Grape(s): 100% estate grown Zinfandel
Localization: Napa Valley, California, USA
Tasting Notes: "This elegant Zinfandel is rich blackberry in color with open aromas of layered cherry and ripe raspberry, complemented by a seductive spice and mineral character. Beautifully structured and with great balance, the 2016 Lamborn Zin is full-bodied and rich with great length. The complex mouthfeel is perfectly integrated with toast and vanilla, and the characteristic black pepper and spicy undertones offer up to a silky and lingering finish. An exceptional example of mountaintop Zinfandel, the Lamborn Vineyard is definitely in a league of its own."
Notes: Winemaker Heidi Barrett
The near-perfect 2016 growing season started early, saw ideal weather conditions throughout, and wrapped up as the Valley's first significant fall rainstorm arrived on October 14th. Thanks to a relatively steady and mild July and August, followed by a series of warm days at the end of the growing season, vineyards were able to progress to perfect ripeness. Wines from the 2016 vintage are developing beautifully and vintners are pinching themselves and smiling for the gift Mother Nature has given us: a fifth consecutive vintage of stellar quality Napa Valley wines. We are very proud of this, our 34th elegant Zinfandel vintage.
The Domain: Lamborn Family Vineyards are located high on Howell Mountain on a “ridge peninsula” which overlooks Pope Valley to the east and on an extremely clear winter’s day one can even see parts of the Sierra Nevada mountains far in the distance (one of several locations on Howell Mountain and on Atlas Peak where one has such views). Note: as of late 2021 this property is for sale.
The Lamborn Vineyards story begins in 1969 when Bob Lamborn purchased an acre of land from one of his friends who owned a weekend property on Howell Mountain. Two years later Bob and his son Mike purchased two separate plots of land for a total of 40 acres (14 of which were able to be planted). Neither one had any experience in the wine industry but Bob was looking for a change of pace from his job as a Private Investigator in the San Francisco Bay Area. And the wine industry would certainly be quite a change from Bob’s previous career; through his PI work, he worked with the FBI and the CIA. The most notorious case he worked on was when he was hired by Patty Hearst’s mother after her daughter was abducted by the Symbionese Liberation Army.
Existing vines had been planted on Bob’s property in the late 1800s by Italian immigrants and were still growing at the time of their purchase. Bob nursed these vines back to health as they had not been cared for since the beginning of prohibition.
With the exception of their well-known winemaker Heidi Barrett, this is an entirely family run operation (although over the years Heidi has become like family to the Lamborns). Mike and Terry’s sons Matt and Brian (the third generation) are also actively involved in to the day to day operations. Matt has a masters degree in landscape architecture and helps manage the vineyards as well as operating his own mapping and data analysis company, Pacific GeoData. Brian has been involved for many years with the Lamborn marketing and sales. Perhaps the 4th generation will be involved sooner rather then later.
Heidi has been making the Lamborn wines since 1997 (formerly at Screaming Eagle, Grace Family among many other premium wineries). Their particular site, the details and micro management that go in to the farming and caring for these grapes, plus Heidi’s considerable wine-making skills produce exceptional wines.