2014 Lagier Meredith, Tribidrag, Mount Veeder, Napa Valley.
The 2014 Lagier Meredith Tribidrag, aka Zinfandel, from Steve Lagier and Dr. Carole Meredith’s beautiful estate high up on Napa’s Mount Veeder is a gorgeous example of this once Croatian varietal (immigrant) that has become our state grape and continues to enjoy a special place in our California hearts, showing the vintage’s fabulous cool blue tones and freshness detailing with lovely dense concentration of fruit. In the world of fine Zinfandel, Lagier Meredith sits nicely with the legendary Ridge Vineyards, as well as greats and elite producers like Turley Wine Cellars, Biale, Carlisle, Lamborn and Sky, especially in a year like this 2014, one of my absolute favorites for Zin and really all of the Napa region in particular. The brilliant deep purple/garnet color draws you in and the subtle perfume with delicate floral and spicy notes that, along with, a sense of mountain blackberry lifts from the glass before a thrilling palate of vine picked raspberry, wild plum, black cherry, and currant fruits that unfolds with seamless perfection along with dried herbs, anise, sage/lavender and a touch of smoky cedar. With a surprisingly cool marine layer bringing a July chill to the Carmel area and a classic everything on it take away pizza, this wine, provided comforting drinking and smiles, it gave a thrilling performance for a few souls in need of a distraction of the devastation that the idiot in the White House has brought our much loved land, it is times like these that make you even more grateful for the hard work and passion that small wineries put into their efforts. The four and half acre Lagier Meredith Mount Veeder estate sits about 1,300 feet up, in the Mayacamas range, facing mostly east over the southern part of the Napa Valley set on fractured shale and sandstone soils, which all leads to dark tannic mountain fruit with the vines producing small yields and tiny berries, these are intriguing age worthy and complex wines.

Carole Meredith, the famous UC Davis research professor of grape genetics fame who in fact discovered Zinfandel’s true origins, is one of the wine world’s most interesting and knowledgable people, I have always enjoyed badgering her with questions over the years, which it should be noted, she patiently and humbly answered! I have always been of fan or her and Steve’s wines, in particular their Mount Veeder Mountain Syrah, one of the best kept secrets of California wine, as well as this Tribidrag (Zin), plus the very unique Mondeuse, the rare Savoie grape that is gaining some geeky attention in the state, especially in the hands of Jaimee Motely. The Lagier Meredith Tribidrag comes from the sustainably farmed estate vines, they even have a hawk on the payroll here, Ethan, who also has a big following on their Instagram, and it is traditionally fermented and aged with no new oak being used. Steve’s back breaking vineyard work brings us an amazing and rewarding experience, and with only about 5 barrels available in any given vintage, it is a treat to get a few bottles of this delicious Zin, I mean Tribidrag! The wine usually gets close to two years of aging in neutral French barrique, in this case 22 or so months and bottled unfiltered to preserve the purity of place. Tribidrag, as Meredith explains, was the ancient name for Zinfandel in the Middle Ages, when it was widely grown along the Dalmatian Coast of present-day Croatia. It was one of the most important varieties in the Adriatic wine trade in the 1300’s. I cannot express in a few short paragraphs due justice to the body of work and the magnitude of importance of Dr. Meredith’s work. Lagier Meredith call their wine Tribidrag as a tribute to the noble and ancient European heritage of Zinfandel and its absolutely fascinating story of getting here. I highly recommend reading about Mededith’s efforts, some of which I have reported here on grapelive.com, and I even more so suggest getting on their list!
($45 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive

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