Tag-Archive for ◊ ZAP ◊

05 Feb 2011 Zap 2011 — A good time with some great wines!

The 20th ZAP Grand Tasting was a good time for all that attended.  The weather threatened to get ugly but thankfully, held off and ended up being a great day in San Francisco.

The number of wineries seemed to be lower than in past years which is a good and a bad thing.  The bad thing is less zinfandel to taste; the good was that there was more room in both of the event halls which seemed to help with crowd flow at the event.   Also, the casting call for a extras in a Matt Damon movie help keep down the number of barely legal drinkers who normally come to get drink instead of taste.

I was able to taste a large number of wines this year even with being a volunteer for 3 hours.  The wines of the 2008 and 2009 vintages were actually fairly consistent with a trend toward above average zinfandels.  The cooler years seemed to help with not having too many over-ripe fruit flavors and keeping the alcohol levels down to more reasonable levels (14% and 15% instead of some of the recent vintages where alcohol were easily up in 16%+ range).  The change in the fruit flavors and lower alcohol seemed to throw a few wine makers a curve ball as quite a few of the zinfandels that I tasted expressed too much oak in the nose and palate.

The wines of note for me were the following:

Black Sears Estate Wine, Angwin, Napa Valley, 707-963-1334, Website
2008 Black Sears Estate, Howell Mountain, $42 — I enjoyed this wine the most out of what I tasted.  It was very well balanced in aroma, palate, acidity and overall intensity.  It had the classic zinfandel fruit flavors with an added fresh cracked black pepper note that is so rare in Zinfandels now.  It had a very long, pleasant finished with a greater than usual acidity for Zinfandel.  The is lovely by itself but would spectactular with a peppered flank steak.

D-Cubed Cellars, St. Helena, Napa Valley, 707-963-5212, Website
2007 Howell Mountain, Howell Mountain, $37
This wine was really good!  The winemaker told me the fruit comes from the Black Sears Vineyard, so no big surprise that I enjoy it so much!  The wine was elegant, complex and layer in both aroma and palate.  The freshly cracked black pepper aroma and flavor lured you in to enjoy the rest of a balanced and layered fresh fruit flavors starting to show secondary flavors — flavors of black tea, red fruit, black pepper and slight brambleberry.

2007 Napa Valley, Napa Valley, $27 — this was very enjoyable but not as complex or elegrant as the Howell Mountain — primarily fruit driven with noticable tannins, a dense wine.

Klinker Brick Winery, Lodi, Lodi, 209-333-1845, Website
2008 Old Vine, Lodi, $18 — this was a fantastic wine especially for the price point!  The wine shows classed old vine characteristics — mixture of brambleberry, red fruit, black fruit, black tea and hint of floral.  The wine is medium density with a balanced level of tannins for the intensity of the flavors and palate texture.

2008 Old Ghost Old Vine, Lodi $37 — This wine shows vintage variation; this year is a very good year!  The wine is similar to the $18 but with more concentration, complexity and elegance.  This wine will age well which is rare for zinfandels.

Mazzocco Winery, Geyserville, Northern Sonoma, 707-431-8159, Website
They were pouring 8 different wines — most of them single vineyard designates.  The wines were excellent and worth the effort to seek them out. 

Good wines — Worth trying:
Artezin Wines, Napa, Napa Valley, 707-255-1144, Website — 2008 Dry Creek Valley, $25; 2009 Mendocino County, $20
Calcareous Vineyard, Paso Robles, Central Coast, 805-239-0289, Website – 2008 Twisted Sisters, Paso Robles, $20
Downing Family Vineyards, Napa, Napa Valley — 888-440-2468, Website – 2007 Fly By Night, Oakville, $24
Edmeades Winery, Santa Rosa, Mendocino/Lake — 707-522-6488, Website — 2008 Mendocino County, $18 (Very good especially for the price — on the lighter side); 2007 Ciapusci Vineyard, Mendocino Ridge, $35.  All of there Zinfandels were quite good but I liked the balance and elegance of the Mendocino County blend best.
Gamba Vineyards and Winery, Fulton, Northern Sonoma, 707-542-5892, Website – 2009 Old Vine, Moratto Vineyard, Russian River Valley $43 (typical Gamba — big, dense, fruit bomb — aka not quite Port but damn close!)
Kokomo Winery, Healdsburg, Northern Sonoma, 707-433-0205, Website — 2008 Mounts Vineyard, Dry Creek Vineyards, $32; 2008 Timber Crest Vineyard, Dry Creek Vineyard, $36
Mauritson Family Winery, Healsdburg, Northern Sonoma, 707-431-0804, Website — 2009 Dry Creek Valley, Dry Creek Valley $27; 2009 Rockpile Ridge Vineyard, Rockpile, $35
Miraflores Winery, Placerville, Sirra Foothills, 530-647-8505, Website — 2007 El Dorado, $22; 2008 El Dorado, $22.  These are very good, complex wines and nicely priced.
Pezzi King Vineyards, Healdsburg, Northern Sonoma, 707-473-4310, Website — 2008 Old Vines, Dry Creek Valley, $24 — highly recommended.
Seghesio Family Vineyards, Healdsburg, Northern Sonoma, 707-433-3579, Website — 2009 Home Ranch, Alexander Valley, $36; 2008 Cortina, Dry Creek Valley $36; 2009 Sonoma, Sonoma County, $24
Sextant Wines, Paso Robles, Central Coast, 805-542-0133, Website — 2007 Holystone, Paso Roables, $27; 2008 Wheelhouse, Paso Robles, $20, 2008 Central COast, Central Coast $15
Storrs Winery & Vineyards, Santa Cruz, Bay Area, 831-458-5030, Website – 2005 Lion Oaks Vineyard, Santa Clara County $34; 2006 Rusty Ridge, Santa Clara County, $30; 2007 Central Coast $20

