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K&L Staff Recommendations
94 points Wine & Spirits: "Jay Heminway got his start in Bordeaux as a college student in the 1960s, working a summer with Alexis Lichine. He founded Green & Red in the eastern hills of Napa Valley in the 1970s, focused on zinfandel. This wine grows at the highest vineyard on the estate, topping out at 1,800 feet, where he planted a northeast-facing slope in the late 1990s. It’s a fruit-driven zin, the freshness and sunny aspects pointed up by his team’s work at the new sorting table installed in 2013. All that fruit seems to glow from within, surrounded by scents of bay and wild ...Read More »
93 points Wine Spectator: "Plump and luscious, this is jam-packed with fruit. Lively blackberry, pepper, and other spice box aromas lead to ripe and rich flavors of black raspberry, caramel, and licorice. There are more complex Zinfandels, but few that are more enjoyable to drink. Drink now through 2022." (12/2015)
A very shy producing vineyard with soils of volcanic ash and boulders, this site produces old vine Zinfandel of immense proportions.
Though the 2014 has yet to be professionally reviewed, the 2013 garnered 91 points and praise from Wine Advocate: "A blend of 80% Zinfandel, 11% Carignan, 8% Petite Sirah and a splash of Alicante Bouschet, the 2013 Three Valleys has lots of berry fruits, bramble, spice-box and licorice in its medium-bodied, supple, nicely textured, and delicious profile." (JD, 10/2015)
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A softer, more lush and voluptuous texture can be found in the 2013 7 Deadly Zins, which is also 100% Zinfandel from Lodi. The production here is 280,000 cases! To produce such a high-volume wine of this quality is pretty remarkable winemaking. Loads of ripeness, fruit, glycerin and medium to full-bodied silky mouthfeel make for a delicious effort.... Year in year out, this is one of the best value wineries in the entire world. Working from grape sources in Lodi, they offer an assortment of wines, but their top cuvées are always the rather solid, full-fl ...Read More »
92 points Wine & Spirits: "This wine emphasizes Zinfandel’s gentle tannins (rather than the more rustic tannins of thick-skinned mixed blacks, with which Zin is so often blended). It has the briary taste of black raspberries and a stemmy green scent of strawberry tops. Clean and saturated with flavor, this is ready to decant for ribs or other smoky barbecue." (2/2016) Wine Spectator: "A zesty red, with black cherry and smoky cracked pepper aromas and balanced flavors of plum, licorice and grilled herb. (TF)" (6/2015)
91 points Vinous: "The 2014 Old Vine Zinfandel is deep, rich and luscious, with plenty of up-front fruit and tons of appeal. More of a field blend than a true Zinfandel, the 2014 is soft and forward, with expressive red-fleshed fruit, bright acidity and terrific overall balance. The Old Vine is 77% Zinfandel and a generous 23% mixed blacks. Best of all, the Old Vine Zinfandel is a fabulous value. This is a stellar set of wines from Morgan Twain-Peterson and Chris Cottrell. In general, the 2014s feel a bit brighter and more acid-driven than most recent vintages. Readers sho ...Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "A field blend with defined amounts of Petite Sirah and Alicante Bouschet, this wine is perfumed and light bodied, exhibiting soft, persistent waves of black pepper and crisp red fruit that give it a cool-climate edge of approachability and intrigue. (VB)" (4/2016)
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Zinfandel Dry Creek has briary fruit, not quite the density of the 2013s, but beautiful berry fruit, especially raspberries and black cherries, medium to full body, and again, stunning purity. I think this is the first time I’ve had a good look at these wines, and I’m impressed. Drink this one over the next 5-6 years. It is likely to be shorter-lived than the 2013s." (3/2016)
