I am not ashamed to admit that the first wine I truly thought was delicious was white zinfandel.
Last week my husband Howard and I were honored with a private tasting by Barry Wiss and Nora Feeley at Napa Valley’s Trinchero Winery, the second largest family winery in the world.
As we sipped on outstanding flights of sauvignon blanc and cabernet, our hosts informed us, to our surprise, that Trinchero invented white zinfandel, the sweet stuff under the Sutter Home label that was all the rage in the 70s. Serious Napa winemakers of the time pooh-poohed what they considered a “bastardizing” wine that would hurt their lofty reputations. But the Trinchero family, who was trying not to waste juice that would have typically been thrown away, just shrugged, and the pink-colored wine took off, especially with women. For many of us, it was a springboard into the world of wines that had more nuance.
Aside from their landmark zinfandel, Trinchero Napa Valley makes outstanding wines for every taste and budget, and that are sourced from the family’s more than 200 acres of sustainably farmed estates in some of the Napa Valley’s most sought after appellations, including St. Helena, Rutherford, Atlas Peak and Mt. Veeder. Their wines are strictly bordeaux varietals and, with the exception of Meritage and Signature, are all single-vineyard wines.
The winery has 32 wine labels, with 6-8 wines per label. And they’re also reaching in the the spirits market, with their Tres Agaves and Cruz tequilas.
My taste in wine has changed, but Sutter Home white zinfandel is still sweet and pink and selling very well. So here’s a raised glass to Trinchero Winery, a family business that dared take a chance and is still taking chances, and which helped nudge America into the world of fine wines.