28 Jan 2011 2011 ZAP Festival — Grand Tasting in SF on 1/29/2011
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For anyone interested in Zinfandel, you should seriously consider attending the Grand Tasting at Fort Mason on the 29th.  It is the 20th anniversary of the event!  Trade will start tasting at 10:00 AM and general public will be able to start tasting at 2:00 PM until 5:00 PM.

There will be a lot of people there but so will there be a lot of zinfandel. 

 Here is a link to official ZAP link: http://www.zinfandel.org/default.asp?cid=1&n1=15&n2=645#20414.  Here is a list of the participating wineries:

 
Accademia dei Racemi
Acorn Winery / Alegria Vineyards
Adelaida Cellars
ADS Wines
Alderbrook Winery
Alexander Valley Vineyards
Amador Cellars
Amphora Winery
Ancient Peaks
Artezin Wines
B.R. Cohn Winery
Baldwin Wines
Ballentine Vineyards
Barefoot Cellars
Bartholomew Park Winery
Beaver Creek Vineyards
Bedrock Wine Company
Bella Vineyards & Wine Caves
Benessere
Black Sears Estate Wine
Boeger Winery
Bogle Winery
Bonneau Winery
Bota Box
Brazin Cellars
Brown Estate Vineyards
Brutocao Cellars
C.G. Di Arie Vineyard & Winery
Cakebread Cellars
Calcareous Vineyard
Calstar Cellars
Candor / Hope Family Wines
Carlisle Winery
Carol Shelton Wines
Cedarville Vineyard
Cellar No 8
Charter Oak Winery
Chateau Montelena Winery
Chatom Vineyards
Chiarello Family Vineyards
Claudia Springs Winery
Cline Cellars
Collier Falls Vineyard
Cougar’s Leap Winery
D H Gustafson Family Vineyards
Dancing Bull
Dancing Lady Wines
Dashe Cellars
D-Cubed Cellars
Deep Purple Winery
Del Carlo Winery
DeLoach Vineyards
deLorimier Winery
Dendor Patton
Dogwood Cellars
Dono dal Cielo Vineyard
Downing Family Vineyards
Dry Creek Vineyard
Easton Wines
Edmeades Winery
Fields Family Wines
Folie a Deux Winery – Trinchero Family Estates
Fontanella Family Winery
Forever Vineyards
Four Vines Winery
Frank Family Vineyards
Fritz Winery
Gamba Vineyards and Winery
GiaDomella
Giuseppe Wines & Neese Vineyards
Gnarly Head Cellars
Gnaughty Vines
Gregory Graham Wines
Grey Wolf Vineyards & Cellars
Guglielmo Winery
Gundlach Bundschu Winery
HaGafen Cellars
Haraszthy Family Cellars
Harney Lane Winery
Hartford Family Winery
Headbanger
Hearthstone Vineyards & Winery
Hendry
Hook & Ladder Winery
Hunt Cellars
Ironstone Vineyards
J Dusi Wines
J. Keverson Winery
J. Rickards Winery & Vineyards
Joel Gott Wines
John Tyler
JR Wines
Kenneth Volk Vineyards
Kenwood Vineyards/Heck Estates
Klinker Brick Winery
Kokomo Winery
Kuleto Estate Winery
LangeTwins Winery & Vineyards
Lava Cap Winery
Leonhardt Vineyards
m2 Wines
Macchia
Mantra Wines
Manzanita Creek / Salerno Healdsburg Estate Winery
Marr Cellars
Martorana Family Winery
Masked Rider Winery
Matrix Winery
Mauritson Family Winery
Mazzocco Winery
McCay Cellars
McNab Ridge Winery
Meeker Vineyard
Michael-David Winery
Mike and Molly Hendry Wine Co.
Milliaire Winery
Miraflores Winery
MoniClaire Vineyards
Mounts Family Winery
Murphy Goode – Artisans & Estates
Novy Family Wines
Oak Ridge Winery
Opolo Vineyards
OTTIMINO
Outpost Estate Wines
Paso Creek
Peachy Canyon Winery
Pech Merle Winery
Pedroncelli Winery
Peju Province Winery
Perry Creek Winery
Pezzi King Vineyards
Predator
Proulx
Puccioni Vineyards
