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It was legendary winemaker Andre Tchelistcheff who suggested planting zinfandel in the red-clay loam soils of the eastern exposure of Storybook Mountain Vineyards’ hills.

The critical acclaim the winery’s zins have received over the years indicate Tchelistcheff did indeed know his stuff.

The 2012 Storybook Mountain Vineyards Napa Estate Mayacamas Range Zinfandel starts off with aromas of dark berries, as if walking through a field of blackberry bushes.

It is elegant and balanced with a bit of white pepper and lots of dark stone fruits up front. Mid-palate comes bay leaf and other herbs and a touch of pine. After opening up a bit, other red fruit comes into play with some pomegranate and a hint of dried cranberry.

The grapes are grown 100 percent organically on the estate, where the vineyards are divided into 100 separate micro-blocks based on grape variety, sun exposure, rootstock and clone. This area receives more rain than most of Napa County, about twice that of the cooler-climate Carneros region, and is a quarter-mile from the Sonoma County line.

In 1976 Jerry and Sigrid Seps bought 90 acres of the property that was once owned by and farmed by the Brothers Grimm — think Snow White, Hansel and Gretel, Sleeping Beauty, and then the name of the winery makes perfect sense. The Grimm family had been involved in winegrowing since 1540 in Germany, and Adam Grimm founded the Calistoga property in 1883.

The Seps’ work with their daughter and son-in-law, Colleen and Rick Williams, in running the winery.

Caves, more than 125 years old now and dug by Chinese laborers for the Grimms, serve as the tasting room which is open for tours and tastings by appointment Monday through Saturday. The experience includes a walking tour of the vineyards followed by a tasting. To make a reservation call 942-5310 or email Storybook is located at 3835 Highway 128.


The Weekly Calistogan Editor