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K&L Staff Recommendations
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)
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 »
A very shy producing vineyard with soils of volcanic ash and boulders, this site produces old vine Zinfandel of immense proportions.
We couldn't be more excited to bring you another installment in what hopefully will turn out to be a long, fruitful project with wineries from around the United States, working with us directly to make exclusive bottlings for our customers. The Domestic team here at K&L has spent a great deal of time kicking around the idea of approaching wineries or winemakers we love, and asking them to work with us to create exclusive wines to our specifications. Furthermore we wanted to not only promote these outstanding wines, but the wineries behind them (rather th... Read More »
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 Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The proprietary red wine, the 2014 Geyserville from Alexander Valley is a big boy at 14.6% alcohol. Made from a blend of 60% Zinfandel, 24% Carignan, 12% Petite Sirah and the rest Mourvèdre, this is a big-time winner in 2014, with copious quantities of juicy blackberry and black cherry fruit, some wood spice and loamy soil undertones. Full-bodied, fleshy and seductive, the wine is clean, pure, textured, and offers sensational drinking now and over the next 7-8 years. (RP)" (8/2016) 93 points Vinous: "The 2014 Zinfandel Geyserville is just as beautiful from bottle as it was f ...Read More »
94 points Vinous: "The 2014 Lytton Springs is another absolutely gorgeous wine...there appears to be plenty of complexity and depth hiding behind the acidity and tannin. Far from an easygoing Zinfandel, the 2014 Lytton is a wine to buy and cellar for at least a handful of years. The wine's richness, persistence and vertical intensity all lead me to believe it will be special in time. Black cherry, pomegranate, mint and sweet spices meld into the resonant finish. A kick of tannin from the Petite adds personality, something the 2014 has in spades. 94+ Points. (AG)" (6/2016) 91 points Connoisseurs Guide: "No ...Read More »
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)
From the second label of Sobon estates comes Shenandoah Vineyards' full-bodied, full-fledged Amador-style Zinfandel. Its perfume hints at blackberries, cherries and cocoa while the mild tannins, elegant structure and strong fruit flavors make this a satisfying pairing for meats and cheeses.
Valravn is a small project by the folks behind Banshee Wines, with one clear mission: helping the Zinfandel grape live up to its potential glory. Their dry-farmed, bush-pruned vines range from 50 to 105 years old. Made by hand on a small scale, these wines are the antithesis to the jammy mass-produced Zins you can often find on the market. From the winery: "Layers of richness and complexity wrap around a core of wild strawberry and raspberry. Intoxicating aromatics with scents of mocha, espresso roast, violets and ripe red berries. Rich on the palate wit... Read More »
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)
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 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 »
92 points Vinous: "The 2014 Pagani Ranch is the most immediate and obvious of the 2014 Zinfandels I tasted at Ridge. Ripe, forward and opulent, the Pagani will please readers who like a more flashy, up-front style. I expect the Pagani will offer most of its charms sooner rather than later, which makes it a terrific choice for drinking on the young side. I don't see the pedigree or complexity of the best Zinfandels in the lineup, but the Pagani is delicious. This site seems to naturally produce a riper style as full flavor development and tannin maturity only take place lat ...Read More »
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Zinfandel Russian River (1,500 cases) is full-bodied, offering terrific black raspberry and black cherry fruit and peppery, earthy, meatiness. Very lush, with well-integrated wood, alcohol and acidity, this is a beauty with a sensational texture and length. Drink it over the next 7-8 years. With proprietor Don Hartford in full control, and brilliant winemaker Jeff Stewart having access to some magnificent cool-climate sites (for Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel), Hartford Family Winery continues to be one of the great success stories in Cal ...Read More »
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Lastly, the 2014 Zinfandel Black Chicken (its name coming from the code name used when ordering a jug of Zinfandel during the Prohibition era) is another relatively big-boned Zinfandel at 15.3% alcohol. Gorgeously proportioned, textured and almost chewy, this stunningly hedonistic and fleshy, flamboyant Zinfandel delivers abundant glycerin, fruit, quality and personality. Drink it over the next 7-8 years. One of the top Zinfandel specialists in Northern California, Robert Biale’s 2014 Zinfandels are all relatively large-scaled wines, ranging from the mi ...Read More »
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Zinfandel Cortina, which comes from their lowest yielding, dry farmed vineyards, exhibits perhaps the deepest level of fruit intensity, with loads of raspberries, black cherries, some spice, a full-bodied earthiness, moderately high alcohol (as all of these do) at 14.8%, but a long, layered finish. This is probably one of my favorites of this grouping. (RP)" (3/2016) 94 points Wine Spectator: "*Highly Recommended* This captures such a distinct sense of place it almost smells like Dry Creek Valley. Briary raspberry and smoky cinnamon aromas lead to complex, layered flavors o ...Read More »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "This is a full-bodied but also subtle and complex-flavored wine. The aromas bring in mild wood smoke and black-pepper notes, then the flavors add ample fruitiness without going to jamminess. The overall effect is one of sophistication." (10/2016) K&L Notes: This nicely priced 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 20% new American oak and 80% two-year-old French oak. Tasting notes from the producer: "The 2014 California Zinfa... 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: This Zinfandel is fresh, lively and very balanced. Zesty aromas lead to raspberry, black cherry, sweet anise, and a dash of black pepper.
