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Posts tagged ‘2009 Zinfandel’

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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2009 Carlisle Zinfandel Montafi Vineyard – Bottle Notes

The 2009 Carlisle Zinfandel Montafi Vineyard was the winning bottle in the October installment of Pick My Next Bottle.

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.

Montafi Vineyard 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 de la Calmette. A little Petite Sirah, Peloursin, Syrah, and Petit Bouschet are mixed in as well.

Opaque purple in color. 15.3% ABV. Big, expressive nose of brambly black fruits and a touch of graphite. Rich and plush with tremendous mouthfeel. Great depth to the fruit. Blackberry, raspberry, pepper and a hint of citrus on the palate. The finish is absolutely glorious. Drink over the next 2-4 years. Just about as good as Zinfandel gets!

My rating: 95 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.

In related news, Seghesio Family Winery recently purchased Montafi Vineyard. It is my understanding Carlisle will still continue to receive fruit for the foreseeable future.

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

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Pick My Next Bottle – 2009 Old Vine Zinfandel

The October Installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on 2009 Old Vine Zinfandel from three of the very best Zinfandel producers in the state of California. As i mentioned in the first installment, the purpose of this series is to provide insight into specific wines or producers you may currently have in your cellar. The winning bottle will be opened this weekend and a Bottle Note will be published shortly thereafter.

2009 was a strong vintage for Zinfandel in both the Sonoma Valley and Paso Robles. All three vineyards for the wines featured below date back to the early 1900’s. As I like to say…history in a wine glass.

The Contenders:

    • 2009 Carlisle Montafi Ranch Zinfandel – Composed of 89% Zinfandel and 11% mixed blacks, the dense purple-hued 2009 Zinfandel Montafi Ranch (a vineyard planted in 1926) is phenomenal. Dark, jammy black raspberry notes intermixed with sweet black cherries, blackberries, licorice, charcoal and underbrush are present in this complex, full-bodied, massive yet impressively well-balanced offering. It will drink exceptionally well for 7-8 years. 95 points from the Wine Advocate.
    • 2009 Ridge Lytton Springs Zinfandel – The 2009 Lytton Springs is the biggest and most structured of these 2009 Zinfandel-based reds, largely owing to the earthier soils and the presence 23% Petite Sirah. Black fruit, plums, tar, licorice and smoke are some of the notes that flow from this generous, inviting red. The Lytton Springs is fairly structured, and can definitely benefit from another year or two (perhaps more) in bottle. The blend is 74% Zinfandel, 21% Petite Sirah and 5% Carignane. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2029. 95 points from the Wine Advocate.
    • 2009 Turley Pesenti Vineyard Zinfandel – The broad, structured, mineral-dominated, deep plum/purple-colored 2009 Zinfandel Pesenti Vineyard is made from head-trained old vines planted in pure limestone. It possesses copious notes of pepper, flowers, black cherries, black currants and a hint of chalk. With more structure and tannin than most of its siblings, it will benefit from 6-12 months of bottle age, and should keep for 5-6 years. 93 points from the Wine Advocate.

Which 2009 Old Vine Zinfandel should I open?

  • 2009 Carlisle Montafi Ranch Zinfandel (45%, 21 Votes)
  • 2009 Ridge Lytton Springs Zinfandel (32%, 15 Votes)
  • 2009 Turley Pesenti Vineyard Zinfandel (23%, 11 Votes)

Total Voters: 47

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Thanks for voting! I’d love to see a comment below on why you picked one bottle over another.

Also, let me know if you have any suggestions for the November installment of Pick My Next Bottle.

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2009 Brown Estate Zinfandel – Bottle Notes

In 1980, The Brown Family acquired land in the hills east of Rutherford in the Napa Valley. In 1995 they decided to make wine under their own label. The following year the first vintage of Zinfandel was produced and subsequently they have added Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Petite Sirah to their lineup. First and foremost, Brown Estate is known for their exceptional array of Zinfandels.

Brown Zinfandel is near and dear to me. I’ve had all the Estate Zinfandels from the 1997 vintage forward, and my wife and I served the ’99 Zin at our rehearsal dinner at PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn in 2000.

