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K&L Staff Recommendations
92 points Wine Spectator: "A lively, zesty red that offers bright cherry and tarragon aromas and sleekly layered flavors of briary raspberry, nutmeg and fresh-cracked black pepper. Drink now through 2021." (4/2015) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Zinfandel Sonoma is an exuberant, richly fruity, medium-bodied effort displaying plenty of raspberry, blueberry and cherry fruit, 14.8% natural alcohol, and a lusty personality. It should drink well for several years. (RP)" (12/2014) Wine Enthusiast: "Made in large quantities, this is juicy and complex, offering soft, leathery layers of mocha and blackberry, with plenty of oomph and ...Read More »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors’ Choice* A layered and spicy offering, this is mostly Zinfandel, with smaller amounts of Petite Sirah, Primitivo and Carignan. Soft and inviting, it opens with smoky notes of blackberry cobbler and black cherry. Elegant on the palate, with a balance of power, it finishes in black licorice and cardamom." (9/2015) 90 points Wine Spectator: "*Smart Buys* This zesty Zin is loaded with lively fruit, with floral raspberry and pepper aromas leading to layered, jammy flavors of wild berry, licorice and smoky sage that take on weight and ripe tannins on the finish. Drink now through ...Read More »
91 points Robert Parker's 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. It doesn't have the structure or depth of the Lytton Spring, but it's a full-flavored, delicious wine to drink over the coming 7-8 years. This was a terrific set of wines from Ridge. The 2012 Bordeaux releases all have brilliant purity of fruit, with surprising freshness and focus. They’ll need short term cellaring t ...Read More »
95 points Wine & Spirits: "The vines that grew this supremely elegant wine were planted in 1999 on the red volcanic loam of a hillside and benchland vineyard in the southeast corner of Alexander Valley. Douglas and Nancy Ousterhout purchased the vineyard in 2009 and hired a pinot noir winemaker, Micah Wirth of Joseph Jewel, to create this silky, delicate zin. It’s as bright as a red cherry fresh off the tree, feeling almost weightless on the palate. As the wine takes on air, the tannins provide an edgy minerality that focuses and amplifies the fruit into a sunny, ruby-red laser be ...Read More »
A very shy producing vineyard with soils of volcanic ash and boulders, this site produces old vine Zinfandel of immense proportions.
Valravn is a small project by the folks behind Banshee Wines, with one clear mission: helping the Zinfandel grape live up to its potential glory. Their dry-farmed, bush-pruned vines range from 50 to 105 years old. Made by hand on a small scale, these wines are the antithesis to the jammy mass-produced Zins you can often find on the market. From the winery: "Layers of richness and complexity wrap around a core of wild strawberry and raspberry. Intoxicating aromatics with scents of mocha, espresso roast, violets and ripe red berries. Rich on the palate wit... Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
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 »
92 points Wine & Spirits: "First produced by the Wetzel family in 1978, Sin Zin now comes from vineyards throughout Alexander Valley, from the valley floor to the benchlands and hills. While this wine’s name might suggest excess, it’s not an excessive Zinfandel at all. In fact, it’s quite clean and balanced, its mouthwatering acidity carrying refreshing black raspberry and bay laurel aromas through a cool, granular structure that feels earthy yet polished." (3/2015) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Slightly less concentrated and savory, but still meritorious is the 2012 Sin Zin, a broad, round, juicy Zinfandel reve ...Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Zinfandel Old Vines is what Morgan Twain-Peterson calls “the gateway drug to Bedrock.” It is a cross-AVA blend of lots culled from his other wines and blended. The 2014 is largely Zinfandel, but with some obscure mixed black varietals thrown in for added complexity. It is an outstanding, full-throttle wine with a Mediterranean personality, with loads of Provençal herbs, briary black raspberry and black cherry fruits, dusty loaminess, a lush, full-bodied mouthfeel and dark ruby/purple-tinged color. (RP)" (10/2015)
90 points Wine Spectator: "Appealing, with a rustic personality. Wild berry, underbrush and cracked pepper aromas combine with briary flavors of dried cherry, orange zest, bitter chocolate and licorice. The tannins sneak in on the finish." (4/2015) K&L Notes: Bambino is made from young Zinfandel vines, plus others, planted in the style of the historic Old Hill Ranch vineyard that was planted in the 1880s. With 81% Zinfandel, 9% Petite Sirah, 4% Alicante Bouschet, 6% Syrah, Grenache and Carignane, it's patterned after the field blends of old.
