If there is one grape variety that is intrinsic to California’s viticultural history, it is surely Zinfandel. Not to say that Zin is universally revered, though; in fact, in recent decades (and in certain circles), it’s come to be one of the Golden State’s most maligned varieties. This grape’s infamy results partly from its ubiquity – throw a stone at the California section in a typical wine shop, and if you manage to miss all of the Cabernet, you’re likely to hit a bottle of Zin.
For the majority of my career, I’ve been firmly seated in the anti-Zinfandel camp. My introduction to this variety ten years ago consisted primarily of wine that was over-ripe, over-blown, and frankly, rather boring. I’m not proud to say it, but until I moved to California, I had entirely written off our most deeply rooted grape variety.
Among winemakers here in CA – even those who don’t produce Zinfandel themselves – it is spoken of with immense respect. When I first began my own exploration into California wine, John Lockwood of Enfield Wine Co. told me, “Any discussion of California terroir has to begin with Zinfandel.” Clearly, I’d been missing something important for all of those years.
You’ll find most of the bottles in this collection to be fuller-bodied than what you’ve come to expect from Le Metro. But across the board, they are deeply compelling and flawlessly balanced. And as much as these six wines are meant to showcase Zinfandel’s manifold personalities, they are also intended to embody the tremendous diversity of California’s wine regions.
This edition is accompanied by original artwork from the brilliant Ray Ferrer, whom I’m delighted to collaborate with for the next three months. Ray created this painting, “Wine, Anyone?” by use of spray paint on canvas with five layers of stencils that he cut by hand himself. This one is a Le Metro original, and I’ve never seen anything like it. I hope that you dig it as much as I do!
Aaron Epstein, Curator