Vinous: "The 2012 Zinfandel, from Ink Grade, is soft, floral and perfumed throughout. Sweet red cherry, mint and wild flowers are all knit together in a delicate lifted wine. Drink this fragrant, juicy Zinfandel over the next few years. (AG)" (10/2015) K&L Notes: Winery Tasting Notes: What a pleasure it is to release the 2012 Zinfandel from our own Ink Grade Vineyard. The wine is fresh and lively, as well as impeccably balanced — a stellar achievement by our winemaking team. The zesty aroma sets the stage for the supple elegance of this appealing Zinfandel. True to varietal ... Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* With opulent ripe fruit flavors and plenty of tannin and acidity to back them, this is a complete, balanced and appetizing wine. It smells like blackberry with smoky, meaty accents, tastes rich and full of berries, and feels firm and tangy on the palate." (4/2015) 90 points Wine Spectator: "A lively Zin, focused and sleek, with floral raspberry and fresh loam aromas. Vibrant flavors agilely balance bright acidity and ripe tannins, plus accents of white pepper and anise. Drink now through 2021." (6/2015) Connoisseurs Guide: "*Good Value* Amador Zinfandels have typically been a gutsy and f ...Read More »
Vinous: "Deep ruby. Dried cherry and redcurrant aromas show good energy and a hint of spiciness. Firm and focused on the palate, offering bitter cherry and cracked pepper qualities and a hint of candied flowers. Finishes with repeating spiciness, dusty tannins and good nervy persistence. Most of the Ancient Peaks wines are priced for a large target audience at what are very low tariffs for the region, but the rest are solidly at the high end, with not much in between. All of the wines, which are made by Mike Sinor (Sinor-LaVallee), have been solid in recent years ...Read More »
91 points Wine & Spirits: "With its brambly fruit and peppery, earthen tannins, Quivira’s 2012 is spot-on Dry Creek Zin. It feels concentrated yet fresh, lasting on a woody spice tone that seems to come from the fruit rather than oak—an impression of sap drawn through a vine toward the sun. Pour it at cellar temperature this summer with grilled pork chops." (10/2014) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Opaque ruby. Ripe cherry and blackberry on the nose, with a subtle note of candied flowers in the background. Quite fleshy, with dense cherry and dark berry flavors enlivened by juicy acidity and a touch of peppery spic ...Read More »
Jeff Runquist banked 19 years making wine in California before opening his own winery. During that time, he developed close relationships with growers and is now able to source first-rate fruit for his own wines. His style is fruit-forward and velvety, and the Z-Massoni Zinfandel is no exception. Sourced from old vines and aged for 14 months in small barrels, it hums with rich flavors of black fruits, hazelnuts, and cocoa.
Ancient Peaks has become known for producing one of Paso Robles’ most acclaimed Zinfandels. Here, amid one of the region’s coolest growing environments, the Zinfandel grape achieves a rare balance of robust flavors and elegant structure. Zinfandel has been a cornerstone variety of Paso Robles for more than 100 years, and the folks at Ancient Peaks are proud to feature it in their small family of wines.
91 points Connoisseurs Guide: "*Two Stars* On first sniff and taste, the new Teldeschi comes across as being relatively closed and fairly tight-fisted in fruit, but, when given a chance, it proves to be a very deep wine, albeit one that is less outgoing than we have come to expect from this site. It is tough, it is tannic and it will take a longer stay in the cellar to come around, and it needs at least four or five years, and perhaps more, if it is to grow out of its comparatively rustic youth." (1/2015) 90 points Wine Spectator: "Sleek and zesty, with floral raspberry and sage aromas, featuring structured, bria ...Read More »
According to Bruce Neyers: "Markus Bokisch and I met in 1990 when he came to work as a viticulturist at Joseph Phelps Vineyards. He was a recent UC Davis graduate, and seemed immensely talented even then. Over the short time we worked together, I grew increasingly impressed with him. He left Phelps soon after I did, and moved to Spain to learn more about growing grapes and making wine. Our paths crossed again in 2005 when he began a vineyard management company in Lodi, and we started to buy grapes from two of his vineyards in the Sierra foothill AVAs of ... Read More »
Vinous: "A rich, boisterous wine, the 2013 Zinfandel literally jumps from the glass with exuberant, racy red fruits. Aging in steel keeps the flavors bright, focused and floral throughout. (AG)" (7/2015)
From the producer: "The nose reminds us of fall, with bright ripe cranberry notes, hints of forest, brown sugar, golden brown marshmallows, and cinnamon. This Zinfandel has a dominant presence right when it hits the front palate, which leads into a broad mid palate and enjoyable mouthwatering finish. The acidity perfectly balances out the bright fruit from the core and makes this wine perfect for food pairings or enjoying on its own."