From the winery: "2013 was a great year for Dry Creek Zinfandel and this wine is a good showcase for that. To start, aromas of fresh baked blackberry pie, strawberry jam and fresh, ripe boysenberries are complemented by hints of floral notes and spices. The palate is soft and supple and screams dark fruit from start to finish. A nice acidity refreshes the palate before the next sip."
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!"
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 character, there are hints of raspberry and black cherry lightly layered with sweet anise and a dash of black pepper.
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 »
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 »
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 »
Wine Spectator: "Lively and light-footed, with appealing notes of fresh raspberry, anise and white pepper. Drink now through 2019." (6/2015)
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)
90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Opaque ruby. Ripe cherry and black raspberry aromas are complicated by notes of licorice, cola and smoky herbs. A sexy floral nuance comes up with air, adding lift to weighty berry and espresso flavors. Takes a brighter turn on the long, sappy finish, featuring raspberry compote and floral pastille qualities." (5/2014) Connoisseurs Guide: "*One Star* This may be the ripest of the new Ravenswood lot, but it does not go the way of chocolaty heaviness, and it delivers a fair bit of bright, slightly raspberry-like fruit. It is fleshy, big-bodied and a bit hot in the bargain, and i ...Read More »
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* This terrific Zin brings classic varietal character to the table, with a full body, robust alcohol, dryness and intensely concentrated flavors of blackberry, black currant, dark chocolate, Chinese plum sauce and black pepper. Showing a mastery of the art of blending, its grapes come from north to south in the valley, Calistoga to Atlas Peak and multiple appellations in between. This is one of the greatest Zinfandel values in recent memory." (5/2014) K&L Notes: Krutz Family Cellars souced their Magnolia Series Zinfandel from across Napa Valley and it... Read More »
Wine Spectator: "A zesty little Zin, with just enough dried cherry, plum, toasty herb and spice flavors to keep this fun and interesting. Drink now through 2018." (6/2014)
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 »
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 »
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 »
Wine Spectator: "A zesty red, modest in scale, with enough black cherry, spice and toasted herb flavors to stay interesting. Drink now through 2018." (6/2014) K&L Notes: With the aim of creating a "rowdy and rustic" Zin to drink by the campfire, Four Vines blends 78% Paso Robles old vine Zinfandel with Petite Sirah, Grenache, Primitivo and other red varietals, aging it in American and Hungarian oak for 14 months.
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 »
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."
90 points Connoisseurs Guide: "*One Star* Here is a keenly fruity, exceptionally well-defined look at all of the things we like in a good Zinfandel, and, while it may not be the deepest or most complex example to be found, its precise themes of optimally ripened blackberries, its deftly placed oak and its fine sense of balance add up to a winning effort. It is full-bodied but never once drags its feet, and its integral acidity brings an easy sensation of brightness. It will age famously for upwards of five or six years by virtue of its exemplary proportion, but those for whom patience ...Read More »
Hobo Wine Company is one of several side projects by skateboarder-turned-winemaker Kenny Likitprakong. From the winery: "The Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel is an “appellation wine“ and we attempt to make a wine that represents what we think the appellation is; rich, but not overripe, fruit-forward, but not a bomb, structured,but not tannic. We strive for consistent drinkability, but given the nature of Zin, vintages vary quite a bit stylistically and sometimes in flavor profile. 2013 was a very good Zin year in Sonoma County and the wine is pretty “classic” ... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Smoothly seductive in bright red-berry and pomegranate fruit, this young Zinfandel comes from mostly Dry Creek Valley vineyards. Rippling in baking spice and subtle vanilla oak, it’s a complete wine, with balanced acidity and mellowed tannins. Clean and long on the finish, it will complement rather than overpower a meal." (9/2014) Wine Spectator: "A zesty Zinfandel, with black cherry and smoky pepper aromas and appealing flavors of plum and anise." (9/2014) K&L Notes: Duckhorn Wine Company's excellent value Decoy Zinfandel is sourced mainly from Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma County, and w... Read More »
Connoisseurs Guide: "* Good Value * Well-defined ripe-berry fruit is teamed with a nice mix of sweet oak and mildly briary spice in the nose here and carries forward as the dominant theme of the moderately deep, solidly varietal flavors that follow. The wine is just young enough to be a little rough at the edges, but service with food will help ease its way, as will a year or two of additional age." (5/2014) Wine Enthusiast: "Juicy and soft, this Zin is all about exuberant red fruit and restrained tannins. Full-bodied it also offers elegance with complex highlights of leather, cedar and peppery ...Read More »
Gardienne des Vignes is focused on old-vine Zinfandel and Petite Sirah vineyards. The Kirschnenmann vineyard was planted in 1915 to 95% Zinfandel and a remaining field blend of Carignan, Mondeuse, and Counoise. This vineyard is owned by Turley winemaker Tegan Passalacqua and very few wineries outside of Turley get access to the fruit from this site that is approaching its centenary.
