Gold Medal - 2008 Orange County Fair Wine Competition
Last week we talked about the joy of returning to a previous WineHeist discovery to find that the wines continue to excel, so it is only appropriate that this week we would turn to a new producer for us and allow that pattern to start again. In fact, La Czar is new to the wine scene in general, as 2006 represents their very first commercial release. Mike and Jeanne Pelczarski realized their dream in 2005 of purchasing a vineyard, and began producing wines the following year with winemaker Rick Davis (with experience at Flowers, Londer, and Tandem, to name a few). With a small estate vineyard and fruit sourced from other family owned vineyards in Sonoma and Mendocino, this is just the kind of small producer we love to feature on WineHeist.
The 2006 La Czar Maple Vineyard is sourced from a Dry Creek vineyard first planted nearly 100 years ago, with gnarly, head-pruned vines and a little bit of Petit Sirah, Carignane, and perhaps a few others interspersed throughout the vineyard. This classic “field blend” style Zinfandel always seems to be a little bit more complex and intriguing than those from Zinfandel vineyards planted to a single clone on trellised vines. With a pale ruby color and stunning clarity, this is a very pretty wine to look at in the class. The nose shows zinfandel’s typical mixed berry aromas, with notes of plum, spice and cedar. The palate is black fruit driven, with berry, spice, and a hint of chocolate on the finish. Medium bodied with good acid, this pairs more easily with food than some zinfandel, but by the same token it should be served a little cooler (at cellar temperature of 55-60F) as it still possesses the higher alcohol typical of Zin, which can be overwhelming if served too warm. Take advantage of this to serve it slightly chilled on a warm summer night, and you will be amazed how it pairs with BBQ or grilled meat!
Harvest Date: September 27th, 2006
Composition: 100% Zinfandel
Appellation: Dry Creek Valley
ph at Harvest: 3.86
Acid at Harvest: 5.07
Bottling Date: July 12th, 2007
Total Cases: 460
As winemaking has been in the family since the early part of the last century, developing a fascination for the grape to wine process was easy for Mike Pelczarski and his wife, Jeanne. They decided to turn that fascination into reality in 2005, when they carefully researched the purchase of a 3.5-acre former apple orchard. Building the La Czar Vineyard would have made Jeanne's grandfather, Salvatore Bellomo, who made fine Italian-style table wines, proud. To carry on his passion and their own, the Pelczarski's plan to keep La Czar family owned and operated. The Pelczarski grandchildren are already getting into the spirit of creating a wine and vineyard legacy by helping out at harvest time. La Czar is already building a reputation of quality.
From the very first strategy meeting with LaCzar winemaker Rick Davis (see our Who's Who section,) it was decided that nothing would simply be done "by the book". Rick was chosen to expedite the Pelczarski's dream because of his fearlessness and his proven talents in engineering several successful harvests. The Pelczarski's maintain that a small business, hands-on approach is the only way to ensure their desire to deliver the highest quality of wine to their faithful followers.
Learn more at www.laczarvineyards.com.