It's worth pointing out that Rock Wall Wine Company is run by famed Zinmeister Kent Rosenblum with his daughter, Shauna. Rosenblum sold off the Alameda winery that bears his name, but he has not stopped making Zinfandel from hundred-year-old vineyards tucked into the obscure corners of California.
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "I tasted five Zinfandels from St. Francis. The 2013 Zinfandel Old Vines, made from 50- to 110-year-old vines, is a gorgeous Zinfandel - deep ruby purple, with loads of blackberry and black cherry fruit, full-bodied opulence, good purity and richness. Drink it over the next 5-6 years. (RP)" (3/2016)
A 100% Zinfandel bottling is somewhat unusual in this day and age when many producers prop up the red-fruited Zinfandel profile with the darker fruit and brawny structure of Petite Sirah. If blended haphazardly and without respect to the Zin, we can forget what Zin is actually supposed to taste like. This bottling from Joel Gott is 100% Zinfandel sourced from Mendocino, Sonoma, Lake County, Amador, and Lodi. It is a true snapshot of California varietal expression. The wine was aged in 25% new American oak before bottling. From the producer: "The 2013 Cal... Read More »
Double Gold Medal winner from the San Francisco Chronicle. From the winemaker: "Mountain Zinfandel is an aggressively fruity, dark, rich wine. Jammy aromas of raspberry and plum are balanced by floral lavender and violet. A lush, round mouth of plum and cherry flavors lead to a finish that is long and satisfying. This wine is bold enough to accompany spicy fare brilliantly - try it with spicy sausage like Andouille or Opolo's own Cevap Cici!"
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "**Editor's Choice** Somehow this wine is bold, full bodied and superripe—yet balanced, sleek and structured. Tart, vibrant fruit aromas like raspberry and cranberry are followed by rich, almost sweet strawberry and red cherry flavors. A layer of fine tannins adds grip to the mouthfeel, and firm acidity keeps everything from being heavy. (JG)" (12/2015) Wine Spectator: "Tart and zesty, with notes of red plum, tomato leaf and smoky spice. Drink now through 2020. 2,200 cases made. (TF) Web Only-2016"
For the last decade, Cline has farmed naturally and sustainably, avoiding chemical pesticides and fertilizers while using cover crops, sheep and other natural farming methods to maintain healthy vineyards. Sourced primarily from Cline's oldest Zinfandel vineyards in Oakley, which were planted over 100 years ago.
Wine Spectator: "Lively and light-footed, with appealing notes of fresh raspberry, anise and white pepper. Drink now through 2019." (6/2015)
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Michael David Winery also scores impressively with their moderately priced Zinfandels. The 2013 Zinfandel Earthquake is 100% Zinfandel, a 30,000-case cuvée aged in American oak. It is no wimpy Zinfandel at 15.5% alcohol, but is full-bodied, offering briary, peppery, meaty and herbal black fruits and some red fruits. The wine is pure, deep, fleshy, and ideal for drinking over the next 3-4 years. Year in year out, this is one of the best value wineries in the entire world. Working from grape sources in Lodi, they offer an assortment of wines, but their to ...Read More »
According to the winery: "This Zinfandel has the distinct flavors synonymous with west side Lodi Zinfandel. Exotic wild dark berries and complex earthy loam aromas draw you into this wonderfully rich and luscious wine. Bursting with juicy dark fruit and soft supple tannins, the character a concentrated fruit carries through to the finish. This vineyard is a head trained vineyard grown on the west side of the Lodi Appellation, in a smaller sub appellation know as Mokelumne River AVA. Planted in 1958 on St. George rootstock, it has become one of the premie... Read More »
Though the 2014 has yet to be professionally reviewed, the 2013 earned 91 points and praise from Wine Enthusiast: "The producer's most popular and widely made Zin has a loyal following, and this vintage merits further admiration, offering soft, plummy juiciness on the palate. Not over-oaked, it sparks with black pepper, finishing with elegance." (12/2015)
Fruit was destemmed and hand-sorted before fermentation took place over 20 days in stainless steel. The wine was then aged for 12 months in neutral French barriques. From the winery: "Fresh ripe berries, smoke, brown spice, dark chocolate on the nose. Flavors of fig paste, plum, mint, and licorice followed by a bright, lush and balanced finish."
