VOLUME 10, ISSUE 29
April 22, 2016
ZD has been producing Pinot Noir from Carneros for 38 years. Two former aerospace engineers, Norman de Leuze and Gino Zepponi started ZD in a small building in Carneros in 1968. The name, ZD, not only stands for its founders' initials, but also for "Zero Defects" which describes the wines. With their first vintage in 1969, they produced 300 cases of Pinot Noir from the Winery Lake Vineyard and a small amount of White Riesling. This Pinot Noir was of historical significance as it was the first wine to have the Carneros designation on the label. A new winery was built on the Silverado Trail in the Napa Valley in 1979. In 1996, ZD purchased an historic vineyard in Carneros and planted 7 acres to Pinot Noir. Christened the de Leuze Vineyard, both Swan and Hanzell heritage selections were planted. The first vintage from this vineyard was 1999, and today grapes from this organically farmed vineyard make up the backbone of the ZD Reserve Pinot Noir.
The de Leuze family continues to manage ZD and Norman’s son, Robert, is the Winemaster and CEO. Chris Pisani is the current winemaker.
The winery has a tasting room which is open daily 10:00-4:30 at 8383 Silverado Trail in Rutherford. Special tours and tastings are available by appointment. The Reserve Pinot Noir sells out quickly each vintage to enthusiasts.
Articles About ZD Wines
2011 ZD Carneros Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $36. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. A challenge to pull any fruit from the nose which is dominated by oak-driven tobacco aromas. Relatively full-bodied and seductively textured, with a core of sappy black fruits currently buried in oak. The tannins are well integrated and their is a flash of appealing fruit on the lasting finish. This wine needs a year or two in bottle to integrate the oak. Score: 86. Reviewed August 14, 2013 ARTICLE »
2008 ZD Wines Norman de Leuze Founder’s Reserve Carneros Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., $65. Crafted from organic grapes grown at ZD’s estate vineyard in Carneros. From a 6-acre block planted to the Hanzell clone. Aged 15 months in French oak barrels. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Exotic and well perfumed nose of dark berries, black cherries, tea, wet leaves and floral elements. A rich, big-boned, and dense wine flush with black cherry, blackberry and black plum fruits with a subtle savory herbal note and restrained oak highlights. Very unique and individualistic with a silky smooth texture that attracts another sip. Markedly better the next day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. I suspect this wine will be remarkable with five years of cellaring. Very good. Reviewed November 7, 2010 ARTICLE »
2007 ZD Wines Carneros Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $40. · Heady aromas of black cherry liquor with a faint hint of oak and alcohol. Tasty earth-kissed black cherry and blackberry fruits which are accented by flavors of cola and herbed tea. Lighter-weighted and a tad dilute but offers an appealing soft texture and easy drinking. Reviewed May 7, 2009 ARTICLE »
2007 ZD Wines Norman de Leuze ZD Founder’s Reserve Carneros Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., 750 cases, $65. Very cool label. The de Leuze family wanted to reproduce the original photograph from the book Napa-Behind the Bottle by author Bill Tucker. This special release honors Norman de Leuze's favorite varietal and also coincides with the winery's 40th anniversary. Sourced from an organically farmed Napa Carneros vineyard using deficit irrigation, crop thinning and hand canopy management. Aged 15 months in French oak barrels. · A vibrant and expressive nose brimming with aromas of black cherries, strawberries and raspberries in harmony with a subtle riff of herbs. Multifaceted flavors of cherries, raspberries, currants, sassafras, and game. Richer and darker than the regular bottling and packed with flavor, yet almost ephemeral in quality. The tannins are fine grained and the texture all silk and satin. Still drank beautifully the next day from a previously opened re-corked bottle. A very stylish wine displaying the hand of a talented winemaker. Reviewed May 7, 2009 ARTICLE »
2006 ZD Carneros Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $40. Grapes for this bottling of regular Pinot Noir came from Jim Haire’s Vineyard in Carneros (clones 115, 667, 777 and Pommard). · This beauty is a real cherry bomb. Black cherries complimented by black raspberries, vanilla wafers, and a little toast are nicely orchestrated. Supple in the mouth with plenty of finesse and a long, powerful finish. Reviewed November 20, 2007 ARTICLE »
2005 ZD Wines Carneros Reserve Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., 950 cases, $50.. Sourced from the 7-acre deLeuze Family Vineyard in Carneros planted entirely to the Hanzell clone. · A hearty and satisfying nose brimming with dark fruits, toast and barnyard. Full-bodied mélange of dark stone fruit preserves with plenty of oak and herbal influence. Nicely balanced with a strong presence. I previous reviewed the regular bottling which was quite good as well, but this is truly a reserve with more intensity and punch. Reviewed February 18, 2008 ARTICLE »
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