ZD Winery began as a partnership of two aerospace engineers whose initials formed the name of the winery: Norman de Leuze and Gino Zepponi. In 1968 they rented a small farm building in the Carneros region of Sonoma County; theirs was the first new winery permit issued in Sonoma County for nearly 20 years. ZD's 1969 Pinot Noir carries the historical significance of being the first wine to have a Carneros designation on the label. During the 1970s, a very open-minded approach was taken towards trying new and different varieties and growing regions. Research was undertaken to discover which regions produced the winegrape varieties that best reflected ZD's developing style - wines with rich, vibrant flavors. Over the years, ZD experimented with Zinfandel from the Shenandoah Valley; Pinot Noir from Oregon, Napa and Santa Barbara; Chardonnay from Napa, Sonoma, Monterey and Santa Barbara; Gewürztraminer from the Carneros; and more, plus extensive experimentation with use of oak from different regions of the United States and France. After 10 years of producing wine as a part-time business, Norman left engineering to devote all of his time to doing what had become a full-time passion. A new winery was built near Rutherford in the Napa Valley in 1979. After a decade of experimentation with various grape varieties, ZD Winery returned to its original goals and limited production to only Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon. Today, the de Leuze family continues to produce wines with a personal, hands-on approach.
Learn More About Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir (PEE-noh nwahr)
Pinot Noir is a finicky grape. It only grows in
the right climate, with the right soils and the right care. Perhaps because
it is so difficult is why it is so loved. Pinot Noir hails from Burgundy, a region known for crafting the most collectible and sought-after wines from this varietal.
Not only does Pinot reign in Burgundy, it is also essential in Champagne, where it is one of the
three main grapes in creating sparkling wine. Pinot Noir mutates
easily and so there are many different clones floating around in different wine regions.
Other than Burgundy, Pinot has been successful in areas like
and lately, New
Zealand - the Central
Otago region to be exact. Burgundian Pinot Noir typically offers flavors and aromas
of red fruit, summer pudding and baking spices. As the wine matures - and great
Burgundies are able to do so for years - the flavors become more like the earth
the wine comes from- mushrooms, truffles - and the wine gains tremendous complexity.
Pinot Noir from the new world like Oregon and California typically exude stronger
fruit intensity. Some are able to reach a high level of complexity, structure
and age. Others are wonderful for drinking now with a myriad of foods. Many
may wax poetic about this grape, the reason being that Pinot Noir produces an
amazing contradiction in wine - something so delicate and subtle, yet powerful
Learn More About Carneros, California
Technically a part of Napa Valley, the Carneros region straddles both Sonoma & Napa counties. It's the Napa region closest to the San Francisco peninsula and the San Pablo Bay, which is instrumental in controlling the climate of the area. The winds from the San Pablo bay create a cool weather pattern ideal for growing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Carneros are delicate, yet complex, with firm structure and acidity. And while the pair are the most popular varieties of the region, some winemakers have branched out, particularly with Syrah. The cool climate Syrah of Carneros is well structured and stylistically similar to Syrah from the Northern Rhone, though often fuller-bodied.