Cellar Management

Pick My Next Bottle – 2013 Papera Ranch Zinfandels

The May Installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on Zinfandel from Papera Ranch produced in 2013. As I mentioned in the first installment, the purpose of this series is to provide insight into specific wines or producers you may currently have in your cellar. The winning bottle will be opened this Saturday and a Bottle Note will be published shortly thereafter.

Papera Ranch is located on the eastern side of the Laguna de Santa Rosa in the Russian River AVA of Sonoma County. The vineyard is named for Charley Papera, who planted the vines in 1934. While many old vine vineyards contain plenty of mixed black varieties, most of the blocks at Papera Ranch are 95+% Zinfandel.Given its cool location, this vineyard is typically picked in late October. The fruit is used by Williams Selyem, Carlisle, Bedrock and Novy.

On another note, this is the first time Pick My Next Bottle has focused on a particular vineyard. What better place to start than the iconic Papera Ranch? On a very short list with Old Hill, Monte Rosso and Pagani for this consumers favorite Zinfandel vineyard.

The Contenders:

  • 2013 Bedrock Wine Co. Heritage Wine Zinfandel Papera Ranch – The 2013 Papera Ranch Heritage Wine is one of the richer, riper wines in this range. There is no shortage of density or pure power, but I find less of the nuance of the very best wines in the lineup. Still, readers will find an opulent, intense wine in the Papera, with both plenty of immediate appeal and the potential to improve in bottle. This block in Papera is mostly Zinfandel with a healthy complement of mixed blacks. 91 points from Vinous.
  • 2013 Carlisle Winery Zinfandel Papera Ranch – The dark ruby/purple-tinged 2013 Zinfandel Papera Ranch (802 cases and 15.3% alcohol) comes from a vineyard planted in 1934. This wine has a big sweet kiss of black cherries and a somewhat monolithic mouthfeel, but with coaxing starts to offer up ripe strawberry, damp earth, wild mulberry and briary mountain berry notes. The wine is chewy, with good acidity and freshness and should drink nicely for at least a decade. 93 points from the Wine Advocate.
  • 2013 Williams Selyem Zinfandel Papera Ranch – Continuing to preserve this historic vineyard, a rare planting of the variety within the appellation, this is an elegant yet explosive bottling. Blackberry and stone fruit tones are framed by soft, gentle tannins, prinkled liberally with cardamom. A floral aroma permeates gently refreshing acidity and a finish of dark chocolate. 94 points from the Wine Enthusiast.

Which 2013 Zinfandel From Papera Ranch Should I Open?

  • 2013 Carlisle Zinfandel Papera Ranch (43%, 12 Votes)
  • 2013 Williams Selyem Zinfandel Papera Ranch (36%, 10 Votes)
  • 2013 Bedrock Wine Co. Heritage Wine Zinfandel Papera Ranch (21%, 6 Votes)

Total Voters: 28

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Thanks for voting! I’d love to see a comment below on why you picked one bottle over another. Also, let me know if you have any suggestions for the June installment of Pick My Next Bottle.

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5 thoughts on “Pick My Next Bottle – 2013 Papera Ranch Zinfandels

  1. Mmmmm. Love Papera! Gotta go with WS here, as all of the 13 Bedrocks I’ve tried are nowhere near prime time, and while the Carlisle is probably great right now….I’d guess it improves over the next year or two. Good choices all around Tom!

  2. So tough to choose! I love all of these makers! IMO, perhaps generating some controversy, I think the Bedrock and especially the Williams Selyem likely will age a little better, and also benefit from the age. I’ve had especially good results waiting a few years on the Williams Selyem Zins, which I feel gain a little more nuance and are less primary fruit dominated with a little more bottle age. So I went with the Carlisle for now. I’m sure all of these are awesome and it would be so fun to do a side by side tasting of all three.

    1. A side by side of all 3 would be super cool and educational. Might speak more to the winemaker style than anything else unless there is some slight nuance to different portions of the vineyard.

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