three distinctly different wines were blended and co-fermented through malolactic fermentation and additional ageing in 35% new American Oak until bottling 14 months later. Dark red in color, powerful aromas of blackberry jam and cherry are met with intriguing spice and floral notes. A rich mouthfeel combined with fresh acidity and silky tannins frame jammy blueberry and red fruit, which are complemented by dried herbs. Only 19 barrels produced.
-Brandon deLeuze, Winemaker/Partner