The Sonoma County wine industry was already in full swing by the 1880s, when vineyard planting surged. In between the Panic of 1873 (plus the Panic of 1893, and probably, the Panic of 1907) and the bummer of 1919 (aka Prohibition), farmers stuck a whole lot of grapevines in the dirt, many of them Zinfandel. But it’s a boom and bust business. It would be decades before the surviving patches of gnarled, old Zinfandel vines were valued for the treasures that they are.
Before its purchase by Boisset Family Estates, DeLoach made a series of old vine Zin from their neighbors’ vineyards along Olivet Road. To readers who remember these, I can only report that it appears DeLoach no longer has access to the vineyards, while one was pulled out. “Forgotten Vines” is winemaker Brian Maloney’s tribute to the DeLoach tradition and old vine Zin in general, sourced from other sites.
The 2008 “Forgotten Vines,” Russian River Valley Zinfandel ($35) is my favorite of several DeLoach Zins recently tasted, although the 2009 OFS Zinfandel ($30) deserves mention for its pumpkin pie spice, mincemeat pie aromas and warm, sweet berry jam flavor (the current release is 2010, $32).
The “Forgotten Vines” has a complex mix of spice box aromas—marjoram, anise, cocoa powder—over deep, chewy flavors of strawberry and blackberry jam, with cola, vanilla and mocha. It’s 15 percent alcohol, but not hot on the palate, finishing long and polished, as if the tannins were a million, burnished little pebbles.
DeLoach’s recipe pairing for this Zinfandel is a pretty standard one, but I’ll take it. Serve with a side of beets and shallots roasted with rosemary and olive oil, for best effect.
Grilled Rib-eye Steak
4 Rib-eye steaks
For the rub:
• Salt and ground black pepper
• Chili powder
• Cayenne pepper
In a small bowl, combine all ingredients, to taste. Adjust the ratio of spices to your preference.
Preheat a grill to high heat. Please steaks on a large platter and season with rub on all sides. Transfer seasoned steaks to the hot grill, and cook for 4 to 6 minutes on each side for medium-rare, longer if desired. Remove steaks and let rest of 5 to 10 minutes before serving.