A guide to that most American of grapes and infidel of wines, Zinfandel.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Steele 2005 Mendocino County Zinfandel, Pacini Vineyard

I've always been a fan of Mendocino Zinfandels, and while this didn't blow me away, it was a good zin that did not disappoint. I wasn't familiar with Steele Wines, but I guess Mr. Steele has been around the wine industry for a long time prior to starting his own winery, including a stint as the first winemaker at Kendall Jackson . Clearly he is enjoying the freedom of doing things his way now. I like the purity of the Old Vine Zin from a single vineyard, that comes through in this wine and is described here:
The Pacini Family planted this vineyard in 1940 on the western foothills of the
Mayacamas Mountains in Mendocino County. This beautiful old vineyard is
head-pruned as are most Zinfandel vineyards of the era. Steele Wines purchased
the vineyard in 1996 from the Pacini Family. Since then we have been
refurbishing the vineyard and replacing vines in the positions where the old
vines have died back. The location of the vineyard prevents us from irrigating
or frost protecting due to the limited water supply. This provides for the
intense flavors and aromas in this Zinfandel.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Windmill Estates 2005 Old Vine Zinfandel - Lodi

I think if I bought this wine in a store or restaurant outside of California, I'd think it was pretty darn good. But the levels of some of the zinfandels I've been drinking is so incredible that this affordable zin with good strong fruit doesn't come out as exciting as a few of the "whoa" zins I've been tasting.

Still, a respectable zinfandel from LodiVineyards.com. Lodi, of course, is the zinfandel capital of the world in terms of amount of grape production, though it doesn't always get its due when it comes to the finished wines -- especially when compared to Sonoma or Napa zinfandels. My daughter picked it out due to the cool silver-accented windmill, printed on a clear label. From the back:
Here on the edge of the California Delta, windmills have harvested energy from the ocean breezes since the arrival of our forefathers. These same breezes caress our vineyards and provide optimal growing conditions for these fine wines.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Pozzan 2006 Napa Valley Back Barn Zinfandel, Oakville Cuvee

This was a pretty good Zinfandel, though I think I was expecting something a bit more exciting given the fancy bottle with the words "Oakville Cuvee." I believe this is the first Zin that Michael Pozzan Winery has produced. According to the bottle:
This single vineyard zinfandel is produced from a premium Oakville vineyard adjacent to Michael & Mary Ann Pozzan's Napa Valley Home. Enjoy!

All and all this was a decent zin, perhaps it could benefit from a bit more age (being a 2006), but it didn't blow me away like many of the wines on this blog.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Zig Zag Zin 2003 Mendocino County Zinfandel

When I first saw this wine in a store, I couldn't believe someone made a wine with a bright orange label that looked just like a pack of Zig Zag rolling papers, and that they would even call it Zig Zag and put the words "Qualitie Superieure" on the bottle.

Well, the lawyers must have thought better of it, because the Mendocino Wine Company changed the label to a more conservative, non-trademark infringing version with the next vintage (the 2004, pictured here).

Still, this is certainly an "infidel" zinfandel, full of fruit and very drinkable. Mendocino makes some great wines, and the Mendocino Wine Company are the folks responsible for Parducci and Zingaro Zinfandels, so they know what they are doing. Screw cap too, which is convenient but is taking much longer to catch on here in Northern California than in Australia or other places.
The back label of this bottle is perhaps the best I have ever read. Maybe even better than the zinfandel in the bottle. Hilarious stuff (emphasis mine):
Mendocino Wine Co. is fermenting a business revolution right here in Mendocino County, where grapes are the second crop and sustainability is a way of life. We're GMO free and bio-diesel friendly. Please leave your cell phone in Napa.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Dashe 2005 Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley

I don't quite understand the painting on the label of the monkey riding the fish, but this is a fantastic zinfandel. The wine is very full and intense, but not overbearing. This is the only wine I've seen around from Dashe Cellars, but I am going to have to find some more! From their web site, the tasting notes on the 2005 Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley:
Dark, complex, mouthfilling, and rich, our 2005 Dry Creek Zinfandel is a classic example of why the Dry Creek Valley is so famous for intense zinfandels.
The combination of black raspberry and chocolate flavors, combined with its velvety texture, make this a perfect wine for a wide variety of foods--from barbequed or grilled meats, to pastas with hearty sauces, or just by itself before a meal. This is the wine on which Dashe Cellars has made its reputation, and the 2005 vintage is so good that you'll find it absolutely irresistible! Robert Parker gave this wine a 90 point score for the 2004 vintage, and we expect an even better response for the spectacular 2005 vintage.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Opolo 2005 Mountain Zinfandel

This is a zinfandel that you will either love or hate. Very intense, sweet, and with a heck of a lot of alcohol (16.1%!), at first taste it almost seems more like a port. I discovered these guys last year on a trip to the Central Coast, and have been impressed with the wines. I actually prefer their less expensive Summit Mountain Zinfandel, which was available in quite a few grocery stores around the central coast (and will be the subject of a future review). Opolo Vineyards makes zinfandel that, love it or hate it, expresses the true beauty of California Zinfandel while it hits you squarely between the eyes with its over-the-top fruit and huge alcohol content.