A Zin Tasting

Had an excellent Zinfandel tasting with Bill on Tuesday – 12 bottles ranging from northern California in Mendocino all the way south to Paso Robles. I liked the contrast between the wines, and found that I much prefer the lighter, brighter Zinfandels to those inky, opaque ones that are perhaps more the industry norm today.

Bill decanting a 2001 Zinfandel from Graziano Mendocino. This was a treat to taste, given that Zinfandels are not normally known for aging.

2001 Graziano Mendocino $25
Some spearmint character, with a sweet finish.

2007 C.G. di Arie “Southern Exposure” Shenendoah Valley $35, 14.4%
Smoother than #1; some nice earthy notes

2009 Terra d’Oro Deaver Vineyard 100 Year-old Amador Sierra Foothills $25, 14.8%
Dry farmed. Inky, opaque mix of the deepest red/black. Nutty aroma, pity the finish seemed somewhat abrupt. Meh.

2009 Scott Harvey Wine “Vineyard 1869” Amador County $50, 14.5%
Two stars! Favorite of the line-up that’s for sure. Very light color, earthy, bright, less fruity in the finish, refreshing, not as tiring on the palate. Some chalk, stone. Very elegant, like a lady wearing long satin gloves crooning jazz hits into a microphone.

2010 Mettler Family “Epicenter” $20, 15.5%
One star! Intense finish, almost like a punch. No tannins, very easy to drink, very tasty with a great length and a finish almost like dark chocolate. The winemakers used to sell their grapes to Mondavi for the latter’s Woodbridge wines; I’m glad they decided to bring it in-house.

2011 Michael-David Winery “Earthquake” Lodi $24 15.5%
Opaque, but the color is more reddish than black. Bill described this as “last of the Mohicans, a wine that’s pulsating sweat”. Where he comes up with his descriptions, I don’t know, but they’re hilarious – and apt!

2009 Dashe Louvau Old Vines Dry Creek Sonoma $32 14.8%
Gave it a tick (below one star, but still delish) Brighter color, more elegant nose than the earthquake. Quite like it. Bill, in describing the faint sour notes in the wine, likened it to that of “old people’s sour breath”.

2010 Quivira “Quest” Dry Creek Sonoma $35 15%
One star! Biodynamic winemaking aka quasi religious winemaking. Dark color, with a beautiful nose of baby powder, earth. Elegant, though Bill added that the wine was “almost fecal in finish”, which is not to say, a bad thing.

2010 Quivira “Flight” Dry Creek Sonoma $35 14.7%
Two stars! Organic winemaking aka less nutty. Darker color, with strong notes of cardamon in the nose and in the finish. The “Flight” is the winery’s most popular wine evidently.

2011 Ridge Vineyards “Geyersville” Sonoma $37
One star! Ah Ridge, always delivers. Think wood-cabin-in-the-rain type aromas – gorgeous bouquet. Some mint in the mouth… very smooth

2010 Amapola Creek Monte Rosso Vineyards Sonoma Valley $42 15.5%
Gave it a tick. The winemaker used to be at Chateau St. Jean. Dark wine, feels hotter than the Quiviras. Someone described it as having “an electricity about it”.

2011 Ridge Vineyards Paso Robles $31 14.5%
Gave it a tick. Dark color, but drinks surprisingly light. Bill said that it’s more “monochromatic vs. the other wines, but sometimes it’s nice to listen to a single note than a chord”. I quite enjoyed it – thought it reminded me of “Sanza”, the Asian preserved plum snack that we used to eat as kids.

Overall, a very strong and fun tasting. Liguel was with us this time, and we brought the leftover wines with us to Rickshaw, the BYOB Indonesian restaurant up the street. 🙂


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