ZD Chardonnay is set apart from most Chardonnays through its distinctive style, the quality of its production, and the consistency with which it is produced. Its style is based on four elements, and each element makes an important contribution to the overall production of the final wine. First, ZD's style is to blend Chardonnay grapes from California's cool, coastal growing regions. This blending process builds complexity in the wine and maintains consistency with every vintage. Second, ZD barrel ferments and ages its Chardonnay in American oak barrels. American oak offers subtle nuances that make ZD wines distinguishable and flavorful. Third, ZD Chardonnay undergoes a long fermentation due to the cool 48 degree temperature of ZD's cellar. ZD carefully maintains this temperature throughout the entire fermentation. This process extends yeast contact, which contributes to the wines having a creamy texture similar to wines aged sur lees. Finally, ZD Chardonnay does not undergo malo-lactic fermentation. This preserves the varietal character and natural acidity of the wine. As a result, ZD Chardonnay ages more gracefully and is a great complement to food.
Pinot Noir is the grandfather of ZD Wines. It was one of the first wines ZD produced and has been produced every year since the 1969 vintage - the year ZD was bonded. The Carneros region is the home of the winegrapes used in producing ZD Pinot Noir. ZD's first Pinot Noir was proudly labeled: "Produced in Sonoma County From Grapes Grown in the Carneros Region of Napa" - making it the first wine to recognize the Carneros region on its label. It was 1981 before Carneros was registered as a recognized grape-growing appellation. Part of ZD's original plan was to produce world-class Burgundian-style varietals, but over the years, a style has developed that is distinctly Carneros. Consistent quality has earned the Carneros region a reputation as one of the premier wine-growing regions of California. A noble winegrape, Pinot Noir tends to produce wines of delicacy rather than power. ZD Pinot Noirs are crafted to reflect richness and intense varietal character in a style that uses the California sunshine in a cool grape-growing region to fully mature the grapes for intensity and flavor.
Before producing any measurable quantities of Cabernet Sauvignon, ZD Wines experimented with crafting small lots of this great varietal with grapes from many growing regions. The quest for locating the winegrapes that would best reflect ZD's style ended in 1983 - four years after ZD moved to its home in Rutherford, Napa Valley. This premiere growing area for Cabernet Sauvignon focused the de Leuze family on the varietal. They planted Cabernet on the property's surrounding 3.2 acres of sloping, eastern benchland. At the same time, they sought winegrapes from low-yielding vineyards producing intensely flavored fruit. Significant to ZD's style of Cabernet is its predominant use of hillside winegrapes. Although Cabernet Sauvignon was not part of the original production plan when ZD Wines was founded, it has become a highly acclaimed complement to ZD's family of wines. The wine is opulent and rich, with just a hint of "Rutherford Dust" in its reserve blend.