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K&L Staff Recommendations
Back in August of last year I was approached by Anne Marie Coyne-Kashkooli, the daughter of Thomas Coyne, who was curious if we were interested in buying a large lot from the Thomas Coyne Winery. To hear that name was a blast from the past for me. For years before I came to K&L I sold the wines out of a little shop in Berkeley that I helped run, and they were always wildly popular with our customers. They were wines of zero pretense, full of charm and ease--so I was all ears. Turned out Thomas, who had been the moving force of the winery, had passed away... 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 »
A very shy producing vineyard with soils of volcanic ash and boulders, this site produces old vine Zinfandel of immense proportions.
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)
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)
91-94 points Vinous: "The 2014 Zinfandel Geyserville appears to be especially marked by the Carignane at this stage, especially in the lifted, super-expressive aromatics. Silky tannins balance the gravitas of the 100+ year-old Zinfandel in a focused, nuanced Geyserville built on raciness. Bright red cherry, plum and floral notes punctuate the finish. The blend is 60% Zinfandel, 22% Carignane, 12% Petite Sirah, 2% Alicante Bouschet and 2% Mataro (Mourvèdre). (AG)" (7/2015) K&L Notes: From their estate in Alexander Valley, the 2014 Ridge "Geyserville" was made from the old-vine Zinfandel fr... 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 »
Wine Spectator: "Lively and light-footed, with appealing notes of fresh raspberry, anise and white pepper. Drink now through 2019." (6/2015)
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A softer, more lush and voluptuous texture can be found in the 2013 7 Deadly Zins, which is also 100% Zinfandel from Lodi. The production here is 280,000 cases! To produce such a high-volume wine of this quality is pretty remarkable winemaking. Loads of ripeness, fruit, glycerin and medium to full-bodied silky mouthfeel make for a delicious effort.... Year in year out, this is one of the best value wineries in the entire world. Working from grape sources in Lodi, they offer an assortment of wines, but their top cuvées are always the rather solid, full-fl ...Read More »
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 »
Inventory: San Francisco
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.
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 »
One of only two Zinfandels that Ridge bottles as a 100% varietal Zinfandel (more often, Petite Sirah and Carignane join the mix), East Bench was first made in 2006 from this 15-year-old vineyard. Those who have visited Dry Creek Valley might have caught a glimpse of the "east bench" from certain vantage points: facing west, it's truly on a different elevation from the valley floor vineyards, and is excellent Zinfandel habitat. Ridge's winemaker tasting notes on the 2014: "Nose of raspberry jam, pepper, violets. Full bodied and rich on the palate with red... 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 »
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."
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)
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "**Editor's Choice** Somehow this wine is bold, full bodied and superripe—yet balanced, sleek and structured. Tart, vibrant fruit aromas like raspberry and cranberry are followed by rich, almost sweet strawberry and red cherry flavors. A layer of fine tannins adds grip to the mouthfeel, and firm acidity keeps everything from being heavy. (JG)" (12/2015) Wine Spectator: "Tart and zesty, with notes of red plum, tomato leaf and smoky spice. Drink now through 2020. 2,200 cases made. (TF) Web Only-2016"
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)
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)
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 »
Named for a visiting mountain lion whose tracks are often seen in the vineyard, Sobon's "Cougar Hill" Zin is a blend of 95% Estate Zinfandel and 5% Petite Syrah. According to the winery: "Full bodied with superbly integrated flavors of dried fruit and herbal aromatics leading to a silky smooth texture with mid-palate hints of huckleberry, cocoa, dried cranberries and a signature mountain brambly character. Rich and satisfying with a warm lingering finish, this wine pairs beautifully with an herb grilled flat iron steak, Chicago style linguica pizza, lamb... Read More »
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)
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Saldo (a Latin word for 'from here and there') actually comes from multiple AVAs in Northern California -- Amador, Mendocino, Contra Costa, as well as Napa and Sonoma. One hundred percent Zinfandel, it displays briary, peppery, meaty notes, some Provençal herbs, black cherry and black currant fruit. It also offers some underlying, meaty earthiness and is a long, lusty wine that should drink well for another 3-4 years. (RP)" (10/2015) 90 points Wine Spectator: "Loaded with toasty oak, this jammy Zin offers aromas of dark cherry, caramel and cracked pepper that lead to zesty ...Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Zinfandel Todd Brothers Ranch Old Vines emerges from another one of those heritage, head-pruned old Zinfandel sites. The color is a dense ruby/purple and the wine loaded with black raspberry and black cherry fruit, loads of spice and earth. It is a classic, even quintessential, Zinfandel from Alexander Valley. This full-bodied beauty should drink well for 5 to 7 years. One of my favorite under-the-radar wineries for a number of years has been Dashe. The prices are reasonable, the quality high, and the wines filled with personality. (RP) ...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 »
Robert Parker called the Martinelli family "one of the great families of Northern California, and of course, one of the highest quality producers." (03/2016) The 2012 vintage was a mild one that resulted in well-balanced wines. From the winery: "The 2012 Vigneto di Evo Zinfandel has vibrant aromas of ripe cherry, blackberry, and strawberry. The palate is fairly firm on entry with bright red cherry, notes of nectarine skin, and spicy plum on the finish."
90 points Vinous: "The 2014 Zinfandel Juvenile is gracious, intensely perfumed and light on its feet, with striking purity and terrific overall balance. Rose petal, sweet red cherry, plum, mint and cinnamon add lift in a finessed, refreshing Zinfandel that is best enjoyed young, while the flavors retain their brightness. This is a terrific introduction to the vintage at Turley. -Antonio Galloni" (10/2015)
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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)
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)
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 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 »
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."
Wine Spectator: "A plush exterior wraps around a solid core of mineral-tinged cherry fruit, marked with accents of smoked pepper and fresh anise. Drink now through 2020." (1/2015)
Inventory: San Francisco
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 »
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 »
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Zinfandel Papera Ranch is slightly richer and more classic than the Russian River, from a vineyard planted in 1934. The wine is 97% Zinfandel and the rest mixed old-vine black varietals planted probably by the first or second generation of Italian immigrants. The wine has a deep ruby/plum color, a big sweet kiss of steak tartare, beef blood, blackcurrants, sweet cherries, baking spices, herbs and new saddle leather. It’s rich, ripe, full-bodied and opulent. This is a beauty to drink over the next 6-8 years. (RP)" (12/2015) 92 points Vinous: "Bright purple. Heady, co ...Read More »
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!"
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!"