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The Week in Zinfandel (1/19/15)

Welcome to the latest installment of The Week in Zinfandel. If I missed your post or story please send me a link and I will be sure to include it next week. Cheers!

 

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Seahawk Football and Bedrock Zinfandel

If you have done this wine thing for long enough you end up tasting some great bottles, whether at a Release Party or with your favorite tasting group. Over time though the bottles that really resonate and leave an indelible memory are those that you associate with a particular event.

I’ll never forget the 1992 Leonetti Merlot that my soon to be wife and I shared on the eve of the millennium. One of the best Merlots ever produced in Washington. Nor will I forget the 1997 Brown Zinfandel we served to the guests at our rehearsal dinner. A great Zin I that have bought every year since.

The list goes on but the point is all wine lovers remember where they were at, and what they were doing, when they opened a certain bottle. Sometimes it is the bottle that makes the event special but more often than not, for me, it is the event that makes the bottle special.

All of this brings us to the NFC Championship this past Sunday. I was coming off a head cold and probably should have limited my alcohol consumption to some sort of cold medicine like NyQuil. That being the case I wanted to open a great bottle but not necessarily one that I would feel bad about not paying much attention to. The 2013 Bedrock Old Vine Zinfandel at $20 or so totally fit the bill.

For about 3 hours the wine showed considerably better than the Seahawks. If you are curious, I previously published a Bottle Note. I never allowed myself to celebrate during the game because the outcome never looked favorable even as the last few minutes unfolded. When Russell Wilson hit Jermaine Kearse with game winning touchdown the city literally exploded. Cheers erupted from the restaurants down the street and the houses nearby. Fireworks went off in the neighborhood. Yours truly though was so emotionally drained that all I could do was finally sit back in my chair and savor the last few sips of a bottle that I will never forget.

I’d enjoy hearing about a bottle, great or otherwise, that has left a lasting impression with you.

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2006 Dehlinger Estate Pinot Noir – Bottle Notes

Dehlinger Winery is located in the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County and was founded in 1975 by Tom and Carole Dehlinger. Eva Dehlinger took over winemaking duties in 2007. Known for their Pinot Noir, Dehlinger also makes Chardonnay, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah.

The grapes for Dehlinger Wines are largely grown on the Estate Vineyard in the Russian River Valley. The initial vines were planted in 1975 and followed by subsequent plantings through 1989.

Light crimson in color. Almost translucent. 14.9% ABV. Pure nose of red fruits, cloves and earth. Medium body with perfect acidity. Super clean on the palate with flavors of cherries, cranberries, strawberries and spice. The finish is long and seamless. Drink over the next 2-3 years. This bottle was a relief after after some problematic bottles from ’04 and ’05. Special wine. Everything I love about Dehlinger.

My rating: 94 points.

Dehlinger Winery has a great reputation among wine connoisseurs. Wine writers have consistently given strong reviews while praising the winery for its uniqueness, quality, consistency and value. About 75% of their wine is sold via the mailing list. Amazing wines that are well worth the search.

I wrote about Dehlinger previously in the Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings.

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The Week in Zinfandel (1/12/15)

Welcome to the latest installment of The Week in Zinfandel. If I missed your post or story please send me a link and I will be sure to include it next week. Cheers!

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2013 Bedrock Wine Co. Old Vine Zinfandel – Bottle Notes

Bedrock Wine Co. was founded by Morgan Twain-Peterson in 2007 and focuses on small production wines from many of California’ s most treasured and historic vineyards. The lineup of wines at Bedrock is expanding rapidly, but I think the best of the best are the ancient vineyard Zinfandels, Morgan is clearly passionate about.

From a multitude of vineyards with vines averaging 80 years of age.

Dark violet in color. 14.5% ABV. Black fruits, pepper and flowers on the nose. Bright and rich with strong acidity on the palate. Flavors of blackberry, blueberry, pepper and vanilla. The finish is long and spicy. Not as complex as the single vineyard wines from Bedrock but exceptionally well made. One of the single best values in California Zinfandel at $20 a bottle. You can’t go wrong here and I will be a buyer of the 2014 version.

My rating: 91 points.

The mailing at Bedrock is highly recommended. Exceptional wines, fair prices and great customer service. Don’t delay.

I blogged about Bedrock recently in the Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings.

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Zinfandel of the Month – 2011 Ravenswood Zinfandel Bedrock Vineyard

Zinfandel of the Month is a regular feature on Zinfandel Chronicles. Keep in mind that although the Zinfandel of the Month might be an older bottle, the current vintage will be one you can find at retail or via the mailing list.

The January Zinfandel of the Month is the 2011 Ravenswood Zinfandel Bedrock Vineyard.

