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Posts from the ‘Zinfandel’ Category

2010 Ravenswood Zinfandel Cooke 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 barbecue on the deck out behind the winery. Great wine, great food and great memories.

Cooke Vineyard, planted in 1979, is 10 acres of Zinfandel on a steep hillside about 1200 feet above the Sonoma Valley floor at the lower end of the Mayacamas Range.

Black in color. 15% ABV. Awesome nose of brambly black fruits, licorice and white pepper. Medium body with perfect acidity and exceptional balance. Old school, claret style Zinfandel. Blackberries, cherries, iron and pepper on the palate. The finish is long and spicy. Fantastic Zinfandel that is aging gracefully. Always one of the best single vineyard designates from Ravenswood. Drink over the next 2-3 years.

My rating: 92 points.

Ravenswood is widely available at retail the winery and via the mailing list. Unfortunately, Ravenswood last produced the Cooke Vineyard Zinfandel in 2012. Look for current versions of Dickerson or Old Hill.

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2009 Carlisle Zinfandel Papera Ranch – 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 added their first whites, two blends from historic, old-vine vineyards plus Sonoma County’s first ever Grüner Veltliner.

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.

Dark crimson in color. 15.4% ABV. Exquisite nose of black fruits, licorice and white pepper. Medium body with mouth watering acidity. Slightly lighter in style than I expect from Carlisle but more likely a reflection of nine years of bottle age. Black raspberry, cream, anise and pepper on the palate. Medium length on the finish. Super Zinfandel from one of the very best vineyards in the Russian River Valley. Drink over the next year or so.

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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2009 Turley Zinfandel Mead Ranch – 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.

Mead Ranch is located in the Atlas Peak Appellation of the Napa Valley. The vineyards at Mead Ranch have been in continuous production since 1916, when the three Mead Brothers, Giles, Charles and Albert, bought the ranch. Souverain produced a “Mountain Zinfandel” from Mead ranch as early as the 60s, Rutherford Hill Produced “Mead Ranch–Atlas Peak” Zinfandel and Zinfandel Port in the 70’s.

Magenta in color. 16.1% ABV. Fantastic nose of red and black fruits, baking spices and white pepper. Full bodied with plenty of acidity. Just a slight bit of heat on the palate. Flavors of cherries, blackberries, anise and pepper. Tremendous length on the finish. Not for the faint of heart but if you are a fan of the Turley wines from the Ehren Jordan era then this will be right in your wheelhouse. Consider me a fan. Drink over the next 1-2 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 2017 Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings.

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Zinfandel of the Month – 2015 Dry Creek Vineyard Heritage Vines 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 April Zinfandel of the Month is the 2015 Dry Creek Vineyard Heritage Vines Zinfandel Sonoma County.

Dry Creek Vineyard was founded in 1972 by David S. Stare. Kim Stare Wallace now runs the winery and Tim Bell is the winemaker. Dry Creek Vineyard makes a wide array of wines but is certainly best know for it’s Zinfandel program.

Purple in color. 14.5% ABV. 79% Zinfandel, 20% Petite Sirah and 1% Carignane. From 20+ year old vines in Sonoma County. Savory nose of black fruits, plums and earthy loam. Full bodied with medium acidity. Rich, plush and spicy. Black cherry, blackberry, salmon berry and pepper on the palate. Good length on the finish. Easy to drink Zinfandel that is widely available and attractively priced at under $20 per bottle. Drink over the next 2-3 years.

My rating: 89 points.

Although not quite on par with the best values like Carlisle Sonoma County and Turly Old Vines the Dry Creek Vineyard Heritage Vines Zin compares well with the Ravenswood Appellation Zins and Seghesio Sonoma County. Give it a try!

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2015 Hartford Family Winery Zinfandel Russian River Valley Old Vine – Bottle Notes

Hartford Family Winery was founded in 1994 as a result of Don and Jennifer Hartford’s appreciation for the wines, the people, and the unique vineyards near their Russian River Valley home. Located in the Sonoma County town of Forestville, the winery is about 15 miles from the cool Pacific Coast. Jeff Stewart is the Hartford Family Winemaker.

Magenta in color. 15.5% ABV. Sensational nose of brambly red and black fruits, anise and freshly cracked black pepper. Full bodied with exquisite acidity. Rich, plush and seamless. Raspberry liqueur, black cherries, molten licorice and pepper on palate. The finish is sweet and exceptionally long. Absolutely glorious Zinfandel. Drink over the next 4-6 years.

My rating: 95 points.

