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K&L Staff Recommendations
94 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2013 Zinfandel Geyserville is every bit as fabulous from bottle as it was from barrel last year. Ripe and voluptuous on the palate - yet with a super-classic conception of structure, the 2013 offers superb depth and impeccable overall balance. Waves of dark red cherry, pomegranate, spice, tobacco lead to more savory/ferrous notes that develop in the glass. Saline notes give the 2013 much of its energy and vivacity. This is a tremendous effort from Ridge. As is my custom, I have included Ridge's Sonoma wines here for ease of reference. Readers should ...Read More »
93 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2012 Lytton Springs is quite reserved, compact and inward at this stage. There is good density and depth in the glass, but the elements aren't fully formed just yet. While most of Ridge's 2012s are quite open today, that is not at all the case with the Lytton Springs. The 2012 is going to need time. In 2012, Lytton Springs is 70% Zinfandel, 21% Petite Sirah, 7% Carignane and 4% Mataro (Mourvèdre)." (7/2014)91 points Connoisseurs Guide: "*Two Stars* Although its aromas do not jump from the glass, this carefully made Zin exhibits fine focus and very articulate varietal fruit that gai ...Read More »
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." (12/2014) 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." (12/2014) K&L Notes: Seghesio blends Alexander Valley and Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel into the Sonoma County, with loads of dark fruit supported by brambly fla... Read More »
From the winery: "Medium-garnet color. Briar, cherry/plum nose, with clay mineral, dried herbs, oak spice. Elegant fresh-raspberry entry; soft, textured tannins; sweet oak. Good finish."
89 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "This is a beautiful Zinfandel and the good news is there are over 30,000 cases of it. Coming from three of Gallo’s top Zinfandel vineyards, Stephani, Frei Ranch and Chiotti, most of them in Dry Creek, this blend of 98% Zinfandel and 2% Petite Sirah tips the scales at a lofty 14.8% natural alcohol. The wine has a deep ruby color, and a seductive, peppery, meaty, Côte du Rhône-type nose revealing lavender and roasted herb characteristics. No hard edges are found in this medium to full-bodied, fleshy, nicely concentrated Zinfandel. Drink over the next 2-3 y ...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 »
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Zinfandel Old Vine, which includes a dollop of Carignane, comes from vines averaging 80 years of age. This Rhône Ranger-styled effort displays notes of raspberries, black cherries, forest, earth, pepper and spice. Full-bodied, heady, seductive and lush, it can be enjoyed over the next 5-6 years." (12/2014)91 points Wine Spectator: "A zesty red, with briary cherry and sage aromas that lead to lively and layered flavors of wild berry, anise and smoky cracked pepper. Drink now through 2021." (1/2015)90 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2013 Old Vine Zinfandel is once again fabulous and one of the very best wi ...Read More »
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 »
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 Antonio Galloni: "Black cherry, plum, smoke, dark spices and licorice are some of the notes that inform the Ridge's 2013 Zinfandel East Bench. The 2013 possesses striking focus and salinity that play off the wine's powerful yet mysterious personality. The darker side of Zinfandel comes through on the incisive finish. This is another wonderfully complex wine from Ridge. (AG)" (7/2015) Connoisseurs Guide: "Solidly fruity but never all that effusive and edging ever so slightly to dryness in character, the East Bench bottling shows the Ridge touch with regard to careful balance and structure yet ho ...Read More »
93 points Wine & Spirits: "Brian Mahoney drew on four vineyards to make this delicious zin, the oldest, Saitone, planted in the 1890s and the youngest, BCD, planted in the 1990s; he raised the wine almost exclusively in older barrels. It’s cool and fragrant, firm yet silky, the flavors quiet but convincing, suggesting rose, dried strawberry and pink peppercorn. Its slow-building intensity calls for a plate of prosciutto." (12/2014) K&L Notes: From the winery: "The wine opens aromatically with enticing notes full of boysenberry and blackberry accentuated with hints of dust and violet. Dark red,... Read More »
Enkidu is a small, nearly under-the-radar outfit based in a warehouse south of the town of Sonoma, co-founded by career winemaker Phillip Staehle, that turns out big wines with concentration and individuality. The Old Vine field blend includes grapes from the 125-year-old Bedrock vineyard in the Sonoma Valley.