R & B Cellars
Rancho San Miguel Winery
Rancho Zabaco Winery
Ravenswood
Ravenswood Quarry
Red Truck Wines
Renwood Winery
Ridge Lytton Springs
Ridge Vineyards
Robert Biale Vineyards
Rock Wall Wine Company
Rombauer Vineyards
Rosenblum Cellars
Rotta Winery
Rued Winery
Rusina Wines
Saddleback Cellars
Saldo
San Joaquin Wine Company
Sapphire Hill Vineyards & Winery
Sausal Winery
Sbragia Family Vineyards
Scott Harvey Wines
Sebastiani Vineyards
Seghesio Family Vineyards
Selby Winery
Sera Fina Cellars
Sextant Wines
Shannon Ridge
Simoncini Vineyards
Sledgehammer
Sobon Estate
Spenker Winery
St. Amant Winery
St. Francis Winery & Vineyard
Starlite Vineyards
Starry Night Winery
Steele Wines
Stephen & Walker Winery
Stonehedge Winery
Storrs Winery & Vineyards
Storybook Mountain Vineyards
Talty Vineyards & Winery
Terra d’Oro – Trinchero Family Estates
The Federalist
The Lucas Winery
The Other Guys
The Terraces
Three Wine Company
Tin Barn Vineyards
Tofanelli Family Vineyard
Trattore Estate Winery & Vineyard
Trentadue Winery
Tres Sabores
Trione Vineyards & Winery
Turley Wine Cellars
Twisted
V. Sattui Winery
Valdez Family Winery
Valley of the Moon Winery/Heck Estates
Van Ruiten Family Winery
Villa Toscano Winery
Vino Noceto
Virgil’s Vineyard
Wilson Winery & Vineyards
Wine Guerrilla
XYZin
Z-52
ZinAlley Winery
Zynthesis Cellars – Wheelhouse Wine Cellars
02 Feb 2010 19th Annual Zinfandel Festival Grand Tasting
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Last Saturday was the 19th Annual ZAP Grand Tasting at Fort Mason, San Francisco.  I was lucky enough to get into the trade portion of the tasting at 10:00 AM.  The trade crowd is maybe 1000 to 1500 people vs. the general portion which was between 5000 and 6000 people.  The attendance this year seemed much lower than in previous years — it could also be that I left around 2:00 PM (only an hour into the general portion).

I was in speed tasting mode so I only have a star rating from 1 to 5 where 5 is the best.  A new find for me was C.G. Di Arie Vineyard & Winery — the owner is a food scientist who has moved into wine making.  He has done a very good job with his wines — give them a try!  The Gregory Graham, Gamba, Mazzocco and Edmeades wines really stood out for me this year.  I strongly suggest that you try their wines / visit the wineries.   The wines are listed alphabetically by winery

Bella Vineyards & Wine Cave, Healdsburg, Sonoma
3.75 to 4 stars — 2007 Lily Hill, Dry Creek Valley $38 – (light, complex, layered with ripe fruit but not overly so)
3.75 stars — Two Patch, Alexander Valley, $38

Boeger Winery, Placeville, Sierra Foothills
3.5 to 3.75 stars – 2006 Walker Vineyard, El Dorado, $18

Bradford Mountain Winery, Healdsburg, Northern Sonoma

3.5 stars — 2006 Dry Creek Valley, Dry Creek Valley, $28
3.75 stars — 2006 Grist Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley, $34

Brutocao Cellars, Hopland, Mendocino
3.3 stars — 2007 Estate Reserve, Hopland Ranches, Mendocino, $34
3.25 stars — 2006 Estate, Hopland Ranches, Mendocino, $22

C. G. Di Arie Vineyard & Winery
3.5 stars — 2006 Gunther Vineyard, Shenandoah Valley, $25
4.25 stars — 2006 Southern Exposure, Shenandoah Valley, $35
3.75 stars — 2007 Sierra Foothills, $18

