Austrian grapes, a French winemaker, California soil: Zocker Wines

Friends, this week we take you all over the globe in one winery, Zocker. Zocker is an American winery that produces wines made exclusively from the white varietals of Grüner Veltliner and Riesling. The grapes are grown on the Niven family’s famed Paragon Vineyard in the Edna Valley on the Central Coast of California, and the wines are made by veteran French winemaker Christian Roguenant. The latest project of Niven Family Wine Estates, Zocker (Austrian word for Gambler) is likely their riskiest venture yet, as these varietals are far from conventional.

ZockerJack Niven, with his adventurous spirit, pioneered wine grape planting through Paragon Vineyard in the Edna Valley over forty years ago. His descendants, along with winemaker Christian Roguenant, have carried that same spirit forward by bringing in varietals that are unique, racy and intriguing.

Zocker (the German word for gambler), has captured the essence of being unconventional. Grüner Veltliner is very rare domestically, but is truly one of the most food-friendly wines in the world. Though Riesling is not as rare, Zocker takes a unique approach to developing a new style. Both these wines bring an exciting and progressive approach to winemaking and wine drinking.

The risk paid off, as Zocker has been highly praised and recognized in wine competitions all around the world. We invite you to try this unique wine, it’s worth the gamble!

Jack Niven came to San Luis Obispo in the early 1970s with the vision to plant a vineyard in what was then a valley of dairy farms and dry farmed garbanzo beans. After working with the top viticulture professors from UC Davis and Fresno State, he determined the perfect location and planted the Paragon Vineyard in 1973. Home to the oldest continually producing Chardonnay vines in the region, the Niven family has owned and farmed this vineyard for more than 40 years. Jack later went on to petition to establish Edna Valley as an official American Viticultural Area (AVA) in 1982.

The second and third generations of the Niven family have since continued his legacy. Today their portfolio focuses on exploring the endless potential and diversity in their historic Paragon Vineyard.

Zocker Wines, California, Riesling :: $18.50 sale $16.50

Though Riesling is not quite a rare in the U.S., it’s made at so many different sugar levels that it’s difficult for consumers to pin down. Zocker strives to create an unconventional barely off-dry style that balances between minerality and acid. It’s a great wine with many foods, especially those with a little spice.

This refreshing, vibrant wine has aromas of citrus, melon, mango and peaches, along with floral notes and a nice hint of white pepper spiciness. It is rich and complex, with honey, citrus and apple flavors, framed by a nice acid structure that balances its natural sweetness.

Zocker Wines, California, Grüner Veltliner, 2015 :: $18.50 sale $16.50

Gruner Veltliner, a rare varietal in the US is a unique food friendly white originating from Austria. Growing it here in the Edna Valley was a gamble, but the coastal soils have cultivated a beautiful and dynamic Gruner that has been turning heads since our first vintage in 2009. It has won awards all over the world and continues to showcase just how special of a place the Edna Valley is to grow Gruner.

Rich and round but with great acid structure, this wine is steely and has pronounced minerality. It has a bit of an earthy characteristic, a strong white pepper note, and flavors of ripe melon and fruit cocktail.

Prices good through Tuesday, June 6.


Manuel Manzaneque Suarez

It’s that time again, friends: Wine Share Saturday at Pearl Wine Company! Curious as to what the wine share is? At Pearl Wine Company we believe in real wine made by real people. Each month we hand select wines authentic wines made at family-owned wineries. When you pick up your share, you’ll not only be receiving wine, you’ll receive the profile and story of each featured winery. For levels, choose either our Table Wine, Banquet or Connoisseur Wine Share monthly collections. Pick up your box the first Saturday of each month. Selections rotate with the seasons.

We’ll taste two wines blind, and we’ll vote for one of those for the next wine share. Come prepared to also sample two wines from the store.

TABLE WINE $55 – four bottles

At PWC we refer to our everyday drinking wine as Tuesday Night Wine or Table Wine. Think of it as that bottle that you can pop open and enjoy with pizza, a burger or on its own! This section is a rotating selection of wines that are on our table any given month.

THE BANQUET $95 – six bottles

Our Banquet is comprised of six bottles and will include four table wine bottles and two bottles you might plan a dinner around, open for some guests or even lay down for that right occasion!

We start sippin’ and tastin’ at 4pm. Hope you can make it! Tag your pics #pickitupatpearl so we can CHEERS! 

Discover why 5280 Magazine Readers and Editors voted Pearl Wine Company Denver’s BEST BOTTLE SHOP. PWC takes pride in being Denver’s best wine shop–a craft liquor specialty store. Conveniently located on South Pearl Street in Denver’s Platt Park neighborhood.