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The Week in Zinfandel (1/9/17)

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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2000 Vieux Télégraphe Châteauneuf-du-Pape – Bottle Notes

Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, in the Rhone Valley, was founded in 1898 by Hippolyte Brunier. Located on the highest terrace of the appellation, the domaine was named for an 18th century telegraph relay tower located nearby. Today the 173-acre domaine is run by Daniel and Frederic Brunier, the great grandsons of the founder. Vieux Télégraphe is one of the appellation’s most admired estates. The vineyards are planted to 65% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre and 5% Cinsault and other grapes.

Garnet in color. 14% ABV. Gorgeous nose of red fruits, garrigue, white pepper and seaweed. Medium body with medium to strong acidity. Big and bold with noticeable tannins. Cherries, kirsch, minerals and iron on the palate. The finish is long and somewhat tannic. Classically structured Chateauneuf from a traditional producer. I’d be inclined to drink over the next several years while there is enough fruit to balance out the tannins.

My rating: 92 points.

I previously wrote about Vieux Télégraphe in 2010 Châteauneuf-du-Pape: My Recommendations. The ’12 version of this wine is spectacular and still available at retail for about $60 per bottle. Happy hunting!

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2003 J. Rochioli Pinot Noir Three Corner Vineyard – Bottle Notes

Rochioli is one of the true pioneers in Russian River Valley, with a winemaking history dating back to the the late 1950′s. In 1987 Rochioli released their first estate wine, the 1985 Rochioli Pinot Noir. Although best known for their world class Pinot Noir, Rochioli also produces remarkable Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Three Corner Vineyard is a small triangle shaped parcel at the southern end of Rochioli Vineyard. The winery recently published a detailed map of the Estate Vineyard that is required viewing for fans of the winery.

Light crimson in color. Almost translucent. 14.2% ABV. Stunning nose of black fruits, cloves, baking spices and soil. Medium body with perfect acidity. Elegant and sophisticated with great texture and mouth feel. Flavors of black cherries, cloves, earth and cinnamon. The finish is exceptionally long. Truly hard to believe this Pinot Noir shows so young at 14 years of age. Rochioli at its finest. Drink over the next 2-3 years.

My rating: 95 points.

The current version was approximately $85 off the mailing list.

At present time (and for the foreseeable future) buying from Rochioli via the mailing list is not an option. The Estate wines do show up at retail periodically, and the winery’s Russian River Valley tasting room is still open for public tasting. They may only be pouring a couple of wines, but it’s a great opportunity to buy a bottle for a picnic on their lovely patio and a few more to bring home for the cellar.

I’ve blogged about Rochioli previously in the The 2016 Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings and the Fab 5 of Mailing Lists.

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The Week in Zinfandel (1/2/17)

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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Zinfandel of the Month – 2011 Hartford Family Winery Zinfandel

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 Hartford Family Zinfandel Russian River Valley Old Vine.

Hartford Family Winery was founded in 1994 as a result of Don and Jennifer Hartford’s appreciation for the wines, the people, and the unique vineyards near their Russian River Valley home. Located in the Sonoma County town of Forestville, the winery is about 15 miles from the cool Pacific Coast. Jeff Stewart is the Hartford Family Winemaker.

Bright red in color. 15% ABV. Big nose of black fruits, cracked pepper and raspberry liqueur. Medium body with light to medium acidity. Fresh and elegant claret style Zinfandel. Blackberry, black cherry, tea and vanilla on the palate. The finish is long and spicy. Pretty Zinfandel from a tough vintage. Drink over the next 1-2 years.

My rating: 89 points.

The 2014 Hartford Family Zinfandel was the Number 10 Wine of the Year in the Wine Spectator Top 100. I had never tried Hartford Family so I set out to find a bottle locally to see what all the fuss was about. I found the 2011 at the compelling price of $24 although I believe the 2014 is priced closer to $35. Given what was in the bottle I will be looking for the 2014 as well.