Calcareous Vineyards, Paso Robles, Central Coast
4.25 stars — 2005 Twisted Sisters, Kate’s Vineyard, Paso Robles, $26
4 stars — 2006 Calcareous Vineyard, Kate’s Westside Vineyard, Paso Robles, $26

Candor/Hope Family Vineyards, Paso Robles, Central Coast
3.25 stars — NV Candor, Central Coast — a zinfandel blend, good concentration

Chatom Vineyards, Murphys, Sierra Foothills
3.5 stars — 2006 Calaverous, $19
3.75 stars — 2008 Barrel Sample, Calaveras, $19

D-Cubed Cellars, St. Helena, Napa Valley
3.75 stars — 2006 Napa Valley, $27
3.25 stars — 2006 St. Helena, $32
3.25 stars — 2006 Howell Mountain, $37

Edmeades Winery, Redwood Valley, Mendocino (they poured 7 zinfandels and they were all very good this year)
4 stars — 2006 Perli Vineyard, Mendocino Ridge, Mendocino Ridge, $31
4.25 stars — Piffero Vineyard, Redwood Valley, Redwood Valley, $31
4 stars — 2007 Mendocino County, Mendocino County, $20

Four Vines Winery, Paso Robles, Central Coast
3.25 stars — 2007 Biker, Paso Robles, $25
3.25 stars — 2007 Dusi, Amador, $25
3 stars — 2007 Sophisticate, Sonoma County, $25
4.25 stars — 2007 Zinbitch (blend of Biker and Dusi) — only 300 magnums made!

Gamba Vineyards and Winery, Fulton, Northern Sonoma
4.5 stars — 2008 Estate Old Vine, Russian Rivery Valley, $43
4 stars — 2008 Moratto Vineyard, Russian River Valley, $43
4.25 stars — 2008 Russian River Valley, $35

Gregory Graham Wines, Lower Lake, Lake County
4 stars — 2007 Crimson Hill, Red Hills, Lake County, $18
4.5 stars — 2007 Crimson Hill, Red Hills, Lake County (late harvest – 375ml), $22

HammerSky Vineyards, Paso Robles, Central Coast
3.25 stars — 2007 Estate Reserve, Paso Robles, $39
3.25 stars — 2007 Open Invitation Zin Blend, Paso Robles, $49

Harney Lane Winery, Lodi, Central
2.5 stars — 2007 Old Vine, Lizzy James Vineyard, Lodi, $33
2.75 stars — 2007 Lodi, $20

Hendry, Napa, Napa Valley
2 stars — 2006 Block 7 & 22, Napa Valley, $30

Klinker Brick Winery
3.35 stars — 2007 Old Vine, Lodi, $18 (light but complex aromas and flavors)
3 stars — 2007 Old Ghost Old Vine, Lodi, $37 (fruit was overripe)

Lava Cap Winery, Placerville, Sierra Foothills
3 stars — 2006 Rocky Draw, Lava Cap, El Dorado, $22

Leonhardt Vineyards, Geyserville, Northern Sonoma
3.3 stars — 2007 Rserve, Dry Creek Valley, $48 (complex and spicy)

Mauritson Family Winery, Healdsburg, Northern Sonoma
3.75 stars — 2007 Rockpile Cemetery Vineryard, Cemetrery Vineyard, Rockpile, $39
3.5 — 2007 Rockpike Ridge Vineyard, Rockpile Ridge, Rockpile

Mazzocco Winery, Healdsburg, Northern Sonoma (they had 4 reserve zinfandels — all very good and 6 regular zinfandels — all very good but not quite as concentrated as the reserve wines)
4 stars — 2007 Maple Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley, $32
4.5 stars — 2007 Maple Vineyard, Reserve, Dry Creek Valley, $40
4.25 stars — 2007 Smith Orchard Reserve, Dry Creek, Valley, $50
3.75 to 4 stars — 2007 Pony Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley, $32

Murphy-Goode, Healdsburg, Northern Sonoma
3 stars — 2006 Snake Eyes, Alexander Valley, $35
3 stars — 2007 Liar’s Dice, Sonoma County

Novy Family Wines, Santa Rosa, Northern Sonoma
3 stars — 2008 Novy, Russian River Valley, $20

Outpost Estate Wines, Angwin, Napa Valley
3.5 stars — 2008 Barrel Sample, $45 (will be bottled in 3 months, good concentration with a elegant layered finish)

Perry Creek Winery, Someset, Sierra Foothills
2 stars — 2006 Zinman, Sierra Foothills, $14
2.5 stars — 2006 Altitude:2401 Fair Play Farms, Sierra Foothills

Renwood Winery, Plymouth, Sierra Foothills
2.5 stars — 2006 Grandmere, Amador, $40

Rosenblum Cellars, Alameda, Bay Area
3.5 stars — 2007 Rockpile, $?