Garnet in color. 15.2% ABV. Perfumed nose of lush red fruits, pepper and licorice. Light on it’s feet with nice acidity. Lush and elegant with super sweet fruit. Raspberries, strawberry preserves, cherries and a touch of pepper on the palate. The finish lingers and before you know it you are reaching for another sip. Drink over the next 2-3 years.

My rating: 92 points.

It should be noted that the front label of the wine has a #BROWNZIN hastag. The winery was an early adopter of Twitter in their marketing endeavors.

Brown Estate makes Zinfandel that truly has very few peers in California. It should be included in the conversation with the likes of Turley, Carlisle and Bedrock. The wine can be found at retail and at the winery. Seriously consider signing up for the mailing list.

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2009 Dehlinger Zinfandel Guadagni Bros. Vineyard – Bottle Notes

Dehlinger Winery is located in the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County and was founded in 1975 by Tom and Carole Dehlinger. Eva Dehlinger took over winemaking duties in 2007. Known for their Pinot Noir, Dehlinger also makes Chardonnay, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah.

The grapes for Dehlinger Wines are largely grown on the Estate Vineyard in the Russian River Valley. The initial vines were planted in 1975 and followed by subsequent plantings through 1989.

Guadagni Bros. Vineyard is in the Dry Creek Valley and was planted over 100 years ago.

Bright purple in color. 15.5% ABV. The first Zinfandel from Dehlinger in 25 years. Very cool! Brambly red fruits, pepper and plums on the nose. Medium in body with plush, sweet fruit. Strawberries, raspberry and white pepper on the palate. Super Zin from a iconic Pinot Noir producer. Drink over the next 2-3 years.

My rating: 92 points.

Hopefully Tom Dehlinger won’t make us wait 25 more years before he releases another Zinfandel.

Dehlinger Winery has a great reputation among wine connoisseurs. Wine writers have consistently given strong reviews while praising the winery for its uniqueness, quality, consistency and value. About 75% of their wine is sold via the mailing list. Amazing wines that are well worth the search.

I wrote about Dehlinger previously in the Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings.

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2009 Turley Old Vines Zinfandel – 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.

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 lineup.

Crimson in color. 15.5% ABV. Brambly, juicy red fruits, pepper and a hint of vanilla on the nose. Great flavors of plums, raspberries and boysenberries. The finish is long and sweet. Delicious wine and a great buy at $25. Perfect bottle for a Monday night. Drink over the next year or so.

My rating: 91 points.

Turley wines are available via the mailing list and periodically at retail. With all due respect to Carlisle and Bedrock, Turley is unequivocally the best Zinfandel producer in California. Exceptional vineyards and no detail spared in the winemaking process. The wines are simply better than ever.

The wait to get on the mailing list at Turley is relatively short. Take advantage of that.

In other news Turley recently opened a Tasting Room in Amador at the location of the former Karly Winery. Without question it’s worth a visit if you are in the area.

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Zinfandel of the Month – 2009 Elyse Morisoli Vineyard

I’m excited to introduce a new monthly feature: The Zinfandel Chronicles Zinfandel of the Month.

Each month around the 15th or so I’ll spotlight a particular Zinfandel that I feel is noteworthy. The wine might be something I have pulled from my cellar, picked up at a local retailer or a sample provided by a winery. You can bet if I’ve selected it for my Zinfandel of the Month, it is an exceptional bottle. To keep it relevant, I’ll only feature wines with a current vintage available at retail or via the mailing list.

The October Zinfandel of the Month is the 2009 Elyse Morisoli Vineyard.

Elyse Winery was founded in 1987 by Ray Coursen and his wife Nancy. They crushed 4.5 tons of Zinfandel from the Morisoli Vineyard in Rutherford to craft 286 cases of their first wine. The vineyard is located between Niebaum and Manley Lanes in the heart of the Rutherford Bench. Some of the Zinfandel in the vineyard dates back over 100 years. While their portfolio has grown over the last 25 years, the focus of Elyse remains on creating vineyard-driven wines that pair well with food. The total production of 10,000 cases is predominantly made up of Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel.