Wine Spectator: "Sleek, if a bit tightly wound, with black cherry and toasted spice aromas, leading to firm flavors of blackberry, licorice and mineral. Best from 2016 through 2022." (6/2015)
90 points Robert Parker: "... with great intensity, a deep, full-bodied palate, and a cool-climate character with additional black fruit and mineral characteristics. With nicely integrated acidity, tannin, and wood, this pure effort will drink well for 5-6 years." (10/03)
Inventory: Main Warehouse
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Another outstanding value is the 2012 Zinfandel 7 Deadly Zins (230,00 cases of 100% Zinfandel). Aged in American oak, it is an opulent, delicious, sexy, full-throttle Zinfandel boasting lots of briary, peppery, mulberry and black cherry fruit notes, a full-bodied texture and terrific purity as well as opulence. It is a delicious, staggering value in Zinfandel, and the fact that there are 230,000 cases blows my mind. Drink it over the next several years." (11/2014) Wine Spectator: "This racy Zin offers ripe dried cherry flavors that show accents of caramel and spiced herbs. ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
Vince and Pauline Tofanelli’s Calistoga area vineyard produces the fruit for this spectacular Zin, which in 2004 offers an array of black fruit flavors and a serious amount of exotic spice aromas. Pepper and blackberries stand out, and the finish is very long and quite supple. An elegant wine that is nonetheless a spicy full-bodied number.
Inventory: Main Warehouse
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Readers should note that the label designation for this Zinfandel is “Hartford,” not “Hartford Court.” Sullivan loves the 2003 Zins since the vintage enjoyed plenty of heat at the end of the growing season, which helped the grapes attain full phenolic maturity, and the crop size was much smaller than 2002 and 2001. What I enjoy most about this offering is that Sullivan makes Zinfandel with a Pinot Noir mind-set, which seems to add to its complexity. There are 464 cases of the dark ruby/purple-hued 2003 Zinfandel Fanucchi-Wood Road Vineyard. From a site p ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
Up-and-coming winemaker Andrew Jones has been on a roll the past few years, turning out some incredible wines for his Field Recordings label. The Old Potrero vineyard, although planted in the early 1990s, is head-trained and dry-farmed with 12x12 spacing, according to the winery.
Inventory: Main Warehouse
Inventory: Main Warehouse
Pellegrini is best known for their Olivet Lane estate vineyard, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. But this part of the Russian River Valley, in the center of what's sometimes called the “Golden Triangle,” is an historic Zinfandel region, as well. The fog and the better-drained, loamy soils here help produce lush, dark Zins with boysenberry flavors. The winery's tasting note for the 2013 Zin, which was sourced primarily from Russian River Valley vineyards: "This wine is a classic cool-climate Zinfandel, distinguished by an abundance of dark fruit balanced by bri... Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
This nicely priced bottling from Joel Gott is 100% Zinfandel sourced from Mendocino, Sonoma, Lake County, Amador, and Lodi. It is a true snapshot of California varietal expression. The wine was aged in 20% new American oak and 80% two-year-old French oak. Tasting notes from the producer: "The 2014 California Zinfandel has aromas of cherry cola and raspberry with hints of white pepper and vanilla oak. On the palate, bright red fruit flavors and acidity are followed by a juicy mid-palate and a soft, round mouth feel and a long finish."