The 2014 Hartford Family Zinfandel was the Number 10 Wine of the Year in the Wine Spectator Top 100. Having tried both the ’14 and ’15 I would contend the latter is a superior wine. Fairly priced at $40 per bottle. I’ll buy more when the opportunity arises.

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2013 Bedrock Wine Co. Heritage Wine Bedrock 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.

Bedrock Vineyard, formerly known as Madrone Ranch, was first planted in 1854. Senator George Hearst purchased the property in 1888 and planted most of the vines that exist to this day. Located in the Sonoma Valley the vineyard is also a fruit source for Ravenswood and Carlisle.

Crimson in color. 14.6% ABV. Savory nose of red and black fruits, licorice, flowers and pepper. Medium body with exquisite acidity. Elegant, claret style Zinfandel. Black raspberry, blackberry, kirsch and spiced plums on the palate. The finish is exceptionally long. Big Zinfandel that still manages to maintain a sense of freshness. This certainly seems to be the calling card of Morgan Twain-Peterson. Best over the next 2-4 years.

My rating: 93 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.

If you enjoyed this post please consider subscribing to Zinfandel Chronicles updates by email.

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2011 Carlisle Zinfandel Martinelli Road 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 added their first whites, two blends from historic, old-vine vineyards plus Sonoma County’s first ever Grüner Veltliner.

Martinelli Road Vineyard is located on Martinelli Road between Forestville and Guerneville and dates back to the 1880’s. Interestingly, unlike most vineyards of this era, Martinelli Road Vineyard is nearly 100% Zinfandel.

Bright crimson in color. 14.6% ABV. Succulent nose of red fruits, milk chocolate and pepper. Medium body with mouth watering acidity. Light, fresh and juicy. Raspberry liqueur, cranberry and salmonberry on the palate. Excellent length on the finish. Just a tremendous Zinfandel from a challenging vintage. As best I can tell this wine was not made after 2012 by Carlisle which is unfortunate. Drink over the next 2-3 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.

If you enjoyed this post please consider subscribing to Zinfandel Chronicles updates by email.

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Zinfandel of the Month – 2014 Renwood Old Vine Zinfandel Amador 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 March Zinfandel of the Month is the 2014 Renwood Old Vine Amador County.

Renwood Winery was established in 1993 and is one of the most respected wine producers in the Sierra Foothills, specializing in Zinfandel. Renwood is now under new ownership but the mission is still the same – world class Zinfandel made from some of the finest vineyards in the Sierra Foothills. Joe Shebl is the current Director of Winemaking and the consulting winemakers include Jeff Cohn and Kent Rosenblum. Renwood now makes upwards of a dozen different Zinfandels.

In the early to mid nineties I lived in Sacramento and my passion for Zinfandel was based on trips to wineries like Renwood, Ravenswood and Rafanelli. At the time Scott Harvey was the winemaker and the Zinfandels from the likes of Grandmere and Grandpere Vineyards were some of my very favorites.

Bright crimson in color. 14.5% ABV.  From vines ranging 50-100 years in age. Awesome nose of black and red fruits, cocoa powder and black pepper. Medium to full body with juicy acidity. Bright and delicious with all sorts of upfront fruit. Black cherry liqueur, blackberries and raspberry compote on the palate. Medium length on the finish. The wine lacks a bit of depth but is easy to drink and attractively priced. Best over the next several years.

My rating: 90 points.

The 2015 version of this wine was recently released and is widely available at just under $20 per bottle.

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2003 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 ’03 Lytton Springs in a blend of 76% Zinfandel, 18% Petite Sirah, and 6% Carignane.

Served out of magnum without decanting. Crimson in color. 14.3% ABV. Interesting nose of red fruits, bay leaves and wet forest floor. Medium body with adequate acidity. Light, delicate and elegant. Cherries, salmonberry and black tea on the palate. Medium length on the finish. Even out of magnum I would contend this wine is at or slightly past it’s prime at 15 years of age. Very good nonetheless. Drink in the near term.

My rating:  89 points.

The 2015 vintage was recently released and can be found for $34-$40. I’ve already secured my bottles.

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2013 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Carlisle 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.

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.

Purple in color. 14.9% ABV. Sensational nose of black fruits, plums and flowers. Full bodied with gobs of acidity. Extremely rich and plush. Black cherry, boysenberry and anise on the palate. The finish is exceptionally long and spicy. Somewhat bigger than I have grown to expect from Bedrock but that is not a bad thing here. Absolutely delicious. Drink over the next 3-5 years.

My rating: 93 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.

If you enjoyed this post please consider subscribing to Zinfandel Chronicles updates by email.

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