Saddleback Cellars, Oakville, Napa Valley
3.5 stars — 2006 Old Vine, Napa Valley, $36

Selby Winery, Healdsburg, Northern Sonoma
3.5 stars — 2007 Bobcat, Sonoma County, $34 (ripe flavors w/ RS and 17.8%abv!)
3.75 stars — 2007 Old Vine, Sonoma County, $24 (elegant, layered, concentrated with 15.7% abv)
4 stars — 2007 Zinfandel Port, Sonoma County (fragant, perfume aromas with a clean finish)

Carol Shelton Wines, Santa Rosa, Northern Sonoma
3 stars — 2006 Wild Thing, Cox Vineyard, Mendocino County, $24
3 stars — 2006 Rocky Reserve, Florence Vineyard, Rockpile, $33
4 stars — 2006 Karma Zinfandel

Sierra Starr Vineyards, Grass Valley, Sierra Foothills
3.5 stars — 2009 Zinjolais, Sierra Foothills (Zinfandel fermented using carbonic maceration — this would be a great wine chilled in warm weather.  Note: this must be a unique wine!)
2.5 stars — 2006 Old Clone, Estate Vineyard, Sierra Foothills

St. Francis Winery & Vineyard, Santa Rosa, Sonoma Valley
3.5 stars — 2007 Karen’s Terrace, Sonoma Valley, $35
3.25 stars — 2007 Old Vine, Sonoma County, $25

Storrs Winery, Santa Cruz, Bay Area
3.25 stars — 2005 Lion Oaks Vineyard, Bay Area, $34
3.25 stars — 2006 Rusty Ridge, Bay Area, $30

Storybook Mountain Wines, Calistoga, Napa Valley
3.25 to 3.5 stars — 2007 Mayacamas Range Estate, Napa, $34

Tin Barn Vineyards, Sonoma, Sonoma Valley
3 stars — 2007 Dalraddy Vineyard, Napa Valley, $27

Valley of the Moon Winery, Glen Ellen, Sonoma Valley
2.75 stars — 2006 Estate Old Vine, Sonoma Valley, $25
3 stars — 2007 Sonoma County, $20

Venge Vineyards, Calistoga, Napa Valley
2.75 stars — 2007 Scout’s Honor, Napa Valley, $38

Zina Hyde Cunningham Winery, Boonville, Mendocino
2.5 stars — 2007 Old Vine, Redwood Valley, $30 (lacking in fruit and too many tannins)

04 Feb 2009 19th Annual Zap tasting at Fort Mason – January 31, 2009

It was a beautiful day in the SF Bay Area!  The tasting event was really quite nice as we got in with the trade (it is much more sane than the general tasting….1500 vs. 10,000 people).  The 2006 vintage appears to be fairly good with some standouts especially in the Mendocino region.  Zinfandel has a very wide range of aroma/flavor descriptors which range from a earthy, spicey (fresh cracked black pepper) to jammy, intense fruit (often with dried fruit characteristics).  At the ZAP grand tasting, the range seems to be best described by the Bradford Mountain Winery 2006 Grist Vineyard on the cracker pepper range to the Calcareous Vineyard 2006 Kate’s Vineryard, Paso Robles.  The overall vintage of 2006 seems to be above average.  Mendocino had a very good showing in the 2006 vinetage while Napa Valley did not show terribly well based on my limited tasting.  Note: Given the number of tastings in short period of time — as it has been said, “your milage my vary”.  Please consider this a relative rating of quality.

Favorite wineries:
Edmeades
Bradford Mountain Winery
Calcarerous Vineyards
Selby Winery
Storrs Winery
Renwood Winery

The scale is based on 5 stars being the best possible.  Normally, I would do a 100 point scale or a WSET based detail wine description however I did not have time to do that type of analysis. 

Artezin Wines (www.artezinwines.com)
3.5 stars — 2007 Mendocino County, Zinfandel — $18
Aroma: raspberry, cherry; Palate: medium- body, light and pleasing.  This is a light  body wine that is nice now but will probably not hold longer than 12 to 18 months from now — a great summer BBQ wine.

Bella Vineyards & Wine Caves (www.bellaWinery.com)
2.5 to 3 stars — 2006 Lily hill vineyard, Dry Creek Valley — $25
Aroma: banana, blue fruit, baby powder; Palate: similar to aromas plus dried bananas but has a medium+ concentration.   The wine could have been much more given the concentration but the banana flavor/aroma is distracting.

2 stars — 2006 Dry Creek — $35
Aroma: sulphur and wet cedar on the nose; palate follows the nose.

