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Posts from the ‘Zinfandel’ Category

2012 Ridge Geyserville – 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. 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.

Geyserville is a traditional field blend of Zinfandel, Carignane, Petite Sirah, Alicante Bouschet and Mataro. Portions of the vineyard date back 130 years.

Magenta in color. 14.4% ABV. 71% Zinfandel, 19% Carignane, 7% Petite Sirah, 2% Mataro and 1% Alicante Bouschet. Savory, high-toned nose of red and black fruits, earthy loam and asian spices. Medium to full bodied with medium acidity. Ripe and jammy with a sense of elegance. Raspberry, boysenberry, licorice and black pepper on the palate. The long, delicious finish might be the best thing here. Drink over the next 4-7 years.

My rating: 91 points.

This wine is fairly priced at about $35 and the 2015 vintage is a worthy addition to the wine cellar.

Ridge is an annual winner in the Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings.

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2010 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.

I opened this bottle to prepare for the release of the 2015 Zinfandel that will be made available to mailing list members this week.

Maroon in color. 16.1% ABV. Soaring nose of blue and black fruits, flowers and baking spices. Full bodied with medium to strong acidity. Lush, elegant and remarkably well balanced. Blueberry liqueur, black cherry, licorice and black pepper on the palate. The finish is long with dusty Howell Mountain tannins. Delicious Zinfandel that will drink well for the next 2-4 years.

My rating: 92 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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2015 Turley Zinfandel Juvenile – 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.

The vines that make up Juvenile range in age from about 6-25 years, and are pulled from 15 vineyards across California, including Hayne, Ueberroth, Pesenti, Salvador, and Vineyard 101.

Crimson in color. 15.5% ABV. Sweet nose of red fruits, brown sugar, earth and pepper. Rich, lush and exceptionally well balanced. Full bodied with medium acidty. Raspberry liqueur, cherries and white pepper on the palate. The finish is long and spicy. This really goes down easy and certainly outperforms the $20 price point. Drink over the next 2-3 years.

My rating: 91 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 2016 Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings.

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Zinfandel of the Month – 2015 Ridge Zinfandel East Bench

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 July Zinfandel of the Month is the 2015 Ridge Zinfandel East Bench.

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. 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.

Ridge has made the East Bench as a single-site Zinfandel since 2006, one of only two Ridge Zins that is 100% Zinfandel. The vineyard sits high atop the bench land that overlooks Dry Creek Valley from the east.

Magenta in color. 14.7% ABV. Brooding nose of black fruits, pepper and granite. Full bodied with mouth watering acidity. Plush, rich and savory. Blackberry, mulberry, raspberry liqueur and pepper on the palate. The finish is exceptionally long with gritty tannins. Lots to like here and about the 2015 Ridge Zinfandel lineup in general. Drink over the next 5-7 years.

My rating: 92 points.

This wine is fairly priced at about $30 and a worthy addition to the wine cellar.

Ridge is an annual winner in the Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings.

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2012 Bedrock Wine Co. Heritage Wine Papera Ranch – 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.

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.

Interestingly enough the 2012 Bedrock Papera is 60% Zinfandel and 40% Carignane.

Maroon in color. 14.7% ABV. Sensational nose of red and black fruits, leather and pepper. Fresh and vibrant with tons of acidity. Rich and plush with fruit in spades. Raspberry liqueur, boysenberries, plums and white pepper on the palate. The finish is long and spicy. For me, 2012 is the vintage where Bedrock took it to another level. Exceptionally well made wines across the board. Drink the Papera over the next 2-3 years.

My rating: 92 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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2009 Carlisle Zinfandel Carlisle Vineyard – 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.

Carlisle Vineyard was planted in 1927 by Alcide Pelletti on the eastern bench of the Laguna de Santa Rosa flood plain in the Russian River Valley.

Crimson in color. 15.2% ABV. Sublime nose of red and blue fruits, pepper and a hint of peach. Full bodied and bursting with acidity. Plush, opulent and so very smooth on the palate. Exceptional balance. Raspberries, boysenberries and Asian spices on the palate. The wine finishes strong. Glorious Zinfandel from one of the top old vine vineyards in the Russian River Valley. Drink over the next 2-3 years.

My rating: 94 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 2016 Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings.

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Zinfandel of the Month – 2013 Robert Biale Zinfandel Bedrock Vineyard

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 June Zinfandel of the Month is the 2013 Robert Biale Zinfandel Bedrock Vineyard.

I chose this Zinfandel as Biale is rarely mentioned is rarely mentioned with the top California Zin producers like Carlisle and Turley. In spite of that they secure grapes from heritage vineyards like R.W. Moore, Monte Rosso and Bedrock.

Robert Biale Vineyards in Napa has its roots in the 1930s, when the Biale family started growing Zinfandel grapes and other produce on the outskirts of Napa. The family grapes mostly were sold to local wineries, though the Biales saved some to make wine for the family. The winery was formally founded in 1991. The estate grows Zinfandel and Petite Sirah on 25 acres in Napa Valley.