Connoisseurs Guide: "*One Star, Good Value* Lively and well-ripened with a nice complement of clearly defined blackberry-like fruit solidly within its grasp, Cline's Ancient Vines bottling is a weighty, nicely filled youngster that is tasty and true to the grape. There is nothing fancy about it and it claims neither complexity nor finesse, but it delivers the varietal goods at a very fair price and will provide tasty drinking with dishes ranging from pasta and meatballs to smoky barbecued ribs." (5/2015) Jancis Robinson: "Black cherry, much better authenticity than their Lodi Zinfandel. Hot fin ...Read More »
Wine Spectator: "Briary and rather rustic, with notes of wild berry, mint and loamy underbrush. Drink now through 2020." (6/2015) K&L Notes: Amador County is "Gold Country," but what's remarkable is the old vine Zinfandel vineyards that enterprising vintners like the folks at Four Vines continue to dig up in the Sierra Foothills. 90% Zinfandel, from vines aged 50 years and more, is blended with 10% Barbera, an up-and-coming specialty of the region.
94 points Wine & Spirits: "This racy Zinfandel comes from a modern planting in the red volcanic hills to the west of Dry Creek Valley proper. Winemaker Micah Wirth’s Pinot-focused background seems to give him a particular knack for zeroing in on Zinfandel’s most refreshing side. Here, that means a Zin focused on spice and tangy acidity, bursting with a springy red plum tone that lifts toward aromas of peppercorn and lavender. There’s not an ounce of fat, just cool-vintage hillside sunlight in vinous form. Use its clean focus to brighten lighter fare, like grilled salmon." (8/2015)
Inventory: San Francisco
Wine & Spirits: "A potent zin with salty licorice and beetroot flavors, this is a direct, sanguine expression of Foothills minerality, with a floral edge that helps lift it out of the dirt. It’s an intense red for a flavorful cheese like Vella Dry Jack." (6/2014) Wine Enthusiast: "This is an amazing price for such quality, the wine resplendent in accessible red cherry and blackberry fruit and leathery tannins. Elegant and fairly restrained, it’s soft, structured and young, with room to develop further. Juicy and creamy, it delivers minty spice on the finish." (8/2014) Wine Spectator: "Sleek and crisp, with li ...Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Zinfandel (100% Zinfandel) is also a noteworthy value from Napa. Peppery, spicy and meaty, it exhibits notes of roasted herbs and licorice. Medium to full-bodied, soft and juicy, it is best drunk over the next several years. (RP)" (11/2014) Wine Enthusiast: "It shows the variety’s lusty red stone fruits and berries, with hints of milk chocolate and baking spices. A bit of new oak brings a wood-spice sweetness. You can drink this dry Zin now or stash it away for a couple years." (6/2014) Wine Spectator: "Jammy and soft, with smoky black cherry aromas that lead to plum, spice and toast ...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 »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Zinfandel Late Harvest has 9.5 grams of residual sugar and smells somewhat like an Amarone. Usually I enjoy these Late Harvest Zins after they have some age on them, but this 2012 offers good fresh fruit and purity. Drink it over the next decade. (RP)" (12/2013) K&L Notes: According to Robert Parker: "This boutique producer has one of the more innovative back labels where you can peel off the name and appellation of the wine, much like a postage stamp. I am surprised more wineries haven’t utilized this creative technology. In any event, it’s what’s in the bo... Read More »