If you have never had the opportunity to taste a Storybook Mountain Zinfandel or other, you’re definitely missing out. The wines are refined and just plain stellar, and I was lucky to try four of their wines at a tasting on Friday night.
Rick Williams, one of the owners and in charge of marketing and sales for the winery, was there to talk about the wines and the interesting history of Storybook Mountain Vineyards. Turns out that the vineyards were first planted in the Mayacamas Mountains in Napa Valley in 1883 by Adam and Jacob Grimm, known then as Grimm’s Vineyards & Wine Vaults. Unfortunately, a 1964 wildfire completely destroyed the winery and it was left abandoned. When Jerry and Sigrid purchased the winery in 1976, they named it Storybook Mountain in honor of the original founders (remember Grimm’s fairy tales?). Rick also told us they were planting Zinfandel when everyone else in the area was ripping it out! Pretty cool… and they’re a certified organic winery, too (cheers to that!). Also, Jerry Seps founded ZAP (Zinfandel Advocates and Producers) in 1990. When I lived in San Francisco, I attended the ZAP festival a few times which always promised a good time, good wines, and VERY red-stained teeth. :)
We first tried the 2011 Storybook Estate Viognier. They only produced 60 cases of this wine so if you find this bottle I’d be sure to snatch it up! Definitely one of the best whites I’ve had in awhile! The wine has wonderful lemon and peach aromas and great acid to balance out the viscosity of Viognier. Overall it’s a wine that is crisp and clean with delicious flavors of white peaches – perfect for a summer day, but why wait for summer? The owners of the wine shop where we had the tasting suggested pairing this wine with a grilled cheese with apple and proscuitto, which would be great, and I also think it’d go well with anything with nectarine or peach salsa.
Next, we had the 2009 Storybook Antaenus, a twist on a Bordeaux blend with Zin as the prominent grape. What does Antaenus mean you ask? Well, Antaeus is the son of Water and Earth in Greek mythology, a symbol of strength derived from the soil. Yes, this was a pretty strong wine with plums and currants on the nose, some oak and white pepper. It tasted of figs and plums with pepper on the finish. It’s rich, balanced and very smooth in texture. Delish! This would go great with anything with figs… maybe a flatbread with figs, arugula and a balsamic glaze. I think my stomach just growled!!
The third wine was the 2009 Storybook Mayacamas Range Zinfandel. At first I smelled the alcohol, but it was soon overpowered by jammy aromas of ripe strawberries, raspberries and quite a bit of oak. With flavors of black raspberry and pepper, it’s got a smooth finish that doesn’t leave too heavy of a mouth feel which was nice. I think this wine could even benefit from a bit more aging, but try it with some grilled lamb now!
Lastly, we tasted the 2008 Seps Estate Cabernet which is a nice Cab. It’s big and powerful, with aromas of dark cherries and dark stone fruit, a hint of mocha and almost vegetal hints of green bell peppers. Really long finish and a perfect way to end the tasting!
2011 Storybook Estate Viognier – $35
2009 Storybook Antaenus – $40 (blend of 51% Zinfandel, 37% Cabernet, 8% Merlot, 4% Petite Verdot)
2009 Storybook Mayacamas Range Zinfandel – $36
2008 Seps Estate Cabernet – $55-65