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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." (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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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."
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) K&L Notes: From a top Sonoma County Zinfandel producer, and sourced from near the top of Sonoma County, high above Dry Creek Valley in the stony, thin-soiled Rockpile AVA, this Zinfandel displays spicy aromas, with "intense flavors of currant, candied apple and Zinfandel’s briary essence. Soft entry with focused acidity and an extremely long finis... 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 »
95 points Connoisseurs Guide: "*Three Stars* One of our favorite Ravenswood Bellonis to date, this immensely appealing effort is absolutely brimming with very pure, keenly varietal, berry-like fruit, and, while is does not stint on ripeness, neither is it defined by it. It is moderately full-bodied and solidly structured with plenty of flesh and not a hint of extra fat. It is so forthright and juicy that it can be enjoyed in its youth, but, make no mistake, this one is guaranteed to repay keeping and should grow for years." (1/2015)94 points Wine & Spirits: "Ravenswood winemaker Joel Peterson has worked with Bel ...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)
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 »
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 »
Antonio Galloni: "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 »
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 »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A Zinfandel dominated blend that incorporates 16% Alicante Bouschet and 7% Petite Sirah, the 2013 Zinfandel Pagani Ranch has a decadent, sweet profile and shows lots of black raspberry, sweet cassis, licorice, candied violets and spice on the nose. Sweet, full-bodied and layered on the palate, it has a kiss of residual sugar, a full texture and a great finish. It's a hedonistic, sexy red to drink over the coming 5-6 years. (JD)" (10/2015) K&L Notes: From the producer: "Deep garnet color. Aromas of dried fig, oak spice, and clay minerals. Opulent and full bodied with... Read More »
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 bright red berry, elegant table wine interpretations of the varietal. Since 2011, the winery has been run by the Bilbro family, of Marietta Old Vine Red fame, which bodes well for its future.
Wine Spectator: "Lively and light-footed, with appealing notes of fresh raspberry, anise and white pepper. Drink now through 2019." (6/2015)
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% Zinfandel, 7% Petite Sirah. According to the winery: "After a dry winter, bud-break came early at this Russian River Valley vineyard. The resulting long season extended hang time, and provided superb flavor. We picked Old Vine block on October 8, and returned October 11 for Front and Back blocks. Following fermentation, we chose the eighty-five-year-old Old Vine block — a mix of Zinfandel and a small amount of Petite Sirah — and the Front block, for their aromatics and dark fruit. Enjoyable now, this cool-climate Zinfandel will be at its best over th... 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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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!
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 »
Antonio Galloni: "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)
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)
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!
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."
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 »
Inventory: San Francisco
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)
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 »
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."
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 »
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."
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.
93 points Wine Spectator: "A winning combination of rustic richness and sleek balance. Aromas of briary wild berry and spicy mocha lead to dense, layered flavors of black cherry, grilled anise and pepper. Drink now through 2022. 11,242 cases made." (4/2015)92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Zinfandel Old Vine comes from vines that are at least 50-years-old. It offers oodles of black cherry and blackcurrant fruit along with spice box, pepper and fruitcake notes. Full-bodied, heady and complex, it is the most multidimensional of these 2012 Zinfandels. It is ideal for drinking over the next 4-5 years. ...Read More »
93-95 points Antonio Galloni: "As always, the 2013 Zinfandel Papera Ranch is one of the silkiest, most polished wines in the range. Crushed flowers, sweet red cherries, tobacco and mint build in an effortless, gracious wine long on class and personality. The Papera includes a small amount (4%) of Carignane, which, hard as it seems to believe, really makes a difference in the wine's character and feel. Papera, one of Sonoma's heritage sites, was planted in 1934. (AG)" (1/2015)93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The dark ruby/purple-tinged 2013 Zinfandel Papera Ranch (802 cases and 15.3% alcohol) comes from a vineyard plan ...Read More »
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Zinfandel Carlisle Vineyard, from the home vineyard planted in 1927 by another Italian immigrant, is a 701-case cuvée tipping the scales at 15.3% alcohol. The wine is 87% Zinfandel and 13% mixed black and white varietals. (Mike Officer has 30 different varietals planted in this vineyard.) Only about 20% new French oak is used, and the wine bottled unfined and unfiltered. Loads of black raspberry, kirsch liqueur, lavender, licorice and subtle earthy notes are all present in this multidimensional, full-bodied, gloriously decadent and tasty Zinfand ...Read More »
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 »
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 »
94 points Wine & Spirits: "Jerry Seps is a man on a mission: If he keeps growing delicious, transparent Zinfandel on his hillside facing Mount St. Helena, people may eventually get the message that the vine can produce remarkable Napa Valley reds. More expressive than most contemporary Zinfandels—and many Napa Valley Cabernets—this wine bursts out of the glass with its savory fruit. It’s like chewing on perfectly ripe grape skins that keep yielding juice, scents of flowers, notes of iron and blood. Light in color and long on flavor, this is a Zin to decant for a rustic harvest din ...Read More »
This is a blend of 95% Zinfandel (estate-grown) and 5% Petite Syrah. According to the winery: "This is a very stylish and likable wine. It has forward aromas of fresh baked oatmeal cookies, with undertones of licorice and mint chocolate. The flavors are rich, full, and reminiscent of ripe, dusty blackberries and cranberry juice. The finish is crisp and lingering. Serve with grilled foods or pasta dishes."
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 »
91 points Connoisseurs Guide: "Positively brimming with Zinfandel "berries", but far more than a simple exercise in affable fruitiness, this deep and very well-balanced bottling exhibits great composure and real richness at once. It is optimally ripened and yet has a certain unexpected sense of brightness and buoyancy despite being full-bodied and sturdy, and its fruity stamina is striking. We like it right now, but there is no question that it has very good places to go for those who are willing to wait, and we foresee it improving for at least a half-dozen years." (5/2014) Wine Spectator: "Aromas of b ...Read More »
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 »