Ravenswood was founded in 1976 by Joel Peterson. The winery is a pioneer in producing single vineyard Zinfandels from some of Napa and Sonoma’s most treasured vineyards, including Dickerson, Old Hill, Cooke and Belloni. I used to regularly visited Ravenswood in the summer, when they released their single vineyard wines. Back in the day they also served delicious barbeque on the deck out behind the winery. Great wine, great food and great memories.

Bedrock Vineyard is situated in the heart of Sonoma Valley and the vines trace back to the the 1880’s. Ravenswood, along with Carlisle and Bedrock currently have access to the grapes.

Purple in color. 14.9% ABV. Red fruits, licorice and pepper on the nose. Rich and juicy. Fabulous texture and mouthfeel. Raspberry liquer, boysenberry, white pepper and bittersweet chocolate on the palate. Silky tannins and super acidity. Great Zinfandel…but what else would you expect from a combination of Ravenswood Winery and Bedrock Vineyard? Drink over the next several years.

My rating: 92 points.

Ravenswood is widely available at retail the winery and via the mailing list. The ’12 version of the Bedrock Vineyard Zinfandel will cost you $37.

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1999 Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon – Bottle Notes

Spottswoode is a family owned winegrowing estate located on the western edge of St. Helena in the Napa Valley. The 46 acre estate, established in 1882, is distinguished by the historic Victorian home depicted on the label. Its entrance is graced by classic formal gardens, while the vineyard stretches behind to the Mayacamas Mountains.

The Spottswoode Estate was bought by Jack and Mary Novak in 1972. The first Cabernet Sauvignon was produced in 1982. Spottswoode also makes an exceptional Sauvignon Blanc, a second Cabernet named Lydenhurst and a Rhone blend known as Field Book.

Decanted for 30 minutes. Surprisingly dark in color. 13.5% ABV. Bordeaux like nose of graphite, leather and currants. Rich and powerful on the palate with super silky tannins. Flavors of plums, cassis, cherries and pencil. The finish is exceptional. The wine is in a great spot right now and I would be inclined to drink over the next year or so. Everything I look for in Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Bravo!

My rating: 94 points.

The 2012 vintage will be released in the next few months. I will order a few bottles, but at $145 per, the wine is no longer the value it was 5-7 years ago. The 2011 is available at the winery via the mailing list and at retail.

I blogged about Spottswoode previously in Overlooked Wines from Great Producers.

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The Week in Zinfandel (1/5/15)

Welcome to the latest installment of The Week in Zinfandel. If I missed your post or story please send me a link and I will be sure to include it next week. Cheers!

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1999 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon – Bottle Notes

Quilceda Creek Vintners was founded in 1978 by Alex and Jeanette Golitzin. Alex Golitzin is a nephew of André Tchelistcheff, the legendary winemaker who put Beaulieu Vineyard at the forefront of Napa Valley Cabernet in the 1960s and 70s. He credits summer trips to visit his uncle in St. Helena, California with developing his early interest in wine. Alex’s son, Paul Golitzin is now chief winemaker at the winery.

Quilceda Creek Vintners Cabernet Sauvignon has earned some of the highest scores of any wine produced in the United States. The 2002, ’03, ’05 and ’07 vintages all scored 100-point ratings from Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate. The 2003 vintage of Quilceda Creek’s Cabernet Sauvignon was named the No. 2 Wine of the Year by Wine Spectator. Quilceda Creek produces several single vineyard Cabernets, and they also bottled a Merlot through the ’06 vintage.

Crimson in color with some bricking on the edge of the glass. 14.5% ABV. Great nose of cedar, leather and violets. Big, powerful Cabernet Sauvignon. Black cherry, currants, cassis, cocoa and eucalyptus on the palate. Still somewhat tannic with an exceptionally long finish. Great showing. Drink over the next several years.

My rating: 95 points.

The 2012 will be released later this spring for $140. The wine can be obtained via the mailing list and at retail.

I’ve blogged about Quilceda Creek previously in The Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings.

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2006 Clos Saint Jean Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes – Bottle Notes

Clos Saint Jean was founded in 1900 in Chateauneuf du Pape and is still a small, family-run operation. The estate produces 12,500 cases annually. Brothers Pascal and Vincent Maurel run the business. Clos Saint Jean primarily produces Chateauneuf du Pape, including the Vieilles Vignes and several special cuvees including the Combe des Fous and Deus-Ex Machina. In 2002, Philippe Cambie was hired as consulting oenologist.

Deep purple in color. 14.5% ABV. With tons of coaxing I picked up red fruits, olives and saline on the nose. Big, rich and robust on the palate. Flavors of garrigue, kirsch liqueur, plums and cocoa powder. Exceptionally long and still somewhat tannic finish. I’ll let my last few bottles sit in cellar for another couple years. Lots of potential here and that bodes well for the special cuvees from this vintage.

My rating: 93 points.

The ’11 and ’12 are available at retail. Both are great buys right around $50 or so. I’m a buyer.

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