2015 Fallon Place Chalk Hill Landa Vineyard Zinfandel
Is there any wine more American than Zinfandel? And is there anything better than pursuing the American Dream?
With Fallon Place, we get both at the perfect time to celebrate them — Labor Day Weekend, outside, grilling, hopefully with family and friends (at appropriate social distance, of course)!
While Zinfandel is, like many of our ancestors, an immigrant, nowhere else in the world does it more fully express itself than in California. Only in California do you get the ripe density, the richness and the powerful elegance of Zinfandel. It always amazes me how wine snobs cite great matches of grape and terroir — Burgundy with Pinot, Bordeaux with Cabernet, Barolo with Nebbiolo, etc. — but whose minds and palates don’t compel them to include Zinfandel with Dry Creek. Yet, here it is, one of the all-time greatest combinations of grape and terroir.
Cory Michal, owner and winemaker at Fallon Place, wasn’t always obsessed with vineyards or chilling caves filled with barrels of wine. But in his late 20s (after leaving home from Appleton, Wisconsin, of all places) he found himself living next to a charming wine shop and bar in England. There, he was able to explore some of the enchanting vineyards of the wine world – Brunello, Volnay and Bordeaux, among others, through bottles of wine. He came back starry-eyed and with a vision of making his own wine.
That happened in San Francisco, in the old Russian Hill neighborhood, full of old stone houses with impossibly steep stone stairs. Soon he and a couple of friends were crushing grapes, 100 lbs. at a time, in the basement of one of these homes. One thing led to another, and Cory made the leap from wine enthusiast winemaker to full-blown craft vintner. The name of his winery and its wood block-esque label are an homage to the little house that started it all (kinda like our Brady Street days!).
This is one gorgeous bottle of Zinfandel:
An explosion of red and black fruits comes from the glass: ripe blackberries and boysenberries, dark bramble and black cherries all present themselves, a dense mélange of flavors. The palate is soft and luxurious, round and smooth, with a gorgeous finish. From the Landa Vineyard on Chalk Hill, these 40-year-old vines are some of the oldest in the Russian River Valley. They offer an immense depth of flavor that only old vines can provide. Cory works entirely organically and at five years old, this Zinfandel is perfect to drink now as a cocktail or with some Labor Day BBQ.
But however you choose to enjoy it, get it now. Just a few cases of this tiny production Zinfandel made it into Cory’s home state of Wisconsin (only 500 were made in the first place). Cheers!