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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.
The 2014 vintage in California was a friendly one for Zinfandel, with a long, warm, even-keeled ripening season. Tasting notes from the winery: "Our classic California Zinfandel is dark purple-ruby, with a youthful red hue. The nose entices with scents of raspberry, cranberry, licorice, and spice. Lush and concentrated flavors of ripe cherry, dark berries, and vanilla flood the palate, followed by touches of pepper and spice. Very fine tannins and great length make for a satisfying finish."
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)
93 points Vinous: "The 2014 Zinfandel Geyserville is just as beautiful from bottle as it was from barrel. Rich, textured and dense on the palate, the 2014 exudes depth, but in the mid-weight style of the year. The complexity of the Zinfandel-based field blend comes through in spades. The 2014 is creamy and persistent, but also graced with a mid-weight, finessed personality that is impossible to resist. In 2014, the Zinfandel is on the lower side relative to the recent past, with other grapes in the blend playing more important roles. (AG)" (7/2016) K&L Notes: From their estate in Alexa... Read More »
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 »
93 points Wine Spectator: "Impeccably focused and distinctive, with floral cherry, mineral and fresh sage aromas and flavors that combine subtle power with lively acidity, offering notes of raspberry and spicy herb. Drink now through 2024." (10/2015) 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "As far as the single vineyards go, the 2013 Zinfandel Rockpile has a completely different aromatic profile, with more Mediterranean notes of lavender, Provençal herbs, pepper and spice. It is medium-bodied and doesn’t seem to have the weight of the Old Vine, but it displays plenty of dusty terroir notes. This medium to full-bodied wine ...Read More »
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 »
91 points Vinous: "Ridge's 2014 Zinfandel East Bench is a standout, especially considering its price. Brisk and wonderfully perfumed, the 2014 possesses striking aromatic presence to match its mid-weight personality. This is one of the more silky, refined Zinfandels readers will come across. I can't recommend it highly enough. At this stage, the East Bench has almost Pinot-like finesse. The East Bench is a great choice for by the case purchases, as one or two bottles won't nearly be enough. This is a rare 100% Zinfandel from Ridge, as the other Zinfandels in the range are ...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)
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)
94 points Wine & Spirits: "George Hendry once helped farm the Brandlin Ranch on Mount Veeder, where he took cuttings of the old-vine Zinfandel when the property was sold in 1995. He grafted that budwood onto St. George rootstock at his benchland vineyard west of Napa and north of the San Pablo Bay, where morning fog and offshore breezes in the afternoon help to cool the vines. This 2012 parallels the hearty depths of an old-vine Zin, the ripe sour-cherry flavors driven by alcohol but not heated by it, the tannins buzzing with energy. It’s brisk and bright, complex and joyous. ...Read More »
90 points Connoisseurs Guide: "*One Star* 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. ...Read More »
90 points Wine Spectator: "Jammy and ripe, this retains a sense of balance and focus, with black cherry and caramel aromas and soft, zesty flavors of blackberry and spice. For those who like their Zins big. (TF)" (6/2014)
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)
The Benito Dusi Ranch in Paso Robles is the only vineyard that Ridge uses south of the San Francisco Bay area. Originally planted by Sylvester and Caterina Dusi in 1923 after emigrating from Italy, these old vines produce phenomenal fruit. With excellent Zinfandel-growing temperatures and rocky soils, the Dusi Vineyard wines are known for their juicy bramble fruit and velvety tannins. According to the winery, these are wines that "consistently show deep, juicy bramble fruit on the palate, along with notes of black cherry, gravelly earth, and rich chocola... Read More »
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Zinfandel from the Russian River is another sexy wine, and one of their largest production cuvées of just under 2,000 cases. It finished at 14.6% alcohol and shows plenty of classic Mediterranean roasted herbs, pepper, spice and full-bodied blackberry and cherry fruit. It’s a classic Zinfandel, very pure, impressively crafted and should drink nicely for up to a decade." (10/2015) K&L Notes: Low-key Limerick Lane was listed on the "Excellent" list in Robert Parker's "Best producers of Zinfandel" guide, 1999, and has continued to satisfy its faithful with brig... Read More »
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 »
The Green & Red Vineyard, which overlooks Napa County's Chiles Valley, is notable for its iron-rich red soils veined with slick green serpentine. Originally planted to vine back in the 1890s, these vines were planted starting back in 1972. The Chiles Mill estate vineyard ranges in elevation from 1,000-1,700 feet above sea level. This hillside fruit from the vineyard's red soils makes for a wine full of black pepper spice, rose petal, licorice and dark berry notes. The wine was aged for 14 months in a combination of 20% new American oak, used American oak... Read More »
Salento is a stones throw away from the Adriatic Sea. You get a hint of that salinity in this Primitivo and a lot of sunshine. The dark brooding fruit and milk chocolate will lure you in and coat your mouth with brandied cherries, mulberry jam, ginger and tobacco. An intense wine likes intense food. Pasta with wild boar ragu, pork stew, tripe, fire roasted beef, rich tomato sauce. This wine received award at Gambero Rosso, one of the highest regarded Italian wine festivals in the world.
About the producer: "Unti Vineyards is a small, family-owned and operated winery specializing in Mediterranean varietal wines with vineyard personality. The winery, established in 1997, produces small lots of estate grown Barbera, Grenache, Montepulciano, Sangiovese, Syrah and Zinfandel. We also produce a dry Rose from Grenache and Mourvedre and a White Blend of Vermentino, Grenache Blanc and Picpoul. We use artisan wine making methods to enhance and support our ability to make wines with a sense of place-such as fermenting and aging 45 to 60 different s... Read More »
Jospeh Swan began as a winemaking hobbyist in 1973, but with a little help from his friend Andre Tchelistcheff, he found that he had a true knack for creating outstanding wines. From the winery: "Medium deep garnet color. Aromas of dark berry compote with hints of fig, baking spices and black pepper. In the mouth the aromas are echoed but with a bit more brightness due to its excellent acidity. Still fairly tannic. Decanting and/ or opening a couple of hours ahead of drinking is highly recommended for this young pup!"
