ZD Wines in Rutherford, Napa Valley, was founded in 1969 when Norman deLeuze and Gino Zepponi, both aerospace engineers, decided to make Burgundian style wines in Sonoma County. The men bought a winery permit and made wine with purchased grapes out of a farm building in Carneros. A decade later the families purchased six acres along the Silverado Trail in Rutherford. Today the 36-acre estate includes vineyards in Carneros and Rutherford, and the winery is owned and operated by the deLeuze family. ZD Wines makes Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and a Rose. California Wine Writer James Laube has written that ZD Wines “quality across the board is good to outstanding, with each of the wines showing an exotic edge.”
Carneros AVA, also known as Los Carneros, is at the southern end of the Napa and Sonoma Valleys at the top of the San Francisco Bay. The 8,000 vineyard acres are mostly planted to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, both of which thrive in the district’s cool, marine climate. Carneros became an AVA in 1983 and it has attracted foreign wine companies along with local producers. It has been especially appealing to European producers of sparkling wines including the giant Spanish cava producers Codorniu and Frexinet, and the French Champagne house Taittinger. Codorniu in Carneros is called Artesa, and Frexinet’s Carneros brand is Gloria Ferrer. Taittinger calls its Carneros winery Domaine Carneros. The European producers also make still wines in Carneros.
This red wine is relatively light and can pair with a wide variety of foods. The grape prefers cooler climates and the wine is most often associated with Burgundy, Champagne and the U.S. west coast. Regional differences make it nearly as fickle as it is flexible.