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 »
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 2012 Cal... Read More »
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. Zinfandel, Grenache, Alicante Bouschet and Pelrousin. Drink now through 2022. 732 cases made." (4/2015)
93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Inky ruby. A complex bouquet presents dark fruit liqueur, licorice, violet and fruitcake, with a smoky overtone and a hint of black pepper. Stains the palate with sappy boysenberry and cherry-cola flavors that spread out on the back half and pick up a suave floral pastille nuance. Dusty tannins build through a sweet, strikingly persistent finish brightened by a vibrant, spicy jolt of peppery spices. I suspect that this will be the longest-lived of this year's set of Zins here, but I don't think that it will take forever to unfold, either." (5/2014)91 points Connoisseurs Guide: "*Two St ...Read More »
90 points Robert Parker for the 2012 vintage: "The outstanding 2012 Zinfandel Saldo comes from selected parcels in Northern California. A blend of 85% Zinfandel and the rest Petite Sirah and Syrah, this classic Zinfandel saw 20% new oak. The wine exhibits lots of peppery spice along with hints of espresso, clove and barrique. Meaty raspberry and black cherry notes as well as a medium to full-bodied mouthfeel are also found in this beauty. Enjoy it over the next 4-5 years."
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)
Wine & Spirits: "Showing the zest and snap of zinfandel picked before it’s hyperripe, this lasts on clean blue fruit and leafy aromas—a refreshing zin from Margarita Vineyard, one of the cooler, ocean-influenced sites in Paso Robles. Keep it on hand for weeknight spaghetti Bolognese." (2/2015) Wine Enthusiast: "Tobacco and boysenberry scents make for a pleasing if not complex nose on this wine from the Santa Margarita Ranch area on the southern part of the appellation. There are a lot of tannins, with expected flavors of blackberry and cedar." (2/2015) Wine Spectator: "An easygoing Zin, with notes of cherry, ...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 »
90 points Connoisseurs Guide: "It’s young and it’s deep; it’s nicely focused on bright blackberry fruit and it’s tight but promising—and that is just in its mid-volume aromas. The tight aspect comes doubly into play in the mouth where tannin and acidity combine to add coarse, grabby impressions that interrupt the wine’s fairly likeable fruit and consign the wine to the cellar. Time is absolutely of the essence here, and given the remarkable Storybook Mountain track record with its Zins, we have nothing but full confidence in this one’s ability to reach great heights." (5/2015) K&L Notes: Storybook... Read More »
95 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2013 Lytton Springs has really come together over the last year, far exceeding my early expectations. Powerful and explosive in the glass, the 2013 boasts tons of inky blue/purplish fruit, mocha, spices, new leather, lavender and licorice. Readers will have to give the Lytton Springs at least a few years to shed some baby fat, but it is nearly impossible to resist, even at this early stage. Once again, the team at Ridge has produced an absolutely compelling Lytton Springs. The 16% Petite Sirah in the blend adds an unmistakable air of gravitas. (AG) ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
96 points Wine & Spirits: "The scent of this wine is worth the price of admission, a combination of sage, sun and wet rock, of forest pines and dark red fruit. It reminded Wolfgang Weber, one of our panelists, of hiking in the North Coast, "in the morning, when the sun burns off the dew and picks up the scents of plant resins." The fragrance may round the wine in the Napa Valley hills, but the texture is pure benchland, about as silky as a wine can be...a deliciously plump Zinfandel, the kind of dynamic red wine that proves Napa Valley's greatness." (2/2014) Wine Enthusiast: "High alcohol gives this ...Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "Daryl Groom is making these wines from Livermore Valley vineyards mostly and the wine is no doubt big in every way-15.6% alcohol with big tannins and big black, spicy fruit flavors hiding in there at first. It definitely needs time to open. And a giant, slathered-in-sauce kind of steak or other red meat." (11/2011)
From the winery: "Frank Family Vineyard’s 2012 Napa Valley Zinfandel is bright scarlet in color and possesses aromas of rhubarb, licorice, graphite, and white pepper. On the palate, flavors of sweet plumb, cherries and vanilla meld with hints of tarragon. The wine is balanced with silky tannins, earthiness and a kick of spice."
