2005 Orlando Cepeda Zinfandel “Baby Bull”: A Bottle Etched with Admiration

I’ve been a baseball fan since I was a kid, and have been a BIG Giants fan. I had the good fortune of producing a wine with Orlando Cepeda “Baby Bull” to raise funds for the Ledson Harmony Foundation for Children. All funds from the sale of every bottle of this wine goes directly to the foundation. With my ongoing faith that the Giants would soon return to a World Series, I held back some cases of this wine for such an occasion!

I gave away my series dugout seats to one of my valued employees for the first game of the series. As much as I would have liked to go to the game myself, I was finishing up harvest, have a new baby, and my wife was tempting me to stay home with a fabulous meal of butternut squash soup, mushroom, veal & spinach raviolis, and tri-tip as a finale.

And to top it off, I opened a very special bottle of 2005 Orlando Cepeda Zinfandel “Baby Bull.” As I was sipping away, the Giants fittingly won the game, 8-3 over the Detroit Tigers.

Throughout the evening, I was thinking a lot about our American baseball hero, Orlando Cepeda, and how he stepped up to the plate to collaborate with the Ledson Harmony Foundation. We produced this wine to support the Foundation, which strives to make a difference in the future of America, our children.

It was a great day when Orlando came to Ledson Winery for the release of this Zinfandel, signing baseballs and commemorative bottles of wine. Later that evening, we honored him with an intimate dinner among friends and family. Not only is Orlando a Hall of Fame recipient, he is a dedicated humanitarian who has donated hundreds of hours of his personal time to various charitable causes.

The “Baby Bull” wine is a soft yet mature delicate Zin. It reminds me of Orlando’s hands- reputed to be some of the softest ever in baseball. More than that, it’s a keepsake bottle for every Giants fan to proudly display. And these etched bottles will make great Christmas presents to those Giants fans out there!

In addition to the hours of pleasure “Baby Bull” #30 gave me watching him on the baseball field over the years, I’m grateful beyond words to Orlando for giving his time and lending his name to this wine that is helping to change the lives of so many children. It’s all about the kids.

And Go Giants!

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‘Old Vine’ Zinfandel

I love old vines. The older, the better. When I was growing up and working with my dad, he always made me aware of the age of particular vineyards. I think he was especially proud of those that had been in the ground for 50 years or more.

I have grown to believe that old vines carry memories of all the fruit they’ve born over the years, right in the DNA. When I walk through the vineyards, I can almost hear the whispers of vintages gone by. The vines have developed powerful personalities that translate into unique wines with complexity, depth, heart and soul.

I just tasted two such wines from Russian River Valley (RRV) that are beautifully woven, powerful and intense.

The 2009 RRV ‘Old Vine’ Zinfandel ‘Amy’s Vineyard’ is special to me on many levels. The vineyard is where Amy and I shared our very first kiss. I wrote a blog about that incredible experience, if you missed it.

It’s a little vineyard; the vines were planted by a dear friend of mine, Ernie Bacigalupi, and his father, when Ernie was just a teenager. The vines are close to seventy years old.

This is a classic RRV Zin, brilliant in its complexity and depth. On the nose, discover splendid black raspberries, a hint of cocoa and pie flavors. You could almost stop there and be satisfied, but by all means, don’t! The palate offers up mom’s best berry pie along with an intriguing touch of smoke. The finish transcends into an explosion of overly ripe cherries. Amy and I like to pair it with tri-tip or a nice grilled filet. For us, opening this bottle is a romantic adventure every single time.

The 2009 RRV ‘Century Vine’ Zinfandel Reserve comes from a vineyard right next door to ‘Amy’s Vineyard.’ It was planted by a friend of my father’s, Henry Montafi. Dad said the vines were planted around the turn of the century!

This dazzling Zin has great focus and presence. Aromas of rich lush blackberries and pie crust draw you into the powerful experience. With an incredible mouth feel and textural elegance, you may conjure up images of blackberry cobbler on a summer afternoon. A long, lingering finish of more fruit and pie crust – this is what Zinfandel is all about. It’s a treat for all the senses.