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Posts from the ‘Zinfandel’ Category

2009 Turley Zinfandel Pesenti Vineyard – Bottle Notes

Turley Wine Cellars was founded in 1993 by Larry Turley and specializes in small lots of Zinfandel and Petite Sirah from some of California’s most historic and treasured vineyards. Turley now makes right around 28 separate wines from 35 different vineyards, some with vines that date back to the late 1800’s. Tegan Passalacqua is the Director of Winemaking at Turley and has been instrumental in revitalizing the brand.

Pesenti Vineyard, in Paso Robles, is estate-owned and certified organic. The vineyard was planted by the Turley team using cuttings from the Hayne vineyard.

Crimson in color. 16% ABV. Stunning nose of brambly red fruits, wet stones and white pepper. Medium to full body with juicy acidity. Rich, lush and impeccably balanced. Cherry liqueur, raspberry compote, licorice and pepper on the palate. The finish is long and sweet. The best Zin I have had this year and also the best Zin I have had from Turley. Drink over the next 1-2 years.

My rating: 96 points.

With all due respect to Carlisle and Bedrock, Turley is arguably the best Zinfandel producer in California. Exceptional vineyards sources throughout the state of California and no detail spared in the winemaking process. The wines are simply better than ever.

Turley wines are available via the mailing list and periodically at retail. Turley has tasting rooms in both Amador and Paso Robles. If you are not on the mailing list, this is an easy way to secure bottles. Both are not to be missed if you are in the area.

Turley was a big winner in The 2017 Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings.

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New Release Zins from Wonderment Wines

Wonderment Wines was founded in 2011 by Stephanie Cook. The wines are focused on specific terroir where each wine represents the vineyards distinctive style and expression. Stephanie honed her winemaking skills at Robert Biale Vineyards, Spottswoode Estate and Spy Valley in New Zealand before going out on her own.

Stephanie recently sent me her new Zins to review.

2015 Wonderment Wines Zinfandel Burton Ranch Vineyard – Ruby red in color. 14.9% ABV. Reticent nose of red fruits, citrus and flowers. Medium body with medium acidity. Light and elegant in style. Cherries, salmonberries and blood orange on the palate. Medium length on the finish. Pretty Zinfandel. Drink over the next 2-3 years. $35 at the winery and retail. My rating: 90 points.

2015 Wonderment Wines Zinfandel Bacigalupi Vineyard – Dark crimson in color. 15.1% ABV. Sublime nose of brambly red fruits, plums and white pepper. Full bodied with mouth watering acidity. Big, plush and spicy. Raspberry liqueur, cherry compote, brown sugar and pepper on the palate. The finish is exceptionally long. Super Zinfandel from a tremendous vineyard. Best over the next 3-5 years. $44 at the winery and retail. My rating: 94 points.

2015 Wonderment Wines Zinfandel Pritchett Peaks Vineyard – Crimson in color. 14.9% ABV. Scrumptious nose of black fruits, pepper and a hint of peach. Medium to full bodied with medium acidity. Lush yet elegant. Black cherry, black raspberry and pepper on the palate. Medium length on the finish. Drink over the next 2-4 years. $55 at the winery and retail. My rating: 92 points.

What a well made set of wines although the Bacigalupi Vineyard Zinfandel was definitely the showstopper! Most of us are on too many mailing lists to begin with so I usually hesitate before suggesting you sign yourself up. I’ll make an exception here. I look forward to following the winery in the years to come.

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Zinfandel of the Month – 2015 Ravenswood Old Vine Zinfandel Lodi

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 November Zinfandel of the Month is the 2015 Ravenswood Old Vine Zinfandel Lodi.

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 visit Ravenswood in the summer, when they released their single vineyard wines. Back in the day they also served delicious barbecue on the deck out behind the winery. Great wine, great food and great memories.

The 2015 Old Vine Zinfandel Lodi is 79% Zinfandel, 20% Petite Sirah and 1% Alicante Bouschet.

Crimson in color. 14.5% ABV. Savory nose of black fruits, flowers, plums and pepper. Medium to full body with medium acidity. Rich, smooth and easy to drink. Cherry liqueur, blackberries and cocoa powder on the palate. The wine finishes strong. Delicious, affordable Zinfandel that will be at it’s best over the next 2-3 years.