Bedrock Vineyard is situated in the heart of Sonoma Valley and the vines trace back to the the 1880’s.

Violet in color. 14.8% ABV. Intoxicating nose of brambly red and black fruits, cherry cordial and licorice. Medium body with medium acidity. Big and ripe yet well balanced. Blackberries, raspberry liqueur, cherries and black pepper on the palate. Medium length on the finish. Fascinating wine that pushes the envelope on ripeness despite a relatively low ABV. I’d be inclined to drink this Zinfandel sooner rather than later. Best over the next 1-2 years.

My rating: 90 points.

The 2015 version is currently available to member of the Robert Biale mailing list. I am Biale fan and will continue to look for their wines from favorite vineyards including those mentioned above.

I wrote about Bedrock Vineyard previously in Top 10 Old Vine Zinfandel Vineyards.

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2012 Bedrock Wine Co. Heritage Wine Dolinsek Ranch – 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.

Dolinsek Ranch is in the Russian River Valley and was planted a little over 100 years ago.

Crimson in color. 14.8% ABV. Complex nose of red and black fruits, cocoa powder and black pepper. Medium to full bodied with rich, creamy fruit and just the perfect amount of acidity. Blackberries, raspberries and baking spices on the palate. The finish is long and spicy. Exceptionally well made Zinfandel that should continue to age gracefully for another 2-4 years.

My rating: 93 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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Some New Zinfandels for Memorial Day

In a first here at Zinfandel Chronicles Headquarters I gave into the cry to open all three bottles featured in the May Installment of Pick My Next Bottle. It is worth noting that the 2013 Amapola Creek Zinfandel Monte Rosso Vineyard was the actual winner with the Novy Zinfandel Papera Ranch Vineyard coming in second and the 2013 Joseph Swan Zinfandel Mancini Ranch Vineyard bringing up the rear. Voting was close though and as stated previously none of these producers had been featured on Zinfandel Chronicles since its inception over 5 years ago. With that in mind I decided to ope all 3 bottles. Rest assured this will not happen on a regular basis.

The vineyards represented here are some of the very best old vine Zinfandel sites in the state of California. Monte Rosso and Papera Ranch are legendary and with Carlisle bringing on Mancini Ranch in the recent past I have little doubt this vineyard will be worth following in the years to come.

None of the wines were decanted.

  • 2011 Joseph Swan Zinfandel Mancini Ranch Vineyard – Ruby red in color. 13.3% ABV. Dusty red fruits, spice and a touch of leather on the nose. Medium body with ample acidity. Light, lively and incredibly refreshing. Bing cherries, raspberry liqueur and boysenberries on the palate. Fresh, low in alcohol yet packed with flavor. Zins just aren’t made like this very often. Bravo. Drink over the next 2-4 years. Purchased for $25 on WineBid. My rating: 92 points.
  • 2013 Amapola Creek Zinfandel Monte Rosso Vineyard – Violet in color. 16% ABV. Lush nose of juicy red and black fruits, pepper and earth. Medium to full body with loads of acidity. Plush and exceptionally well balanced. Blackberry, raspberry and pepper on the palate. The finish is long and pure. Powerful Zinfandel with the structure to drink well over the next 5-7 years. $45 at the winery and retail. My rating: 92 points.
  • 2013 Novy Zinfandel Papera Ranch Vineyard – Bright crimson in color. 15.8% ABV. Soaring nose of sweet red fruits, brown sugar and licorice. Full bodied with medium to strong acidity. Super plush and rich on the palate. Flavors of sweet cherries, raspberries and baking spices. The finish is long and sweet. Delightful Zinfandel. Drink over the next 2-4 years. Purchased for $25 on WineBid. My rating: 93 points.

What a tremendous set of Zins. All great in their own right but if I had to pick one I would go with the Novy as it is right in my wheelhouse. Once again Papera Ranch rises to the top.

As always I appreciate the feedback, votes and comments on the monthly Pick My Next Bottle. Until next month!

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2011 Ravenswood Zinfandel Teldeschi 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 regularly visited 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.

Teldeschi Vineyard dates back to the 1890’s and is situated in Dry Creek Valley

Crimson in color. 14.8% ABV. Brambly red and black fruits, white pepper and spiced plums on the nose. Medium body with mouth watering acidity. Silky and lush on the palate with flavors of raspberry, blackberry and pepper. Medium length on the finish. This Zinfandel is just a touch on the lean side which is a reflection of the vintage. Pretty good nonetheless. Drink over the next 2-3 years.

My rating: 90 points.

Ravenswood is widely available at retail the winery and via the mailing list. The ’14 version of the Teldeschi Vineyard Zinfandel will cost you right around $35-$40.

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