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2006 Cayuse Syrah Cailloux Vineyard – Bottle Notes

Cayuse was founded in 1997 by Christophe Baron, a native of France who grew up in family of winemakers in Champagne. Baron studied viticulture in Burgundy and Champagne, and had ambitions to make Pinot Noir in Oregon. However, on a visit to Walla Walla he found property that he believed would be perfect for growing grapes and decided to purchase the land.

Cailloux was Christophe’s first Walla Walla Valley vineyard. This 10-acre plot was our planted in the stones of Milton Freewater in 1997.

Crimson in color. 15.3% ABV. Musky nose of red fruits, olive tapenade, iodine and grilled meats. Medium to full body with light acidity. Incredibly concentrated. Cherries, cherries and more cherries on the palate with blood, cabbage and game along for the ride. The finish is exceptionally long. Sometimes I feel like I am in a time warp with Christophe’s wines. This was fantastic on release when I first tried it, is fantastic after a decade in the bottle and will likely age well for the forseeable future. Drink over the next 2-4 years.

My rating: 96 points.

The waiting list for the Cayuse mailing list is huge and you need to be well-connected to get a bottle via retail. Either way, current vintages are worth the hunt! Earlier this year Christophe Baron finally made the cover of the Wine Spectator. Cayuse, Horsepower and No Girls are dialed in and Christophe has a new project and vineyard in the works. Expect to hear about Hors Categorie and Fiddleneck Vineyard in the next year or so.

I blogged about Cayuse previously in The 2016 Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings and Winery Mailing Lists: The Fab 5.

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2010 Reynvaan Syrah The Unnamed – Bottle Notes

Reynvaan Family Vineyards is a small family owned winery started by Mike and Gale Reynvaan in May of 2004 in Walla Walla, Washington. They initially purchased a 37 acre parcel of land on Cottonwood Road at the base of the Blue Mountains. Their son Matt is the winemaker and Christophe Baron of Cayuse has served as a consultant. Reynvaan Family Vineyards is dedicated to creating fine wines exclusively from the terroir of Walla Walla Valley.

The Unnamed Syrah is co-fermented with 4% Grenache Blanc and is sourced from the In the Rocks Vineyard in Milton-Freewater.

Blood red in color. 14.7% ABV. Reticent nose of red fruits, olive brine, smoke and iron. Full bodied with medium acidity. Immensely concentrated and pure. Cherry liqueur, saline, olives and blood on the palate. The finish lingers. Fantastic Syrah that is only ready to go now with a healthy decant. This wine will certainly age well for the next 5-7 years. Lots to like here.

My rating: 95 points.

The Reynvaan mailing list is not quite full. Well connected buyers can also find the wines at retail. One of the most exciting wineries in Washington. Proceed accordingly.

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The Week in Zinfandel (12/26/16)

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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2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Papera Ranch

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.

Papera Vineyard is situated in the Russian River Valley and was planted in 1934 by Charlie Papera. Most vineyards from this era are comprised of a number of mixed black varieties. Papera, on the other hand, is 95% Zinfandel.

Bright crimson in color. 14.6% ABV. Savory nose of red and black fruits, earthy loam and flowers. Medium body with medium acidity and a hint of spritz. Strawberry, raspberry, blood orange and a little black pepper on the palate. Claret style Zinfandel with a medium length finish. Drink over the next 1-2 years.

My rating: 90 points.

The mailing at Bedrock is highly recommended. Exceptional wines, fair prices and great customer service. Put your name on the waiting list.

I blogged about Bedrock recently in The 2016 Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings.

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1992 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve – 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. Quilceda Creek also produces several single vineyard Cabernets and a Columbia Valley Red Wine.

This wine was briefly decanted.

Crimson in color. 13.3% ABV. Stunning nose of red fruits, graphite, tobacco leaf and menthol. Silky and elegant on the palate with completely resolved tannins. Flavors of plums, currants, balsamic and cassis. The finish is long and plush. The last Reserve wine from Quilceda Creek and a glimpse into Washington wine history. Clearly ready to drink at 25 years of age. What a treat as we wind down 2016.

My rating: 92 points.

Quilceda Creek is best obtained via the mailing list and you may be able to find some at retail in late March or early April.

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

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