My rating: 90 points.

Ravenswood is widely available at retail the winery and via the mailing list. The ’15 version of the Old Vine Zinfandel Lodi will only set you back about $15. Even better, the grocery store down the street likely has this wine.

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2011 Outpost Zinfandel Howell Mountain – Bottle Notes

Outpost Wines was established in 1998 and sits on a pristine piece of land atop Howell Mountain 2200 feet above Napa Valley. Thomas Rivers-Brown has been the winemaker from the start and has gained further acclaim making highly sought after wines for Schrader, Rivers-Marie and many others. Besides Zinfandel, Outpost also produces Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache.

Magenta in color. 15.3% ABV. Sensational nose of juicy red fruits, flowers and white pepper. Full bodied with mouth watering acidity. Big and bold with gobs of fruits. Well balanced. Cherries, plums, chocolate and a healthy dose of Howell Mountain pepper on the palate. The finish is extraordinarily long. Super Zinfandel that will drink well for another 4-6 years.

My rating: 93 points.

Outpost wines are only available via the mailing list and sell out quickly. Even at $50 this Zin is a buy for me year in and year out. Don’t miss the Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon and Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon from True Vineyard. Highly recommended.

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2009 Turley Zinfandel Cedarman – Bottle Notes

Turley Wine Cellars was founded in 1993 by Larry Turley and specializes in small lots of Zinfandel and Petite Sirah from some of California’s most historic and treasured vineyards. Turley now makes right around 28 separate wines from 35 different vineyards, some with vines that date back to the late 1800’s. Tegan Passalacqua is the Director of Winemaking at Turley and has been instrumental in revitalizing the brand.

Cedarman is a proprietary blend of fruit from both Rattlesnake Ridge and Dragon Vineyards, located at the top of Howell Mountain in Napa Valley.

Purple in color. 16.2% ABV. Super nose of red and black fruits, licorice and pepper. Full bodied with juicy acidity and just a touch of heat on the palate. Flavors of raspberry liqueur, boysenberry, blueberry and white pepper. The finish is exceptionally long. Enjoyable Zinfandel but you have to be a fan of the Turley wines from this era. Drink over the next 2-3 years.

My rating: 92 points.

With all due respect to Carlisle and Bedrock, Turley is arguably the best Zinfandel producer in California. Exceptional vineyards sources throughout the state of California and no detail spared in the winemaking process. The wines are simply better than ever.

Turley wines are available via the mailing list and periodically at retail. Turley has tasting rooms in both Amador and Paso Robles. If you are not on the mailing list, this is an easy way to secure bottles. Both are not to be missed if you are in the area.

Turley was a big winner in The 2017 Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings.

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2013 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Belle Du Jour Vineyard – 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.

This is one off Zinfandel for Bedrock from Montafi Ranch Vineyard. Montafi Ranch was planted in 1926. Located farther up the eastern bench of the Laguna de Santa Rosa flood plain, bordering the Santa Rosa city limits, this vineyard is mostly Zinfandel but does contain a good amount of Alicante Bouschet and Grand Noir. At some point I hope to understand the back story of why this bottling was labled Belle Du Jour instead of Montafi Ranch.

Opaque purple in color. 14% ABV. Stunning nose of brambly red and black fruits, floral notes and pepper. Full bodied with mouth watering acidity. Rich, lush, complex and perfectly balanced. Blackberry, raspberry liqueur, pepper and earthy soil on the palate. The finish on the wine is exceptionally long. One of the best Zins I have had from Bedrock. Drink over the next 3-5 years.

My rating: 94 points.

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

I blogged about Bedrock in The 2017 Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings.

I blogged about Montafi Ranch in Top 10 Old Vine Zinfandel Vineyards.

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Zinfandel of the Month – 2015 Seghesio Zinfandel Sonoma County

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 October Zinfandel of the Month is the 2015 Seghesio Zinfandel Sonoma County.

Seghesio Family Vineyards  was established in 1895, when Edoardo Seghesio planted his first Zinfandel vineyard in Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley. The focus at Seghesio has always been Zinfandel and Italian varietals.