Connoisseurs Guide: "As has been the case with past Ponzo bottlings, this wine drifts away from the Ridge tendency toward complexity and offers up a distinctly clearer view of Zinfandel berries and zestiness. It is clean, polished and, as has been the norm for Ponzo, it is also readier to drink than most of its siblings. Medium-depth fruit holds nicely from front to back and only a couple of years in bottle are called for, if any at all." (9/2016) K&L Notes: Fresh cherry and raspberry lead into lively acidity and an elegant finish. Bright and spicy, this wine pairs nicely, with game and... Read More »
91-94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "If you already know what Mike Officer does, and the style of his wines, you won’t be disappointed in his 2014s. You may even like them as much as any vintage, given the fact that this year shows a lot of up-front fruit and charm. (RP)" (10/2015) 91-93 points Vinous: "The 2014 Zinfandel Old Vine is another superb, entry-level wine from Carlisle and proprietor Mike Officer. Succulent and expressive, the 2014 offers tons of near and medium-term appeal in the forward, fruit-driven style that is the signature of the Russian River. A host of sweet red cherry and plum notes wrap aroun ...Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Earthy dried herb and truffle provide a rough-and-tumble point of view in this wine, a mix of complexity and contoured acidity. The shy, juicy red fruit is cradled in integrated oak." (10/2016) 90 points Wine Spectator: "Bold raspberry and toasty spice aromas combines with lively, jammy flavors of black cherry, smoky anise and dried sage. Drink now through 2027. (TF, Web-2016)" (10/2016)
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 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 »
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 »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Made from fruit grown across the valley, including Chiles Valley and Calistoga, this wine also includes 14% Petite Sirah and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon. It is above all savory and relatively restrained, elegant in red fruit, soft mellow tannin and balanced acidity, with a lingering taste of wild blueberry." (10/2016)
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)
Vinous: "The 2014 Zinfandel is another delicious, value-priced red from the Varner brothers. Pinot-influenced aromatics meld into a core of sweet red berry fruit. Rich, deep and luscious in a fruit-driven style, the Zinfandel hits all the right notes. (AG)" (7/2016)
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)
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Zinfandel Reserve, which was aged 20 months in French oak, is really sensational, with a dense ruby/purple color, beautiful blueberry and blackberry fruit, a judicious use of toasty oak, full-bodied opulence, a multi-layered mouthfeel, and a spectacular finish of 45 or more seconds. This is a great Zinfandel from Dry Creek to drink over the next decade. (RP)" (3/2016)
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 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 and ... 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 »
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A classic Zinfandel that's loaded with notions of spice box, cigar box, sweet cherries, crushed flowers and black currants, the 2013 Zinfandel Dusi Vineyard has fabulous complexity in its evolved, sexy and medium to full-bodied personality. It has a touch of savory tannin on the finish, but they're covered by sweet, unctuous fruit. And, this rock solid effort is impeccably balanced and nicely focused on the palate. I love it today, but it will evolve beautifully for 7-8 years. (JD)" (8/2016) 93 points Wine Spectator: "*Highly Recommended* Ideally captures Paso’s distinctive style of ...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." Vigneto di Evo is a blend of multiple vineyard sites farmed by the estate. From the winery: "The 2013 Vigneto di Evo Zinfandel has aromas of dark red fruit, Bing cherries, and hints of conifer and rose petal. The palate is medium weight with flavors of sour cherry, raspberry, and red plum skin, with a slightly earthy/mineral finish."