Bradford Mountain Winery – Healdsburg, N. Sonoma (www.bradfordmountain.com)
3.5 – 4 stars: 2006 Grist Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley:
Aromas: cracked black pepper, baking spices, red fruit; palate: medium body, medium+ length, flavors: cracked black pepper, baking spices, red fruit

4 stars: 2005 “El Grandate”, fortified wine, 18.5%abv, 10% residule sugar (100 grams/liter):
Aromas: raisin, fig, dried currants, dried fruits; Palate: raisin,s fig, dried currants, medium+ concentrations.
This is a very nice, balanced fortified wine — good example of what can be done with zinfandel made in the port style of fortified wines.

Calcarerous Vineyard – Paso Robles, Central Coast (www.calcareous.com)
3.5 – 4 stars: 2005 “Twisted Sisters”, Kate’s Vineyard, Paso Robles — $29
Aromas: meat, soy sauce (slight), black fruit; Palate: red cherry, pomegranite, chalky/mineral, slightly dried fruit, medium+ concentration.

4 stars: 2006 Kate’s Vineyard, Paso Robles — $30
Aromas: pronounced intensity — blue fruit (boysenberry, blueberry); Color: opaque Ruby core -> ruby rim; Palate: blue fruit (boysenberry, blueberry), light baking spice; medium + concentration.
This wine has a nice level of fruit intensity, layered flavors, medium+ palate intensity.  The wine will evolved into something really nice over the next 2 years.

Cosentino Winery — Yountville, Napa Valley (www.cosentinowinery.com)
2.5 – 3 stars: 2006 Estate, Ancient Vines, Lodi — $40
Aromas: red fruit, very ripe fruit bordering on dried fruit; the fruit is a bit too dry and does not bode well for the longevity of this wine.

Dancing Lady Wines — Healdsburg, N. Sonoma (www.dancingladywines.com)
3 stars — 2006 Old Vine & Old Vine Clone, Della Costa Family Vineyard, Alexander Valley – $20
Aromas: medium+ intensity, black fruit, red fruit; Palate: medium- tannins which are a bit drying.
The wine is definitely a drink now as the fruit is starting to taste dried up.  It is nice now but will not hold more than 12 to 18 months.
Note: this wine won a silver at the 2009 San Francisco Chronicle Wine competition.

3.5 – 4 stars — 2007 Old Vine, Della Costa Family Vineyard, Alexander Valley — $30
Aromas: sweet mincemeat pie, cranberry; palate: concentration medium+, flavors: cranberry, cherry, strawberry.
The wine as a nice concentration, balance of aroma/flavor intensity and balanced acidity.  The wine is drink now but can be held for 2 to 3 years.
Note: this wine won a gold at the 2009 San Francisco Chronicle Wine competition.

D-Cubed Cellars — St. Helena, Napa Valley (www.DCubedCellars.com)
3 stars: 2006 Napa Valley — $27
Aromas/Flavors: dried red cherry, red fruit

Downing Family Vineyards — Napa, Napa Valley (www.DFWines.com)
2 to 2.5 stars — 2006 H & H Vineyard, Oakville — $29
Aromas: dried fruit, prune, diacyel (buttery); Palate: dried red fruit, oak. 
The wine tasted like it had been added a bit too long in oak as the fruit was starting to dry out vs. the tannins in the wine.  The wine should be drank now and not held.

Edmeades — Redwood Valley, Mendocino (www.edmeades.com)
4 – 4.5 stars: 2005 Piffero Vineyard, Mendocino Ridge
Aromas: pronounced intensity, ripe fruit, floral, cedar; Palate: red cherry, raspberry, cedar, with smoke on the finish; medium+ concentration, very balanced wine.

4 stars: 2007 Zinfandel, Mendocino County — $18
Aromas: blueberry, dark cherry, perfume; Palate: blueberry, dark cherry, perfume — layered, complex and very well balanced; medium+ length.
This wine is a great value for the money! It is smooth, easy drinking with a surprising level of complexity for low priced premium level wine.

3 to 3.5 stars: 2006 Ciapusci Vineyard, Mendocino Ridge, Ciapusci, Mendocino Ridge — $30
Color: medium ruby; Aromas: perfume, blue fruit; Palate: tart red cherry, blueberry, mineral.
This is a lean wine with more of an old world style which is suprising for Edmeades.

4 stars: 2006 Zeni Vineyard, Mendocino Ridge
Aroma: smoke, violets, Rainier cherry; Palate: black fruit, Rainier cherry; Medium+ concentration

Four Vines Winery — Paso Robles, Central Coast (www.fourvines.com)
3.5 stars: 2006 Maverick, Amador County
Aroma: violets, red fruit; Palate: Medium+ concentration; flavors — red cherry; medium- tannins.
The wine is at its peak from now until the next 6 months — do not cellar this wine!  If you have this wine, please break out and enjoy!