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 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 »
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.
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 »
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 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 »
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 »
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Zinfandel Rockpile Ridge Vineyard has an opaque ruby/purple color, a sensational, rich, full-bodied mouthfeel, great fruit purity, and a deep, mineral-laced, peppery finish. Alcohol again is just under 15%, but it carries it beautifully with no heat whatsoever. This full-throttle, rich Zinfandel should age nicely for 10 years. (RP)" (3/2016)
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)
93 points Connoisseurs Guide: "*Two Stars* Immediately impressing with its sense of crafting and polish and as rich and refined in flavor as it is in aroma, the latest Antaeus marries the deep, dark berry fruit of Zinfandel with a bit of Cabernet cassis and is structured along distinctly claret-like lines. It is layered and long and thoroughly involving right now, but its balance and youthful vitality are the markers of a wine that will grow effortlessly. Allow for at least five years in the cellar, and we are certain those who wait for ten will be very glad that they did." (9/2015) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The ...Read More »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "A zippy sense of freshness characterizes this wine that's otherwise soft and bright in red raspberry and plum fruit. Subtle and understated black pepper builds up on the finish and stays on the palate a long time, just the slightest suggestion of savory herb peeking through. (VB)" (12/2014)
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."
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Zinfandel Old Vine Pear Block, also from a parcel planted in 1930, possesses rich blackberry, kirsch liqueur and pepper. Thick, juicy, with a full-bodied mouthfeel, well-integrated acidity, and ripe tannin, this is another savory, exuberant and luscious Zinfandel that exhibits terrific craftsmanship. (RP)" (3/2016)
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)
90 points Wine Spectator: "Brooding and opaque, this is a real bruiser. Aromas of tar and smoky black raspberry lead to dense flavors of dark wild berry, licorice and grilled herb. The tannins are big but ripe. Best from 2017 through 2023." (12/2015) K&L Notes: This is a new label from Quivira, created to "explore the reaches of the Dry Creek Valley" in the quest to create a bolder, richer blend than their popular Dry Creek Valley blend. For the inaugural vintage, most of the fruit was found on their own, Biodynamically farmed estate vineyards. Mostly Zinfandel, with 12% Petite Sirah and 5% Ca... Read More »
Producer Note: "The Oak Knoll Winegrowing region is prevalent in this wine with its dark color, ripe aromatics and juicy acidity. The nose is full of Blackberries, vibrant black cherry, dried berries, maple, brown and black spices, cinnamon and ginger bread. The entry is soft and gives way to supple round tannins with a delectable center and persistence of fruit. The lovely finish is the signature of this elegant, surprisingly feminine, and remarkably balanced Zinfandel that is immediately drinkable and worthy of 5 to 7 more years of cellar time."
93 points Vinous: "The 2013 Zinfandel Russian River Valley is an attractive, boisterous wine to drink now and over the next few years. Dark red cherry, raspberry, spice, and mint inform the juicy finish. The 2013 is gracious, inviting and pretty much impossible to resist. (AG)" (1/2015) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Zinfandel Russian River is a 2,500-case cuvée made from old vine, dry-farmed, head-pruned vineyards averaging over 100 years of age. Aged nine months in French oak, it exhibits lots of strawberry and red currant notes intertwined with notions of earth, charcuterie, meat, pepper and h ...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 »
According to the winery: "Deep ruby color. Although we have only been making wine from this vineyard for three years, it exhibits what I have come to view as a classic Bastoni nose of deep blue tinged fruit, like a cross between boysenberries and blueberries. There is also a slight hint of cooking spice, perhaps cardamom, and much less pepper than we see in the lower Russian River Valley zins. Good but not overwhelming tannin and acidity and medium to full body."
91 points Vinous: "The 2013 Zinfandel Old Vines is dark, pliant and expressive, with fabulous depth and overall balance. Black cherry, plum, mocha, and exotic spices flesh out on the inviting, generous finish. This is another compelling Zinfandel that overdelivers for the price in a big way. (AG)" (10/2015) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Zinfandel Old Vines (15.5%) comes from tiny parcels too small to be bottled separately or relatively newer sites for Larry Turley that needs to be monitored before they’re given separate vineyard designations. The 2013, which is essentially a multi-appellation bl ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
90 points Wine & Spirits: "From nine acres of benchland soil west of the town of Napa, these blocks were planted to clone 2 zinfandel in 1975 and 1995. Aged for 15 months in French oak, this has the richness of a full-bodied claret, supple, heady and black. The dark fruitiness of cloud-ear mushrooms combines with a touch of volatility in the finish, a brisk, earthy zin to decant for braised lamb." (2/2015) 90 points Wine Enthusiast: "This opens with herbaceous dollops of thyme and fresh-dug earth and evolves slowly in the glass, revealing juicy black plum and berry. Medium in weight and density, it's soft and ...Read More »
91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "*Cellar Selection* A nicely structured wine with a sizable component of Petite Sirah and 3% Cabernet Sauvignon, this offers a density of oak and tannin on the entry, offset by a juicy backbone of blackberry and cherry. Full bodied, it has the elements to last, being completely drinkable now through 2020." (10/2015) 90 points Connoisseurs Guide: "No less forthcoming with its ripeness and concentration, this wine is a bit more open in cast and somewhat softer in feel, and its styling invites it into full serving fettle that much earlier than its Reserve mate. A firm veneer of tannin provi ...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!"