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K&L Staff Recommendations
95 points Vinous: "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. Ridge ...Read More »
92 points Wine Spectator: "A lively, zesty red that offers bright cherry and tarragon aromas and sleekly layered flavors of briary raspberry, nutmeg and fresh-cracked black pepper. Drink now through 2021." (4/2015) 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. (RP)" (12/2014) Wine Enthusiast: "Made in large quantities, this is juicy and complex, offering soft, leathery layers of mocha and blackberry, with plenty of oomph and ...Read More »
94 points Vinous: "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 »
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 »
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 »
95 points Wine & Spirits: "The vines that grew this supremely elegant wine were planted in 1999 on the red volcanic loam of a hillside and benchland vineyard in the southeast corner of Alexander Valley. Douglas and Nancy Ousterhout purchased the vineyard in 2009 and hired a pinot noir winemaker, Micah Wirth of Joseph Jewel, to create this silky, delicate zin. It’s as bright as a red cherry fresh off the tree, feeling almost weightless on the palate. As the wine takes on air, the tannins provide an edgy minerality that focuses and amplifies the fruit into a sunny, ruby-red laser be ...Read More »
A very shy producing vineyard with soils of volcanic ash and boulders, this site produces old vine Zinfandel of immense proportions.
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
Inventory: Redwood City
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!
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 »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Zinfandel Old Vines is what Morgan Twain-Peterson calls “the gateway drug to Bedrock.” It is a cross-AVA blend of lots culled from his other wines and blended. The 2014 is largely Zinfandel, but with some obscure mixed black varietals thrown in for added complexity. It is an outstanding, full-throttle wine with a Mediterranean personality, with loads of Provençal herbs, briary black raspberry and black cherry fruits, dusty loaminess, a lush, full-bodied mouthfeel and dark ruby/purple-tinged color. (RP)" (10/2015)
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 »
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."
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 »
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 »
90 points Wine Spectator: "Appealing, with a rustic personality. Wild berry, underbrush and cracked pepper aromas combine with briary flavors of dried cherry, orange zest, bitter chocolate and licorice. The tannins sneak in on the finish." (4/2015) K&L Notes: Bambino is made from young Zinfandel vines, plus others, planted in the style of the historic Old Hill Ranch vineyard that was planted in the 1880s. With 81% Zinfandel, 9% Petite Sirah, 4% Alicante Bouschet, 6% Syrah, Grenache and Carignane, it's patterned after the field blends of old.
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!"
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 »
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.
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 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."
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 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 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 »
90 points Vinous: "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 »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
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 »
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."
91 points Vinous: "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 »
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 Spectator: "Lively and light-footed, with appealing notes of fresh raspberry, anise and white pepper. Drink now through 2019." (6/2015)
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)
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 »
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 »
93 points Vinous: "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 »
Inventory: Redwood City
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 »
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)
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 »
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 »
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 »
Wine Spectator: "A zesty red, modest in scale, with enough black cherry, spice and toasted herb flavors to stay interesting. Drink now through 2018." (6/2014) K&L Notes: With the aim of creating a "rowdy and rustic" Zin to drink by the campfire, Four Vines blends 78% Paso Robles old vine Zinfandel with Petite Sirah, Grenache, Primitivo and other red varietals, aging it in American and Hungarian oak for 14 months.