2.5 to 3 stars: 2006 Biker, Paso Robles
Aroma: slight soy sauce, red fruit; Palate: medium- tannins which are drying on the finish, red fruit, cranberry.

Note: I have really enjoyed the Four Vines wines in the past several years.  However, the quality of the wine seems to have slipped a bit.  I was disappointed with the wines I tried.

Gamba vineyards and Winery — Fulton, N. Sonoma (www.GambaWinery.com)
3.5 stars: 2007 Estate Vineyard, Old Vine, Russian River Valley — $45
Aromas: Medium intensity; red currant, cranberry; Palate: red currant, red cranberry; Medium+ acidity.
The wine was nicely balanced with lively acidity that should help it age.  The style of this wine is a change from the previous two vintages which is more concentrated, fruit bomb old vine.  I would like to see Gus (the winemaker) take the style to between the 2005 and 2007 vintage — it would be more elegant and complex.

3 stars: 2007 Moratto Vineyard, Old Vine, Russian River Valley — $45
Aroma: dried red fruit, hint of cracked black pepper; Palate: medium slightly drying tannins, flavors = dried red fruit, slight cracked black pepper.

Hendry — Napa, Napa valley (www.HendryWines.com)
3 stars: 2006 Block 7 & 22, Napa Valley — $30
Aroma: medium+ intensity, slightly lactic, red fruit; Palate: black cherry, blackberry; medium+ acidity, medium+ length.
The wine was not a good as the last several vintages of the Block 7 zinfandel.  The wine is enjoyable now but will not hold more than 2 years.

Howell Mountain Vineyards — Rutherford, Napa Valley (www.HowellMountain.com)
2.5 stars: 2006 Black Sears, Napa County, Howell Mountain — $38
Aroma: medium+ intensity, dried red and black fruit (raisin, prune); Palate: Medium+ drying tannins, flavors of dried fruit, prune. 
This wine is clearly made from mountain fruit given the tannins.  The fruit seems to have been left too long on the wine given the dried fruit characteristics coming through so strongly.

Klinker Brick Winery — Lodi, Central Valley (www.klinkerbrickwinery.com)
3.5 to 4 stars: 2006 Old Vine, Lodi — $18
Nose: floral (violet), fresh bread (brioche), banana, red fruit, cola, root beer; Palate: flavor matched the aromas, medium+ concentration, very balanced.
This is a great value, easy to get and good with so many different foods.

Ledson Winery & Vineyards — Kenwood, Sonoma Valley (www.ledson.com)
3 stars: 2005 Old Vine, Mendocino County — $36
Aroma: red fruit; Palate: medium+ fine-grained tannins, flavors: cherry, baking spice

2.5 to 3 stars: 2005 Old Vine, Sonoma County — $40
Aroma: concentrated fruit, savory; Palate: Medium+ intensity; flavors=red and black fruit, boysenberry, savory, black fruit

Limerick Lane Cellars — Healdsburg, N. Sonoma (www.limericklanewines.com)
3 stars — 2006 Collins Vineyard, Zinfandel, Russian River Valley — $30
Aroma: slightly reduced, black & red fruit, slight black pepper, earthy; Palate: slightly drying tannins; red druit, black fruit, black olive, tangy finish.

This wine was not as good as prior vintages which is unfortunately as Limerick Lane Cellars makes tremendous and distinctive tannins — velvety soft tannins, blue fruit on nose/palate, and explosive in the mouth.

Mauritson Family Winery — Healdsburg, N. Sonoma (www.mauritsonwines.com)
3 stars — 2006 Cemetery Vineyard, Rockpile — $39
Aroma: floral, red fruit, cedar; Palate: medium+ concentration, red fruit; medium+ tannins (noticable)

Mazzocco Winery — Healdsburg, N. Sonoma (www.mazzocco.com)
4 stars — Pony Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley — $32
Aroma/Palate: red cherry, raspberry; Palate: medium+ concentration, round mouthfeel, silky tannins –> overall very balanced

Novy Family Wines — Santa Rosa, N. Sonoma (www.NovyFamilyWines.com)
4 stars: 2006 Papera Ranch Vineyard, Russian River Valley — $33
Aroma: toasted oak, carmel, blue fruit (boysenberry, blueberry); Palate: medium+ concentration, medium, silky tannins; flavors: christmas cake (cloves, allspice), blue fruit, toasted oak

Opolo Vineyards — Paso Robles, Central Coast (www.opolo.com)
3.5 to 4 stars: 2006 Summit Creek Vineyard, Paso Robles, Westside — $19
Aroma: black fruit( cherry, currant), floral; Palate: medium+ concentration, flavors: caramelized sugar, jammy, red & black fruit; medium+ acidity

Outpost Estate Wines — Angwin, Napa Valley (www.outpostwines.com)
2.5 to 3 stars: 2006 Outpost vineyard, Napa valley, Howell Mountain — $45
Aroma: oak, cedar, red fruit (raspberry), black pepper, violets, yellow mustard; Palate: oak, cedar, raspberry, spicy and tangy acidity on finish
The yellow mustard aroma is quite distracting.

