by Fred McMillin
for June 4, 1998

ZD? Oui, Oui!


"ZD Cabs are not for the shy. They are among the most densely colored, powerful, concentrated wines made in the Napa Valley."

...Eminent wine critic Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate

California Cabernet Landmarks

1826—For reasons unknown, a Bordeaux barrel- maker at age 47, leaves his wife, family and trade for Hawaii, then Monterey, and finally Los Angeles. Jean Louis Vignes plants a 35-acre vineyard, and is the first to bring the Cabernet Sauvignon to California (in 1837).

1887—The Cab has reached the Napa Valley. Prof. George Husmann says even though it is a shy bearer, it can't be dispensed with because of the highest character of its wines.

1925—Cabernet production is curtailed because of Prohibition. Struggling for survival, some wineries produce wine bricks, packages of pressed grapes along with a yeast pill. They include a stern warning to not use the pill because the grapes would change to wine.

1960—The price of Cabernet Sauvignon reflects its increasing stature: 1940-$1.50, 1950- $3.50, 1960-$8.

1969—The ZD Winery is founded by Zepponi (Gino) and De Leuze (Norman), aircraft engineers and winemakers. Later Gino is killed in an auto accident and the De Leuze family becomes sole owners.

1998—In my latest tasting, we had a huge winner, rated far above the 19 competitors. It was the 1995 ZD Cab.

The Wine

1995 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
ZD Wines, Silverado Trail, Napa, CA.
Winemaker—This is son Robert de Leuze's 15th vintage. He took over winemaking from dad (Norman) in 1983.
Contact—Rosa Lea de Leuze, (800) 487-7757
Price—$32 range


ZD was the first winery to use the now-famous Carneros District on its label. For more, see the Nov. 27, 1997 WineDay about ZD Pinot Noir.

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College and is Northern California Editor for American Wine on the Web. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.


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