Wine Last Sold on: March 19, 2013
Grgich Hills Estate
|Region:||California: Napa Valley|
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
We only showcase wines that we love. While our emphasis is on quality first, every now and again we come across a real standout wine that rises above. When we do, we issue alerts like this one.
Mission Codename: Made in Nature
- Agent Red
- Return to Wine Spies favorite, Grgich Hills Estate, for special access to their newest Zinfandel. Secure a sizable allocation for our waiting Operatives.
- Mission Status
- Miljenko “Mike” Grgich
Today marks the 4th successive vintage that we have had the distinct pleasure to showcase this excellent wine. We went absolutely wild about the 2008 and 2007 vintages, but today’s 2009 Grgich Hills Estate Napa Valley Zinfandel delivers an extra wallop of flavor and refinement.
Worth every penny, this Zin is very highly recommended. Delicious and dark, with concentrated fruit and dark spice, this wine is everything that a Zinfandel should be. With black fruit, earth and spice that exist in elegant even proportion, this wine shows beautiful balance.
Amazingly delicious, we put the full weight of our recommendation behind this wonderful, balanced and very flavorful wine.
Deep, dark and foreboding, this wine shows dark maroon hues from core to glinting edge.
Heady and full with deep black fruit that is supported by dark French oak. Aromas of dark blackberry, cassis, black cherry and brown sugar lead the way. Allow the wine to breath and violets, dusty dried mushroom, soft spice and black pepper emerge.
Concentrated and delicious with flavors of darkest black cherry, blackberry and black currant. Earthy leather, dried leaved, black pepper, espresso bean and bakers chocolate emerge after a little swirling.
Smooth and elegant, with a classic Napa Valley Zinfandel finish that lasts forever.
This classic Zinfandel begs to be paired with a peppercorn crusted New York strip steak.
What the Winery Says
We grow our Zinfandel naturally, without artificial fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides, at our estate vineyard in Calistoga, nestled in the northern tip of Napa Valley. This food-friendly Zinfandel’s flavors of strawberries, licorice and a hint of white pepper make it the perfect match for grilled meats, Lasagna, pizza topped with tomato sauce and beef stews.
Varietal Composition: 98% Zinfandel, 2% Petite Sirah
Appellation: Napa Valley
Aging: 15 months in large oak casks
Fermentation: Indigenous yeast. Pressed off skins early to retain fruit character
Alcohol %: 15.3
All of our vineyards are certified organic and Biodynamic®. Mike Grgich’s home overlooks our vineyard north of Calistoga, where the gravelly loam provides excellent drainage and the cloudless days and cool nighttime temperatures are perfect for sun-loving Zinfandel. The vines are head pruned to protect the grapes from sunburn. This unique site and our natural farming create concentrated, complex flavors in the wine.
We co-fermented the Zinfandel with a touch of Petite Sirah to add complexity and structure and then aged the wine in large oak casks so the flavors are well integrated but not overwhelmed by oak.
About the Winery
Victor of Paris Tasting
Miljenko “Mike” Grgich first gained international recognition at the celebrated “Paris Tasting” of 1976. Then, in a now-historic blind tasting, a panel of eminent French judges swirled, sniffed, and sipped an array of the fabled white Burgundies of France and a small sampling of upstart Chardonnays from the Napa Valley. When their scores were tallied, the French judges were shocked: they had chosen Mike’s 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay as the finest white wine in the world. Mon Dieu! The results stunned the international wine establishment and immediately earned Mike a reputation as one of the greatest winemakers in the world.
The Paris Tasting served notice to the world that the California wine industry was on the move, and it laid the groundwork for the creation of Grgich Hills Cellar. After his victory in Paris, Mike sat down with Austin Hills and his sister, Mary Lee Strebl, from the Hills Bros. Coffee family, and on Independence Day 1977, they gave birth to Grgich Hills. It was an ideal partnership. Austin owned premium vineyards in Rutherford, in the heart of the Napa Valley, and with his extensive background in business, he put the winery on its financial feet. Mike, with his fierce commitment to making wines of the highest quality, began producing what immediately became our signature wine: the exquisite, richly complex Chardonnays that win awards and delight wine lovers across America and throughout the world.
Today, we remain committed to making distinctive wines with quality, consistency and longevity. We are proud that world leaders such as Presidents Reagan and Clinton, Queen Elizabeth II and French President François Mitterrand chose our wines to serve at state dinners, but we are just as proud that every single day discriminating wine drinkers count on Grgich Hills to turn their own dinners into special occasions.
We treat each of our six different wines as a special child, carefully nurturing their development and character. Our pride and joy is our Chardonnay, an elegant example of the varietal displaying rich flavors and exquisite balance. As a complement to the Chardonnay, we also produce a refreshingly crisp Fumé Blanc, a rich and spicy Zinfandel, a Cabernet Sauvignon with tremendous depth and complexity, a lush and richly fragrant Merlot, and a luscious dessert wine named “Violetta,” in honor of Mike’s daughter, Violet.
Now 89 years old, and still sporting his signature blue beret, Mike was inducted into the Vinter Hall of Fame in 2008 in honor of his many contributions to the wine industry. While many other Napa wineries pursue strategies of expansion, Mike, along with his daughter, Violet, and his nephew, Ivo Jeramaz, prefer to stay small. Their aim, year after year, is to improve the quality of their vineyards and their wines, relying on Mike’s unique artistic and intuitive touch. This strategy continues to pay significant dividends.
Committed to natural winegrowing and sustainability, we farm our five estate vineyards without artificial fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides, rely on wild yeast fermentation and use our passion and the art of winemaking to handcraft food-friendly, balanced and elegant wines.
Beginning with the 2003 vintage, all Grgich Hills wines were labeled “Estate Grown.” This guarantees a consistently superior level of quality and it means that Grgich Hills will always remain a shining symbol of prestige and good taste. In recognition of that important milestone, the winery changed its name in 2007 to Grgich Hills Estate.