Perry Creek Winery — Fair Play, Sierra Foothills (www.perrycreek.com)
2 stars: 2006 Zinman, Sierra Foothills — $14
Aroma: sulphur, herbaceous; Palate: herbaceous; length: medium-
The wine was on the thin side and not nearly as good as the last few vintages of this wine.

Renwood Winery — Plymouth, Sierra Foothills (www.renwood.com)
3.5 stars — 2006 Jack Rabbit Vineyard
Aroma: light intensity; red fruit, sweet spices; Palate: light body, Medium+ length

3.5 stars — 2005 Grandmere, Amador County — $35
Aroma: medium+ intensity — Cherry, cola (nearly pinot noir); Palate: red cherry, pomegranite; medium- concentration.

3.5 stars — 2005 Old Vine, Amador County — $18
Aroma: red fruit (currant, cherry), medium intensity; Palate: medium- tannins, flavors: red fruit, cherry, raspberry, red currant –> light, clean finish

Rosenblum Cellars — Alameda, Bay Area (www.RosenblumCellars.com)
4 stars — 2006 Rockpile Road Vineyard, Rockpile — $35
Aroma: pronounced intensity; aromas: maple syrup; Palate: blackberry, blackberry, baking spice, black cherry, boysenberry; medium+ concentration.
This is a made in the typical Rosenblum fruit bomb style of wines.

Selby Winery — Healdsburg, N. Sonoma (www.SelbyWinery.com)
4 to 4.5 stars: 2007 Bobcat, Sonoma County — $34
A bit closed down on the nose; Aroma: blue fruit, raspberry; Palate: blue fruit, raspberry
This is a very balanced wine with good concentrated but not great concentration.

3.5 to 4 stars: 2007 Old Vines, Sonoma County — $28
Aroma: boysenberry, red cherry, black cherry; Palate: eucalyptus, blue fruit; medium+ concentrated

Carol Shelton Wines — Santa Rosa, N. Sonoma (www.carolshelton.com)
2.5 stars: 2006 Wild Thing, Cox Vineyard, Mendocino County — $28
medium balanced, middle of road but has a poor finish (overly cedar)

2.5 stars: 2005 Maple Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley — $33
Aromas: violet, perfume, cherry, cedar; Palate: cherry, cranberry, lactic finish

St. Francis Winery & Vineyard — Santa Rosa, Sonoma Valley (www.Stfranciswinery.com)
2.5 stars: 2000 Reserve, Old Vine, Pagani Vineyard, Sonoma Valley
Aromas: wet wood, black currant, warm spices; Palate: savory, red fruit, slightly drying tannins with a bleu cheese finish (this is very unpleasant)

Storrs Winery & Vineyards — Santa Cruz, Bay Area (www.storrswine.com)
3 to 3.5 stars: 2005 Lion Oaks vineyard, Old Vine, Santa Clara County — $35
Aromas: lavendar, anise, black olive; palate: light body, red fruit, medium length pleasant finish

4 stars: 2005 Rusty Ridge Vineyard, Old Vine, Santa Clara County — $30
Aroma: slight dried fruit, rose petal, red fruit, baking spice; Palate: medium+ concentration; flavors: raspberry, cranberry, pomegranite, slight cedar; medium+ length

Stryker Sonoma — Geyserville, N. Sonoma (www.strykersonoma.com)
3 stars: 2006 Estate old vine, Alexander Valley — $26
Aroma: floral, sweet olive, raspberry, currant; Palate: raspberry, red currant, warm splices

Taft Street Winery — Sebastopol, N. Sonoma (www.taftstreetwinery.com)
3 stars: 2007 Cobblestone Vineyard, Sonoma
Aroma: prounounced intensity; fresh raspberry, allspice; Palate: cranberry, drieed raspberry

Terra d’Oro — Plymouth, Sierra Foothills (www.terradorowinery.com)
3.5 stars: 2006 Amador County — $18
Aroma: medium intensity; ripe fruit and slightly dried red fruit; Palate: medium+ concentration; flavors: red fruit (cherry, currant)