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.
Bradford Mountain 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)