Winery/Vineyard: Foot Path Winery
Product/Varietal: 50% Zinfandel + 50% Syrah
AVA on Bottle: Temecula Valley
Winemaker: Dean Foote
How They Describe It
Located on the east side of Temecula’s wine country, our Winery and farm are just minutes from down town Temecula. We are a very small, family owned and operated winery. Our winery is situated in our steel barn, which is also used for our Citrus farm. Our goal is to keep it simple, have some fun and enjoy small quantities of hand crafted red wines.
My wife Christine, sister in-law Fran, daughters: Kelly, Taunya, Dena, son in-laws: Dan and Doug, nieces: Shannon and Nicol, and I hope you will enjoy the simple down home atmosphere. Simply stated, we are not corporate, WE ARE FAMILY.
How I Describe It
The 2013 Zin/Syrah authentically shows every day of barrel and bottle aging. After seven years, this wine is a pale garnet — almost resembling tawny port. Don’t be fooled by the color, though; this wine is bursting with flavor and aroma.
The first aromas come from the wine’s years of maturity: cooked plum, molasses, fig, flat Dr. Pepper, and candied strawberries. Vanilla and butterscotch describe time in oak barrels. Hints of rose and white pepper blend with leather-bound books.
Flat Dr. Pepper (likely from prune/plum flavors common in Zinfandel), stewed cherries, and caramelized strawberries lead the flavors. Oak notes of cedar, vanilla, and butterscotch combine with white pepper and subtle turned earth.
This is a dry to off-dry wine with medium acid and medium alcohol (13.8%). Smooth medium-plus tannins help form a rich medium-plus body, with medium-plus intensity, and a medium-plus finish.
Why is This Wine Special?
The way owner/winemaker Dean Foote approaches winemaking is akin to what I can only imagine winemaking looked like hundreds of years ago — before commercialization.
In full disclosure, the bottle described here was donated by Foot Path Winery. Other than providing the wine itself, there was no exchange of anything which would have influenced or unfairly biased this review.
Foote’s emphasizes how little he manipulates the wines, when describing his style. The winery is certified organic; he uses little if any sulfite preservatives in their wines (he says he doesn’t use them at all, but the bottle says the wine may contain sulfites); aside from using oak barrels and a French yeast he get imported, everything in the wine comes from his estate; he doesn’t acidify at all; and there is no lab analysis on any of his wines.
Everything he and his family does to craft Foot Path wines are accomplished by feel, preference, and a deep understanding of Temecula Valley terroir. The result is wine low in frills but high in quality.
The same can be said about the winery itself. Driving up the hill to the tasting room, the property looks more like a backyard than a business. The tasting room — in the family’s steel barn — has the intimacy of sipping wines in a friend’s garage, scaled up to fit a couple dozen people. The person pouring the wines isn’t a scantily paid wine server; more often than not it’s the owner himself. And while the official tasting room closing time is 5:00pm, Foote says “if I’m here, we’re open.”
When & How I Would Drink It
Last week we reviewed a similarly older wine. While, like Cabernets, Zinfandels and Syrahs are built for aging, sulfites play a significant role maintaining freshness after a few years. When preservatives are absent, wines mature much faster. Consequently, the Foot Path 2013 Zin/Syrah is about as mature as it can get. Plan to drink this wine immediately, and if you haven’t experienced the flavors of fully mature Zinfandel and/or Syrah, prepare for a trip.
Both Zinfandel and Syrah blend well with grilled meats, strong cheeses, and other hearty dishes. This 50/50 blend is no exception. With all of those luscious flavors, come to the meal with an appetite.
How to Get It
Order Online: https://www.footpathwinery.com/order-wine.html
Bottle Price: $36 ($23 special if purchase on-site)
Cases Produced: ~50 (only 5 cases left as of March 2020!)
Have you tried the Foot Path 2013 Zin/Syrah? How did the tasting notes compare with your experience? Leave a comment below.