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Posts from the ‘Zinfandel’ Category

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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Zinfandel of the Month – 2014 Limerick Lane Zinfandel Russian River Valley

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 May Zinfandel of the Month is the 2014 Limerick Lane Zinfandel Russian River Valley.

Limerick Lane Winery is in the Russian River Valley just south of the town of Healdsburg.The Del Fava family planted the oldest currently producing vineyard at Limerick Lane in 1910, a field blend consisting mostly of Zinfandel. In 1977, the Del Favas sold their thirty acre property to brothers Michael and Tom Collins. The two brothers began by selling some of the grapes to local wineries including De Loach, Ravenswood and Gary Farrell. In 1985, Limerick Lane Cellars was created. By 2009, Mike Collins was ready to sell and asked his neighbor Jake Bilbro if he would like to buy Limerick Lane and the Collins Vineyard. For two years Jake pitched nearly every bank in California before a local bank in Healdsburg finally agreed to give him the loan.

Ruby red in color. 14.8% ABV. Mostly Zinfandel with small amounts of inter-planted Peloursin, Negrette, and Petite Sirah. Showstopping nose of red fruits, cracked pepper and flowers. Super rich and polished with tremendous acidity. Exceptional balance. Raspberry compote, cherries and baking spices on the palate. The finish is very long on this succulent Zinfandel. Lots to like here and it bodes well for the higher end bottlings in this vintage. Drink over the next 4-6 years.

My rating: 93 points.

This wine was recently released and is $42 at the winery and retail.

I’ve been following Limerick Lane since the early 90’s. Consistently delicious Zins and the vineyard could not be in better hands right now. The mailing list here is highly recommended.

I blogged about Limerick Lane Vineyard previously in Top 10 Old Vine Zinfandel Vineyards.

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2013 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.

Crimson in color. 14.5% ABV. It took some coaxing but the nose showed black fruits, flowers and white pepper. Young and refreshing with mouth watering acidity. Brambly blackberry, black cherry, tar and earth on the palate. The finish is long and spicy. This is very different from the Carlisle and Williams Selyem versions of Papera. Less full bodied and plush but delicious nonetheless. Super Zin from perhaps my favorite Zin Vineyard. Drink over the next 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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2013 Turley Zinfandel Old Vines – 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 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.

Old Vines is composed of a variety of old sites from California that are either too small to be made into a vineyard designate wine or are new to the Turley family. Vines are anywhere from 41 to 129 years old, and a true representation of California old vine Zinfandel.

Garnet in color. 15.5% ABV. Super nose of brambly red fruits, earth and white pepper. Rich, lush and spicy. Full bodied with juicy acidity. Raspberry compote, spiced plums, boysenberry and pepper on the palate. The finish is long and spicy. Delicious Zinfandel. Drink over the next 1-2 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 2016 Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings.

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Zinfandel of the Month – 2013 Matthiasson Zinfandel Limerick Lane 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 April Zinfandel of the Month is the 2013 Matthiasson Zinfandel Limerick Lane Vineyard.

Matthiasson was founded in 2003 by Steve and Jill Matthiasson. Fruit for Matthiasson is sourced from at least ten different vineyards and the winery is perhaps best known for producing some obscure varieties including Ribolla Gialla and Refosco Dal Peduncula Rosso.

Dark red in color. 13.6% ABV. Super pure nose of black fruits, baking spices and chalk. Medium to full bodied with mouth watering acidity. Tremendous purity of fruit. Distinctly fresh and light. Blackberry compote, black cherry, white pepper and orange peel on the palate. The finish is perfection. Another great Zinfandel from Limerick Lane Vineyard. Drink over the next 3-5 years.

My rating: 94 points.

The 2015 Matthiasson Zinfandel Limerick Lane Vineyard will be released this Fall and I suspect pricing to be right around $50 per bottle. There is much to like about Matthiasson and the mailing list is highly recommended.

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

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2013 Ridge Vineyards Zinfandel Pagani Ranch – 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.

Pagani Ranch is just off Highway 12 in the Glen Ellen area of Sonoma County. Angela and Felice Pagani came to Sonoma County from Italy, purchased the property and planted the vineyard in the early 1900’s. The fruit goes to Ridge, Bedrock, Seghesio, Biale and Carlisle.

Magenta in color. 14.8% ABV. 83% Zinfandel, 16% Alicante Bouchet and 1% Petite Sirah. Sublime nose blue fruits, white pepper and and anise. Full bodied with medium acidity. Sweet, jammy and unctuous. Boysenberry, blueberry liqueur and milk chocolate on the palate. The finish is long and sweet. This wine has a hint of residual sugar making for a delicious, hedonistic Zinfandel. I suspect this wine will age well. Drink over the next 6-8 years.

My rating: 92 points.

The 2014 Ridge Pagani is on the shelves and is a bargain at about $32 per bottle.

I wrote about Pagani Ranch previously in Top 10 Old Vine Zinfandel Vineyards.

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2011 Ravenswood Zinfandel Belloni 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.

Belloni Vineyard dates back to the early 1900’s and is situated on Wood Road in the heart of the Russian River Valley.

Crimson in color. 14.5% ABV. Black and red fruits, pepper and toasty oak on the nose. Medium body with light to medium acidity. Restrained, Claret style Zinfandel. Raspberry, blackberry, white pepper and cocoa powder on the palate. The finish is long and spicy. Pretty good but I expect more from the Belloni Vineyard. Most likely a reflection of the sub par 2011 vintage. Drink over the next few years.

My rating: 89 points.

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

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2014 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.

Purple in color. 15.7% ABV. Gorgeous nose of black and blue fruits, peach and a touch of vanilla. Full bodied with medium acidity. Jammy and bursting with fruit. Exceptional balance. Blackberry, blueberry, salmonberry and pepper on the palate. The finish is long and seamless. Delicious Zinfandel. Drink over the net 4-6 years.

My rating: 93 points.

The 2014 Hartford Family Zinfandel was the Number 10 Wine of the Year in the Wine Spectator Top 100. I have limited experience with this producer but this particular bottle is worthy of the praise. Fairly priced at $40 per bottle. I’ll buy more when the opportunity arises.

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2011 A. Rafanelli Zinfandel – Bottle Notes

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 red in color. 14.7% ABV. Sensational nose of black fruits, white pepper, cocoa powder and iron. Full bodied with gobs of juicy acidity. Rich and plush. Blackberry liqueur, black cherries, pepper and anise on the palate. The finish is long and spicy with dusty tannins. Just a great Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel. Motivates me to go long on the upcoming release of the ’15 version. Drink over the next 2-4 years.

My rating: 93 points.

$42 at the winery.

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.

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

Gold Mine Ranch was planted in 1914 by Charlie Derrick, just before riding off to join the Cavalry of World War I. The vineyard is situated in the southwest corner of Dry Creek Valley.

Bright crimson in color. 15.2% ABV. Red and black fruits, cream, milk chocolate and anise on the nose. Medium body with juicy acidity. Pretty delicious Zinfandel but slightly lacking the verve and energy that I typically expect from Carlisle. Cherries, blackberries, iron and white pepper on the palate. Medium length on the finish. The bar is so high for Mike Officer that despite being eminently drinkable this wine falls short of expectations. Drink over the next year or so.

My rating: 90 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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