2008 Bucklin "Old Hill Ranch" Sonoma Valley Zinfandel

SKU #1082560 94 points Connoisseurs Guide

 When Old Hill Zinfandels are right, they are very right, and this outstanding effort ranks with the best. From its deep, layered, decidedly complex aromas of stony soil, briar, cocoa and berries to its very rich and equally compelling flavors, the wine reaches well beyond simple fruit. It is solid and sturdy in structure with the bones of a big claret, and it will age famously. Taste it now if you must, but know that it is the rare Zinfandel that will grow for a decade or two.  (5/2012)

90 points Wine Spectator

 Concentrated and appealingly rustic, this Zin features smoky cracked pepper and wild berry aromas and ripe, layered flavors of plum, sage and licorice. Drink now through 2017.(Web Review)  (1/2011)

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Staff Image By: Bryan Brick | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 5/17/2012 | Send Email
I’ve told people numerous times that the “Old Hill Ranch” vineyard has to be one of the most interesting vineyards in all of the United States. First of all it is the oldest vineyard site in Sonoma County, originally planted in 1851, which is saying something given the high proportion of “old vine” vineyards in the area. Secondly is it dry-farmed and certified organic. But the really interesting thing about this vineyard is its actual make up having 26 distinct varieties planted, both white and red and even some of even more elusive red fleshed grape varietals. This wealth of raw material has always served Will Bucklin, the owner of “Old Hill Ranch” and vintner of Bucklin wines exceptionally well as it had done with others before him like Joel Peterson at Ravenswood. This wine is a true testament to what a vineyard can do what it can produce and what it can become when tended with love and listened to. The word “terroir” gets bounded around a lot in my business but I can think of very few, if any wines, coming out of the United States currently that more purely express that idea than this wine. I also believe this to be one of the best Zinfandel based wines in the market today with only the Ridge Geyserville and Lytton Springs bottling being as consistently good on a yearly basis. Deeply spiced, full of briary goodness and bursting with earth laden fruity flavors this is sure to please those on both sides of the Zinfandel fence. This wine is never sweet or jammy but it sure has plenty of heft and an incredible amount of richness. In my book this is a must try wine.

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- 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.
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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 (%): 15.3