Nalle Winery: Ahead of the Curve
I enjoy Zinfandel as much as anybody else, but I have to admit being a bit taken aback by some of the very high alcohol levels of late. Not that these wines aren’t enjoyable for what they are, but sometimes I wonder if I’m drinking a Port rather than a table wine.
> However, there are some noteable exceptions, and Nalle Winery is one of them. Winemaker Doug Nalle prides himself on making Zinfandel with moderate alcohol that above all else is balanced. This may not be the type of wine to turn heads at blind tastings, but if you are enjoying it with food, that is a good thing.
The Nalle Family has owned their Dry Creek Valley estate since 1927. After graduating with a Master’s Degree in Enology from UC Davis, Doug worked with several famous winemakers including Richard Arrowood and John Kongsgaard. In 1984, he made his first vintage of Nalle Zinfandel.
While many other winemakers age Zin in American oak, Doug only uses French barrels. This contributes to his wines’ considerable finesse, grace, and restraint. His oldest son, Andrew, has been the assistant winemaker at Nalle since 2003. I highly recommend visiting their tasting room in Northern Sonoma County near the town of Healdsburg.