2002 Joseph Swan "Lone Redwood Ranch" Russian River Valley Zinfandel (Elsewhere $25)

SKU #1049274

A "throwback" Zin. No jammy, sweet, mouthcoating flavors here. No searing alcohol. Just a rock solid Old World-styled Zin bursting with flavor. The tangy, fresh raspberry and cranberry fruit flavors belie the wine's age, leading to a much snappier version of Zin than most are used to. Add some cracked white pepper, dried tobacco, marjoram and cinnamon stick flavors and this becomes much more complex and drinkable than about 90% of the Zins on the market. If you want to taste a slice of Zin history, this is a perfect wine for you. If you like Zin that tastes like the blueberry pancake syrup at IHOP, please look elsewhere. (Bryan Brick, K&L) Joseph Swan is exceedingly slow to release its Zinfandels, and for a very good reason. Joseph Swan Zinfandels are made, in the words of Robert Parker, "in a divergent style." This estate tries to make wines from a variety of Zin vineyards that reflect the character and terroir of those sites. The wines are slow starters in the race for the long haul, revealing year after year new layers of complexity and interest. This wine is a case in point. A year ago it was just drinkable. Now, it is a real showstopper.The fruit is typical of the vineyard, showing pure berry. With excellent acidity, light to moderate tannins, medium bodied and beginning to show some complexity. It was aged in older French oak barrels to preserve the character of the fruit. It should continue to improve with bottle age for several years and hold for many more after.

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Price: $15.99
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Staff Image By: Mike Parres | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 2/11/2010 | Send Email
I am a huge fan of Zinfandels with some age, and not a lot of producers can make Zins that age... Swan's Zins, though, age gracefully and mellow. Dark ruby color, dense, deep and aromatic, this Zinfandel shows ripe blackberry fruit with hints of tar and cocoa powder.

Staff Image By: Chiara Shannon | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 7/15/2009 | Send Email
I like being reminded of the ageing power of good CA Zinfandel. It is so easy to forget about Zin because it is so, well, Californian in the big world of wine, where the tendency is to seek out the unfamiliar, but the 2002 Joseph Swan "Lonewood Ranch" RR zin is as classy and old-world as any rival for the price. With the perfect amount of bottle age, the wine shows a lovely bouquet of earth, cherry and blackberry fruits, cinnamon spice and hints of root beer. The palate is still full and flavorful but balanced, marked by earthy notes and a suprisingly piquant finish. What a treat for $15.99!

Additional Information:



- The bid to name Zinfandel California's "State Varietal" may have failed, but this red wine grape, grown extensively in California since the mid-1800s, is grown in few other places in the world. Sadly, much of what's cultivated today is planted where it's too hot and flat. But when planted to well-drained, hillside vineyards that are warm but not too hot, like those in Sonoma County's Dry Creek Valley and Amador County in the Sierra Foothills, Zinfandel can produce wines with plenty of character. High in natural alcohol and tannin, grown carefully it can be rich and complex, with dark fruit berry fruit and peppery spice. The most known example of Zinfandel outside of California is Italy's Primitivo, which can be similar in style, but is often a bit lighter and less alcoholic than West Coast examples.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Sonoma County

- Second in fame only to Napa, this "other" valley offers just about every climate and topography imaginable. From its cool and fog-enshrouded coastal regions on the far west, to the sprawling Alexander Valley on the boarder of Napa and the many little dips and peaks in between, Sonoma has been a vital wine-grape-growing region since the mid 1800s. Important sub-AVAs include Chalk Hill (known for chardonnay and sauvignon blanc), Dry Creek Valley (where zin is king) Knights Valley (largely cabernet land), Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast (both celebrated pinot and chardonnay zones).
Alcohol Content (%): 14.3