93% Zinfandel, 7% Mourvedre
- The Haraszthy line of wines [pronounced: Hare-ass-tee] is part of the Bronco Wine Company portfolio. If Bronco doesn’t sound too familiar, maybe this one will: Fred Franzia. That’s right, Ol’ Fred Franzia, nephew of Ernest Gallo, and founder of the Charles Shaw brand, otherwise more affectionately known as “Two Buck Chuck.” Now, before you get ahead of yourself, Fred Franzia has no part in the winemaking for this particular wine! Read on…
- Hungarian-born Count Agoston Haraszthy was born into a wealthy winemaking family, but you could probably guess the wealthy-part that by the “Count” prefix on his name.
He emigrated to America in 1842, ending up in Wisconsin of all places (kind-of reminds of that one scene in Love Actually….I wonder if Wisconsin girls dig a Hungarian accent?) and after planting some vines there, he moved further west with his family.
In 1857, he founded the first winery in California: Buena Vista.
- Agoston Haraszthy is known to this day as the “The Father of California Viticulture.”
- The Haraszthy winery has been handed down through the generations, and is now in the capable hands of winemaker Vallejo Haraszthy. “Val” as he’s known to his friends, is a result of the marriage of Count Agoston Haraszthy’s son (Attila), and General Mariano Vallejo’s daughter. (who founded Sonoma in 1834 as Mexico’s northernmost military outpost) .
Side-note: I’m always jealous of people with that kind of family history! I have nothing like that in my family tree! We’ve done NOTHING of ANY relevance the whole time we’ve been on this earth, at least, nothing that would make the history books! Oh well…
- The Haraszthy winery only produces Zinfandel, making 3 different wines out of 3 different California wine regions: Amador, Lodi and Sonoma.
- Since a California grizzly is adorned on the state flag, Haraszthy chose to have it adorning their wine bottles.
- Nestled in amongst the Sierra Foothills (see map) is little-known Amador County. There are around 40 wineries located in Amador, most of which are still family-owned, and currently harvest around 4,000 acres (6.25 sq miles) of grape vines.
- Grapes, more specifically wine grapes, are the largest agricultural crop in Amador and total around 50% of its agricultural value.
- Amador County has some of the largest acreage of old vines in California. I know the term “old vines” is thrown around very loosely these days (mainly for marketing purposes), but Amador has one of the largest plantings of 60+ year old vines.
- Many of the early settlers in the Amador region travelled there for the same reason as Agoston Haraszthy i.e. gold. Since the majority of them were European, when the gold mines started drying up, they turned their attention to what they knew best: winemaking.
- More grapes are farmed organically in Amador County than in any other California wine region.
- Zinfandel leads the plantings in Amador, with around 66% of vines being Zin, since the vines favor the hot climate.
The nose is heavy on blackberry, nutmeg, cinnamon and anise. The palate skews a little-more towards jammy raspberry, rich cherry, licorice and pepper. It doesn’t overwhelm with alcohol, maintaining a fair balance between fruit and acidity and with a medium finish. It’s a wine I’d buy again.
Pair as you normally would with a heavier Californian red wine, just make sure you stay light on the spice, since the Haraszthy Zinfandel is packing 15.6% alcohol. BBQ, burgers on the grill, ribs, Moroccan style lamb, pork tenderloin, chicken cattiatore, ribeye, cedar plank salmon, and stronger cheeses.
$16 – You can’t argue with that!