The April Installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on 2010 Old Vine Zinfandel. 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 Saturday and a Bottle Note will be published shortly thereafter.
2010 was an exceptionally tough vintage for Zinfandel producers. California endured record-breaking low temperatures throughout the spring. The result was late budbreak. Summer wasn’t much better. It was the second coldest July in 50 years in Napa and Sonoma. Things became really problematic in late August when temperatures pushed first into the high 90s and then cracked 100 for several days, breaking records around Northern California. Many vineyards were wiped out by the heat including Papera and Carlisle. Ultimately though, the grapes that made it through to harvest, were of high quality.
2010 Bedrock Zinfandel Monte Rosso Vineyard – The 2010 Zinfandel Monte Rosso Old-Vine shows the darker side of Zinfandel in its black fruit, spices, flowers and licorice. It displays tremendous depth and intensity in a rich, round style that is hugely appealing. The blend is 96% old-vine Zinfandel (planted in 1886) and 4% Alicante Bouschet. Ironically, this is a block Twain-Peterson’s father, Joel Peterson, used for some of the Ravenswood wines when Twain-Peterson was a child. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2025. 93 points from the Wine Advocate.
2010 Carlisle Zinfandel Bedrock Vineyard – Freshly cut flowers, spices and mint all jump from the glass in the 2010 Zinfandel Bedrock Vineyard. Nuanced and detailed, the 2010 Bedrock comes across as fresh, vibrant and beautifully delineated from start to finish. This is very bright and floral, especially for the year. Mike Officer told me the fruit at Bedrock had matured to the point it could withstand the sweltering heat from the spikes that arrived in late August. The 2010 is a field blend of approximately 86% Zinfandel, 11% Mourvedre and 3% Petite Sirah/Alicante Bouschet. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2020. 92 points from the Wine Advocate.
2010 Turley Zinfandel Dragon Vineyard – The 2010 Zinfandel Dragon Vineyard is voluptuous and beguiling from the very first taste. A wine of considerable impact, the Dragon Vineyard offers up blackberry jam, violets, cloves and a host of other dark aromas and flavors. This is one of the more intriguing wines in the lineup. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2025. 93 points from the Wine Advocate.
Which 2010 Old Vine Zinfandel Should I Open?
2010 Bedrock Zinfandel Monte Rosso Vineyard (45%, 31 Votes)
The insanity of Spring mailing list offers took on new proportions in 2016 when literally over a dozen wineries, from which I traditionally purchase, decided to release their wines on January 12 or January 19th. I don’t keep exact release date records, but seem to recall in years past, that the offers were spread out more evenly over both January and February. I do understand that many wineries I purchase from are family operations and it literally takes over a month to process, pack and ship orders. An early January release allows time to get the wines out before shipping conditions decline in April.
This year was just too much though. Too many wineries in too short a time frame. On top of that prices and allocations are as high as ever. Some hard decisions had to be made. Do I really need both No Girls and Horsepower? The answer is yes but I am good with just a 3 pack of each. In this case and more often than not I just purchased less from my favorite producers. Wide but not deep became the name of the game. In some cases though if prices went up too much or shipping costs seem out of whack, I just decided not to order. Schrader comes to mind.
The real winners in all this are the wineries that continue to offer exceptional wines at fair prices. It is a short list but wineries like Carlisle, Rivers Marie, Bedrock and Turley come to mind. Scarcity is still a factor in the high demand I see for wines from the likes of Saxum and Sine Qua Non. That being said, if you are new to the mailing list game, I think it is safe to say that you should have little to no problem getting an allocation from most wineries as many consumers, myself included, are suffering from mailing list fatigue.
I would appreciate hearing from those of you who have also made some hard decisions this year. Feel free to comment below.
The end of the year is always a time to reflect on what transpired in the previous twelve months. With that in mind I took a moment to look at what posts in 2015 generated the most traffic (excluding Bottle Notes, The Week in Zinfandel and Pick My Next Bottle polls). Since many of you just recently started reading my blog (thank you!), I thought I’d put together a list of the most popular posts.
It is the time of the year where every wine blogger publishes their lists of Wines of the Year or Values of the Year, etc. Although I try to blog about all the wines I taste it is clear that Zinfandel is definitely my grape of choice. With that in mind here are my top 10 Zinfandels of 2015. The link for each wine will take you to the detailed Bottle Note on Zinfandel Chronicles.