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "From Dry Creek Valley, the 2012 Zinfandel Estate is composed of 76% Zinfandel, 12% Petite Sirah, and the rest Barbera and a dollop of Syrah. This wine was aged in French oak barrels (20% new) for eleven months. Another seductive, captivating effort from Unti, its deep ruby/purple color is followed by notes of blueberries, black raspberries and black cherries. This elegant, finesse-styled wine has no hard edges in its creamy, medium to full-bodied, opulent personality. A beauty that seamlessly integrates its grape varietals, oak, acidity and tannin, it ca ...Read More »
Nalle humerously notes, "Using archaic Bordeaux nomenclature gives us pleasure in naming this light red. Your pleasure will come from the unmistakable Dry Creek aromatics and flavors of blackberry, red licorice and milk chocolate with a crisp finish. A two vineyard blend of 65% Henderlong Nalle and 35% Bernier-Sibary. 90% Zinfandel, 5% Petite Sirah, 5% Carignane from vines averaging 60 years old. Barrel aged 11 months in French oak. Perfect as a summertime red or anytime with English royalty."
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editor's Choice* A blend of five vineyards, some of which go into single-vineyard designates, this is a well made, structured wine, offering layers of black cherry and subtle earth around soft, velvety tannins. The finish highlights black pepper spice with dark chocolate chaser." (2/2015) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright, full red. Black raspberry, spices and black pepper are lifted by a floral note on the nose. Nicely delineated flavors of dark berries, pepper and spices display good cut and intensity and a welcome touch of sweetness. A bit unforgiving today, finishing with fi ...Read More »
While many varietals are grown in Sonoma County's Dry Creek Valley, it is Zinfandel that built the region and its legacy. Preston's captures all of this with its briar fruit aromas and hints of clove and tobacco. Complex long and food-friendly, you can drink this now and over the next five years.
Inventory: Redwood City
93 points Wine Spectator: "*Highly Recommended* Powerful and deeply structured, yet agile. A core of ripe tannins and lively acidity is wrapped in layers of currant, loamy cracked pepper and licorice flavors. An appealing note of dried sage shows on the firm, lingering finish. Best from 2017 through 2023." (6/2015)
One of the best known and loved Zinfandels produced by Biale Vineyards, this blockbuster red delivers big flavor and Oak Knoll-derived spice. Not for the faint of heart but perfect for the Zinfandel lover!
94 points Wine Spectator: "Gushes with rich and powerful fruit, offering aromas of wild berry, nutmeg and cinnamon, and complex flavors of cherry pie, white pepper and licorice. A great package. Drink now through 2023." (12/2014)90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The dark ruby-hued, full-bodied 2012 Zinfandel Home Ranch Vineyard offers briery, black raspberry, mulberry and black cherry fruit intertwined with earth, pepper and spice. This pedal-to-the-metal beauty should be consumed over the next 3-4 years. It is a classic Seghesia Zin." (12/2014)90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Dry and refined in fine-grained tannin, this long-standing vineyard-desi ...Read More »
92 points Wine Spectator: "Densely structured and full of character, offering bold cherry and licorice aromas that lead to layered flavors of savory plum, grilled herb and Asian spice. The finish is framed by ripe but big tannins. Best from 2016 through 2022." (6/2014) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2011 Zinfandel Old Vine, made from a collection of their numerous resources for old vine Zinfandel, reveals an evolved dark ruby color along with an attractive bouquet of plum sauce, raspberry jam and a hint of strawberry. Its front end-loaded style turns slightly compact and abrupt, but it is an attractive, easy- ...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 »
91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Vivid ruby. Intense red and dark berry aromas are lifted by peppery spice and rose accents, with a bright mineral overtone adding energy. Fresh, incisive and floral on the palate, offering blackberry and bitter cherry flavors that coat the palate and pick up a subtle, refreshingly bitter orange marmalade quality. Sweeter on the chewy finish, leaving behind dark berry and licorice notes." (6/2014)
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.