The wine is deep red in color. 14.8% ABV. The nose features red fruits, menthol, pepper and licorice. Rich flavors of raspberry, white pepper, earth, eucalyptus, plum and mocha on the palate. Claret-style Zinfandel. Medium acidity, supple tannins and a long finish. Drink over the next 3-5 years. This wine will pair beautifully with pasta, pizza or anything off the grill. Worth the search.

My rating: 92 points.

The wine is $37 from the winery (this bottle was a sample from them).

Elyse also does a Black Sears Zinfandel that I am eager to try based on past experiences with this vineyard.

Zinfandel of the Month is a work in progress – I look forward to your feedback and suggestions on wines to feature in the coming months!

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2009 Grgich Hills Zinfandel – Bottle Notes

Grgich Hills Estate, in Rutherford, in the Napa Valley, was founded in 1977 by Mike Grgich. Grgich earned fame in 1976 when the Chardonnay he produced as winemaker at Chateau Montelena won first prize among white wines at the now famous Paris Wine Tasting. The estate has 366 acres of vineyards in American Canyon, Carneros, Yountville, Rutherford and Calistoga and is still best known for its Chardonnays, which consistently earn accolades from wine critics. Grgich also makes Fume Blanc, Zinfandel, Merlot, Petite Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon and dessert wines.

Opaque purple in color. 15.3% ABV. 98% Zinfandel and 2% Petite Sirah. Jammy and rich. A nose of anise, vanilla, cherry and pepper. Iron, blood, plum, raspberry, cherry and white pepper on the palate. Medium acidity. The finish is long and spicy. This wine could use another year or so in the cellar to come together.

My rating: 88 points.

$35 at the winery and retail.

Grgich Hills is one of Napa’s iconic wineries. Consider stopping by when you next visit Napa Valley.

This review was based on a sample provided by the winery.

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2009 Bedrock Old Vine Sonoma Valley Zinfandel – Bottle Notes

Bedrock Wine Co. was founded by Morgan Twain-Peterson in 2007 and focuses on small production wines from several 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.

Purple in color. 15% ABV. Ripe, brambly fruit, lavender and vanilla on the nose. Full bodied and packed with fruits. Just a touch of acidity. Licorice, white pepper, blackberry and raspberry on the palate. Finishes strong with with noticeable tannins. Drink over the next 2-3 years while you wait on the Heirloom wines to blossom.

My rating: 91 points.

$22 from the winery. One of the very best values in California Zinfandel.

Run, don’t walk, to get on the mailing list at Bedrock.

I’ve blogged about Bedrock previously in Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings.

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2009 Black Sears Zinfandel – Bottle Notes

In 1979, Joyce Black and Jerre Sears purchased a one-of-a-kind property at the top of Howell Mountain. In 1997, Joyce and Jerre began producing very small quantities of estate-bottled Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel for their new Black Sears label, a few hundred cases per vintage. For twelve years, winemaker Ted Lemon called the Black Sears winery home, producing both the Black Sears wines and his own Littorai Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. But in 2007 Ted fulfilled a lifelong dream and built his own winery in Sebastopol.

Soon thereafter, Joyce and Jerre learned that their friends and neighbors down Summit Lake Drive at Outpost needed some additional capacity. Winemaker Thomas Brown was taking on more projects, and Outpost’s facility was running out of room for them all. Moreover, Thomas needed open-top tanks so he could make Pinot and Chardonnay for his own Rivers Marie label. Thomas and cellar-master Andrew Jones now inhabit the Black Sears winery, where they craft wines for their own label, Rivers Marie, Schrader and others.

The 37 year old vines for the 2009 Zinfandel are on an east-facing plot at the absolute top of Howell Mountain. 15.6% ABV. The wine is cherry red in color. Lighter in color than I would have expected for a four year old Zinfandel. Red fruits and white pepper on the nose. Cherries, peppercorns, figs and bramble fruits on the palate. Rich and sweet but not jammy. Modest tannins. The wines from this vineyard have a track record of aging extremely well but I would be inclined to drink this over the next 2-4 years.

My rating: 93 points.

The fact that this bottle was shared with my brother and his wife on a warm Spring night in Phoenix made it all the more better!

The Black Sears Zinfandel is priced around $50 and is only available via the mailing list. The 2011 version will be released in the Spring of 2014.

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