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.
Bright crimson in color. 14.7% ABV. Beautiful nose of black fruits, dark chocolate, flowers and pepper. Full bodied with mouth watering acidity. Rustic, Claret style Zinfandel with still substantial tannins. Blackberry, black cherry liqueur, bittersweet chocolate and pepper on the palate. Exceptional length on the finish. Delicious but slightly less approachable than one would expect. Rafanelli remains a benchmark for Dry Creek Zinfandel but this Zin could use another 1-2 years in the cellar.
My rating: 92 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 2018 Zinfandel will be released next Spring and costs around $45.