Wine Enthusiast: "Woodenhead does Pinot Noir well, too, but here it shows its skill with Zinfandel, producing a structured, peppery and leathery version bright in briary blackberry and plum. With fierce minerality at its core, this is a distinctive Zin for those who prefer their wines savory and earthy." (8/2013) K&L Notes: Mendocino County is possibly the most overlooked source for Zinfandel in California, with long-established vineyards which deliver substantial and structured expressions. The Venturi family has owned this vineyard site since 1924 which sits just west of the Redwood... Read More »
91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Deep ruby. A complex, spice-tinged bouquet evokes ripe cherry and boysenberry, with smoke and licorice nuances in the background. Fleshy and supple in texture, offering concentrated cherry compote and floral pastille flavors plus a suggestion of fruitcake. Takes a darker turn on the sweet, expansive finish, which features dusty tannins and lingering smokiness. I like the blend of power and energy here." (5/2014)
Inventory: San Francisco
90 points Antonio Galloni: "Ridge's 2013 Zinfandel Paso Robles, from the Benito Dusi Ranch, exudes Paso warmth and richness. Unquestionably racy and overt, the 2013 offers striking depth and intensity, with a slightly roasted, sweet quality to the fruit. Sweet tobacco, cedar and dried herbs add closing shades of nuance, but the 2013 remains quite opulent in style. Still, all the elements are in the right place. The 2013 could use a few years to soften. It will be appreciated most by readers who enjoy intense, super-ripe Zinfandels. (AG)" (7/2015) K&L Notes: The Benito Dusi Ranch in Paso Robles ... Read More »
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "From the Rockpile AVA, the 2012 Zinfandel Botticelli Vineyard reveals slightly more acids as well as more briary, mountain berry-styled fruit, a tangy, spicy headiness, a full-bodied mouthfeel, and impressive purity, texture and length. It, too, should be consumed over the next 7-8 years. Jeff Cohn makes a dizzying array of wines, all of which have enormous appeal and character. (RP)" (12/2014) K&L Notes: From the winery: "The Botticelli fruit comes from one of the highest elevation vineyards at 1,800 feet. Dark like wearing sunglasses at midnight and loaded with ras... Read More »
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Zinfandel Alegria Vineyard Heritage Vines is a field blend of 78% Zinfandel, 12% Alicante Bouchet, 8% Petite Sirah and 2% Carignan, Trousseau, Sangiovese, Petit Bouchet, Syrah Negret, Black Muscat, Cinsault and Grenache -- talk about an assortment of grapes! However, this wine certainly works, and it is a tribute to the Italian immigrants that first planted these vines in 1890. Lots of black cherry, blackcurrant, licorice, earth, pepper and spice aromas jump from the glass of this complex, well-made, full-throttle Zinfandel (14.5% alcohol). This ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
Cline's Ancient Vines Zinfandel comes from 80- to 100-year-old vines planted in Contra Costa County. From the winery: "A deep purple color and luscious flavors of black cherry, strawberry, and dark chocolate lead to a medium finish. Accompany with slow cooked BBQ pork, chicken mole, or spinach mushroom casserole."
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 »
93 points Antonio Galloni: "Brothers Jake and Scot Bilbro seem to have breathed new life into Marietta, one of Sonoma's historic wineries. This year, the Bilbros have two new wines; the NV Christo, a Syrah-based red, and the NV Armé, which features Bordeaux varieties. All four wines in this range deliver outstanding quality and value. I wish every Vinous reader could sit down for a tasting with the Martinelli family as I have had the privilege of doing for the last handful of years. Of all the estates I visit in California, Martinelli is the one of the very few properties where vir ...Read More »
From the winery: "Unlike 2011 (and 2010, and even 2009 for that matter), 2012 was darn-near perfect. Jerre Sears’ and Joyce Black’s lovely vineyard is situated a mere 150 yards from our front gate, and the vines from our block, now in their sixties, are producing zinfandel like no other in the world. 2012 was marked by slow, steady development, with a heat spike in August followed by the return of moderate temperatures. Fruit lingered on the vine until mid-October, developing juicy, brambly, dusty, spicy, fabulous character. Without doubt, 2012 was a hal... 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.