93 points Vinous: "The Zinfandel Old & Mature Vines Scherrer Vineyard is once again one of Fred Scherrer's most distinctive wines in 2013. A wine of real character and personality, the 2013 is endowed with superb depth. Leather, smoke, spice, dried herb and tobacco add an attractive savory element. Fred Scherrer continues to turn out tasty, straightforward wines at very reasonable prices. What else is new? Readers will find plenty of highlights among these new releases. The Cabernets and Zinfandels, which emerge from estate vineyards in Alexander Valley, remain signatures, ...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) 91 points Connoisseurs Guide: "Striking in its concentration, its intensity and its very pure impressions of fruit, this generous Zin made from grapes grown in the Rockpile Ridge Vineyard is a textbook example of its maker's style. It is bi ...Read More »
94 points Wine & Spirits: "If you go for a hike in the Palisades above Napa Valley, this is what the summer air smells like—sage, manzanita and wild flowers. That multidimensional scent gives the wine a floral, spicy aromatic complexity rarely found in Napa Valley reds. This is a lean and muscular Zin, and though it may not have the kind of energy that sustains Storybook’s best Estate Reserves for decades in the cellar, it is tightly focused, its ripe fruit tunneling through mineral-inflected tannins and making an imprint on the palate that lasts. Perhaps its marathon-runner’s bui ...Read More »
Wine Spectator: "Jammed with toasty oak and black pepper notes, this is backed up by baked cherry, grilled anise and toffee flavors. Drink now through 2022. (TF)" (6/2016)
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A blend of 80% Zinfandel, 11% Carignan, 8% Petite Sirah and a splash of Alicante Bouschet, the 2013 Three Valleys has lots of berry fruits, bramble, spice-box and licorice in its medium-bodied, supple, nicely textured and delicious profile. It doesn't have the structure or depth of the Lytton Spring, but it's a full-flavored, delicious wine to drink over the coming 7-8 years. This was a terrific set of wines from Ridge. The 2012 Bordeaux releases all have brilliant purity of fruit, with surprising freshness and focus. They’ll need short term cellaring t ...Read More »
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. Limerick Lane is now owned by the Bilbro family that has made Marietta Cellars such a successful wine producer. They took this once famous, then down-on-its-luck property, purchas ...Read More »
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The unfined, unfiltered 2012 Zinfandel Monte Rosso Vineyard Vinas Antiguas (815 cases produced) is a meaty, dark plum-colored wine exhibiting aromas of grilled steak and herbs. Peppery, spicy, full-bodied and rich with 15.5% natural alcohol, it cuts a broad, expansive swath across the palate. (RP)" (12/2014) Wine Spectator: "Dense and briary, with black raspberry, licorice and underbrush aromas and deep flavors of plum, mineral and cracked pepper. The tannins turn a bit rustic on the finish. (Web-2015) (TF)"
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The two Zinfandels among the current releases include the 2014 Zinfandel Paso Robles, which comes from the Benito Dusi Ranch. One hundred percent Zinfandel tipping the scales at 14.4%, this straightforward, dark ruby-colored Zinfandel offers briary, spicy, easygoing strawberry and black cherry fruit. It is medium-bodied, cleanly made, and best drunk over the next 4-5 years. (RP)" (8/2016) K&L Notes: 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 a... 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)
90 points Connoisseurs Guide: "Spot on in its varietal precision and a nicely managed wine in every respect, Dashe's appellation bottling from the Dry Creek Valley is everything that well-made Zinfandel should be. There are others that can claim more potency and power just as there are some that are deeper and more complex, but this one gets the nod for its constancy, class and cohesion, and it is a flavorful, but never-too-pushy rendition that will drink splendidly with an especially wide range of foods over the next four or five years." (9/2016) 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valle ...Read More »
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 Connoisseurs Guide: "*Two Stars* Bright, buoyant, intensely fruity and absolutely unwavering in its keen varietal focus, this impressively extracted effort is long on substance and stuffing yet is very well-structured for the ample and very ripe wine that it is. It is supple to start and keeps heat nicely in check while showing a good bit of grippy, young back-palate tannins, and, if not inordinately rough at the finish, it is a Zinfandel that fully deserves age. It is so deep in fruit that it is certain to tempt hasty drinking, but this is serious wine to cellar away for an ...Read More »
For the last decade, Cline has farmed naturally and sustainably, avoiding chemical pesticides and fertilizers while using cover crops, sheep and other natural farming methods to maintain healthy vineyards. Sourced primarily from Cline's oldest Zinfandel vineyards in Oakley, which were planted over 100 years ago.
90 points Connoisseurs Guide: "*Good Value* Spot on in its varietal precision and a nicely managed wine in every respect, Dashe's appellation bottling from the Dry Creek Valley is everything that well-made Zinfandel should be. There are others that can claim more potency and power just as there are some that are deeper and more complex, but this one gets the nod for its constancy, class and cohesion, and it is a flavorful, but never-too-pushy rendition that will drink splendidly with an especially wide range of foods over the next four or five years." (9/2016) 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Zinfandel from Dr ...Read More »
Rod and Lynn Berglund carry the mantle for this historic Russian River Valley winery as it marches into its 50th year.