Zocker is an American winery on the Central Coast of California run by the Niven family. Jack Niven arrived in San Luis Obispo in the early 1970s. At that time, the Edna Valley was primarily the site of dairy and bean farms, but Jack Niven saw the valley's potential as a wine-producing region. With this vision Paragon Vineyard was started in 1973. The Niven family has owned and farmed this vineyard for more than 40 years. Jack helped to establish Edna Valley as an official American Viticultural Area (AVA) in 1982.
In 1999, Paragon Vineyard was upgraded with a state-of-the-art fruit delivery system, a variety of presses and tanks, and four individually climate-controlled barrel rooms. Paragon Vineyard is at the cutting edge of both technology and sustainability, earning SIP certification in 2008.
Zocker Wines focus exclusively on white wines like this Gruner Veltliner and also Riesling. Gruner Veltliner is an iconic varietal of Austria from where nearly 75% of all production comes. Zocker means "gambler" in German, both a tribute to the grapes' Austrian heritage and a statement about the Niven Family's risk taking. The gamble of growing Gruner along the Central Coast of California, with such differing climate and soils from Austria, was a great risk.
The gamble certainly paid off, as this 2016 sets the standard for American Gruner. It is bright, energetic, and displays a wonderful acid structure that is characteristic of the varietal. The nose is bright and full of green apple. Anjou pear, marked minerality, green herbs, citrus, and melon are all in harmony in this medium-bodied wine. Pair this Gruner with some spicier food-think Southeast Asian dishes such as milder Thai curries and Vietnamese noodle salads.