Alberto Rafanelli, an Italian immigrant, first founded A. Rafanelli Winery in the early 1900’s. It wasn’t until the early 70’s that Alberto’s son, Americo, came out with the present day label and started selling the wine commercially. David and Patty Rafanelli now run the winery and a 4th generation Rafanelli, their daughter Shelly, is the winemaker. The winery is perhaps best known for their Zinfandel but also produces Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, with all the fruit sourced from their vineyard in Dry Creek Valley.
I opened this bottle on National Zinfandel Day which is 11/21. It is not the most collectible Zinfandel in my cellar but from past experience I knew it might be the best Zinfandel in my cellar.
Blood red in color. 14.7% ABV. Stunning nose of brambly red and black fruits, licorice and just a little bit of peach cobbler. Medium to full bodied with exceptional acidity. The texture and mouth feel of this wine is so unique. Black cherry, raspberry liqueur, peach and pepper on the palate. Tremendous length on the finish. Without question the best Zinfandel I have had from Rafanelli in my 10 or so years on the mailing list. Unfortunately this is my last bottle. Drink over the next 1-2 years.
My rating: 94 points.
I’ve previously posted on Rafanelli in What’s Your Price for Zin?
Rafanelli is very traditional in how they run the winery. If you want to join the mailing list you need to send them a letter. They do not correspond via email, but will likely answer the phone if you give them a call. The extra effort required to acquire the wine is worth it. The tasting room is open by appointment and is always worth a visit to try the new releases. The 2017 Zinfandel will be released this coming Spring and costs around $45.