Witching Stick Zinfandel 2017

Fashauer Vineyard, Anderson Valley, Mendocino
$42 (Wine Club Reorder Price: $38)

Witching Stick is quintessential Anderson Valley: small, unassuming, slightly disheveled but with disarmingly good wines! The winery’s name refers to water witching, the practice of locating underground water sources with a rod. It sounds superstitious, though you’ll find plenty of vintners who claim to have determined suitable vineyard sites this way.

The little operation belongs to Van Williamson, who worked for many years at Edmeades Winery. Van, a very talented winemaker, specializes in Pinot Noir although he also does beautiful things with Zinfandel, Syrah, and Chardonnay. When you visit their Philo tasting room, you’ll likely be hosted by Van himself.

Van became interested in wine as a simple matter of survival. As a student at Chico State University studying civil engineering, the only thing his roommates would not drink was wine. So he began tasting and bringing wine back to their room. In his junior year he became interested in wine and switched to Fresno State University to major in enology and winemaking.

Along the way, Williamson married his wife Anne, whose Aunt Leitha was married to Tony Fashauer, the owner of a 200+ acre vineyard well established in Philo, Mendocino County. When Anne turned 30, her aunt gave her the acreage that today bears her name! The well-drained vineyard, located at an elevation of 1,200 feet, was planted with Zinfandel and the Williamsons have continued that as growers.

The 2017 Fashauer Vineyard Anderson Valley Zinfandel is jammy with bramble and berry aromas, dark chocolate undertones and a soft, full body aftertaste. A relatively low-alcohol Zinfandel, it offers dusty blue fruit and piles earthiness around a core of juicy texture. Straightforward on the finish, with a hit of herb and fresh farm. A bigger Zinfandel wine pairs well with tomato-based dishes so we suggest making a spring vegetable lasagna to pair with this beautiful dark wine.

Jennie Kaplan Woodson – April 2021

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