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The 2010 Pedroncelli Mother Clone Zinfandel exemplifies the winery’s rich but easy-drinking style of Zinfandel. No surprise, as Zinfandel has always been Pedroncelli’s claim to fame. The estate’s historic Zinfandel vineyards grow on the hillsides surrounding the family winery that were planted in 1904. The fruit for Mother Clone Zinfandel is harvested from cuttings from those initial 1904 “Mother” vines along with some of the original 100+ year old vines themselves, while a portion also comes from old vine grapes from the nearby Buchignani Vineyard. The 2010 Mother Clone Zinfandel is a traditional blend of 92% Zinfandel and 8% Petite Sirah, with the Petite Sirah adding additional color and structure to the wine. Rich berry fruit, bramble, black pepper, cinnamon, and wood smoke permeate the nose and flavor of this complex Zinfandel. Big boned (the wine weights in at over 15% alcohol though one would never know it) yet impeccably balanced, the 2010 Mother Clone contains fine, ripe tannins to frame its extroverted fruit and spice flavors and add to the wine’s long, lingering finish. For optimal enjoyment, we suggest allowing this classic Dry Creek Zinfandel at least 15-20 minutes of aeration before serving at cool room temperature (no more than 66ºF). Although beautiful now, this big boned beauty is sure to improve in bottle for several more years, so why not stash a few bottles away for yet another day?
Zinfandel is an easy wine to pair with all kinds of foods. Some of the Pedroncelli family’s favorite pairings with their 2010 Mother Clone Zinfandel include Pork Roast with Dried Cherry-Cranberry Stuffing; Braised Lamb Shanks with White Beans; and Penne Pasta with Tomatoes, Olives, Havarti and Parmesan Cheeses. Rosemary Pasta with Black Olives and Carrots pairs nicely as well. To that we would add Grilled Italian Sausages with Peppers and Onions; Slow Cooked Barbecued Spare Ribs; and Pasta Fresca, made with fresh buffalo mozzarella, basil, vine ripe tomatoes, olive oil, and herbs. Chicken and Black Bean Chili offers another winning accompaniment. Brick oven cooked pizzas and calzones as well as hearty chicken dishes with Mediterranean herbs and spices make fine complements, too. Traditional risottos with cheese, mushrooms, truffles, and complex sauces provide other excellent accompaniments to Pedroncelli’s masterful Mother Clone Zinfandel. Enjoy!
John, Sr.’s namesake, son John, grew up on the family property and has been principal winemaker at Pedroncelli since 1948. John’s brother Jim was actually born in the winery’s offices, which were formerly the family’s home. Jim has overseen marketing and sales at the winery since 1955. Jim only half jokingly tells visitors “I was born in this office and I will probably die here as well.” In addition to Jim and John, their children and children-in-law all work in various capacities at the winery, as the family happily watches a fourth generation buzz about the property. In short, Pedroncelli remains an authentic family-owned and run winery. Rare as it may now be, the Pedroncelli family is one California family that has not yet traded in its name or sold its soul to a corporate conglomerate.
Obviously, stability and tradition play important roles for the Pedroncelli family as it collectively pursues its shared passion for producing quality wines. Yet, Pedroncelli’s vineyards have only gently expanded to 105 acres from the property’s original 90 acres, and the brothers continue to seek innovative means of improving production and quality, without compromising the family tradition or expanding rapidly beyond their control. Instead, the family highlights specific vineyards in the winery’s Vineyard Selection Series, a decision that allows the brothers to pursue their family’s commitment to quality. This practice also provides a glimpse of the guided, practical approach that this family has to marketing.
Lovingly made, Pedroncelli wines are known for their consistent quality from vintage to vintage: they always exhibit rich fruit flavors, layered balance, and a readiness to drink upon release. Above enjoying the quality of their wines, however, partaking in a glass of Pedroncelli wine is like becoming a member of the family and sharing in their love of wine.
Red grape varietals predominate at Pedroncelli. Merlot, Petite Sirah, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, and of course Zinfandel are just a few of Pedroncelli’s finest Sonoma County offerings. Sauvignon Blanc is a real success at Pedroncelli, too, and it remains one of the winery’s best kept secrets.
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