Magenta in color. 14.8% ABV. Savory nose of red and black fruits, pepper and cocoa powder. Medium to full bodied with medium acidity. Sweet and juicy claret style Zinfandel. Raspberry, blackberry, pepper and baking spices on the palate. The finish is long and spicy. Delicious Zinfandel that is attractively priced around $23. A step up from the 2014 version of this wine. Drink over the next 2-4 years.

My rating: 90 points.

This wine is readily available at retail. A solid value year in and year out. You also might want to consider some single vineyard Zinfandels from Seghesio including the Monte Rosso and Rockpile.

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2013 Ridge Lytton Springs – Bottle Notes

Ridge Vineyards was founded in 1959 when three Stanford Research Institute engineers bought an abandoned winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The vineyards had been planted in the late 19th century by a San Francisco physician who produced his first vintage in the original winery, called Monte Bello, in 1892. The first Ridge vintage was in 1962. Paul Draper recently retired and John Olney is making the wines at Lytton Springs. Ridge makes Cabernet, Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Merlot, Petite Sirah and Rhone style wines.

When I first became interested in Zinfandel the buzz was always around the Three R’s of Zinfandel: Ravenswood, Rosenblum and Ridge. 25 years later Ridge is still at the top of its game, turning out single vineyard Zinfandel from some of California’s most precious vineyards.

Lytton Springs Vineyard dates back to the early 1900’s and is located in the Dry Creek Valley. The ’13 Lytton Springs in a blend of 74% Zinfandel, 16% Petite Sirah, 8% Carignane and 2% Mataro.

Crimson in color. 14.3% ABV. Tremendous nose of brambly red and blue fruits, licorice and cocoa powder. Medium to full bodied with ample acidity. Lush and hedonistic. Earthy flavors of blueberry, boysenberry, plums and bittersweet chocolate. The finish long and sweet with gritty tannins. Clearly a wine built for the long haul. Drink over the next 6-8 years.

My rating:  92 points.

Current vintages of the Ridge Lytton Springs including the 2014 and 2015 can be found at retail and will cost right around $35. This is a wine that I buy year in and year out.

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2011 Ravenswood Zinfandel Old Hill Ranch Vineyard – Bottle Notes

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 visit 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.

Old Hill Ranch is possibly the oldest continuously farmed vineyard in California. It was established in 1852 by William McPherson Hill who was the first viticulturist to import non-Mission grapes into Sonoma.

Purple in color. 14.9% ABV. Stunning nose of red and black fruits, plums and white pepper. Full bodied with moderate acidity. Rich and plush with great texture on the palate. Flavors of raspberry compote, boysenberry, earth and pepper. Chalky, dusty tannins on an exceptionally long finish. Easily the most impressive Zinfandel I have had from Ravenswood in the last several years. Old Hill Ranch is the diamond in the Ravenswood SVD lineup. Drink over the next 4-6 years.

My rating: 94 points.

Ravenswood is widely available at retail the winery and via the mailing list. The ’14 version of the Old Hill Ranch Zinfandel will cost you right around $50.

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2010 Carlisle Zinfandel Old Vines – Bottle Notes

Carlisle Winery & Vineyards was founded in 1998 by Mike and Kendall Officer. Their passion is clear: Small lots of Zinfandel and Syrah from exceptional, historic vineyards. Many of these vineyards are heritage sites planted by Italian immigrants and date back to the late 1800s . They have also recently added their first whites, two blends from historic, old-vine vineyards plus Sonoma County’s first ever Grüner Veltliner.

Violet in color. A touch cloudy. 15.9% ABV. A fifty fifty blend of Carlisle Vineyard and Montafi Vineyard after both were ravaged by the heat spike in 2010. Scrumptious nose of red and black fruits, flowers and white pepper. Full bodied with exquisite acidity. The balance is noteworthy. Plush and juicy. Raspberry compote, black cherry and more pepper on the palate. Well made Zinfandel from a grueling vintage. Drink over the next few years.

My rating: 92 points.

Current vintages of the various Carlisle wines are available via the mailing list, which is exceptionally long. Several retail outlets in California stock Carlisle, but you need to check with them at the time the winery releases their wines in the Spring and Fall.

I’ve wrote about Carlisle previously in Winery Mailing Lists: The Fab 5 and The 2017 Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings.

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