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K&L Staff Recommendations
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 »
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 »
A very shy producing vineyard with soils of volcanic ash and boulders, this site produces old vine Zinfandel of immense proportions.
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)
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 »
93 points Vinous: "The 2014 Zinfandel Geyserville is just as beautiful from bottle as it was from barrel. Rich, textured and dense on the palate, the 2014 exudes depth, but in the mid-weight style of the year. The complexity of the Zinfandel-based field blend comes through in spades. The 2014 is creamy and persistent, but also graced with a mid-weight, finessed personality that is impossible to resist. In 2014, the Zinfandel is on the lower side relative to the recent past, with other grapes in the blend playing more important roles. (AG)" (7/2016) K&L Notes: From their estate in Alexa... Read More »
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.
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 »
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)
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 »
91 points Vinous: "Ridge's 2014 Zinfandel East Bench is a standout, especially considering its price. Brisk and wonderfully perfumed, the 2014 possesses striking aromatic presence to match its mid-weight personality. This is one of the more silky, refined Zinfandels readers will come across. I can't recommend it highly enough. At this stage, the East Bench has almost Pinot-like finesse. The East Bench is a great choice for by the case purchases, as one or two bottles won't nearly be enough. This is a rare 100% Zinfandel from Ridge, as the other Zinfandels in the range are ...Read More »
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 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 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)
Vinous: "The 2012 Zinfandel, from Ink Grade, is soft, floral and perfumed throughout. Sweet red cherry, mint and wild flowers are all knit together in a delicate lifted wine. Drink this fragrant, juicy Zinfandel over the next few years. (AG)" (10/2015) K&L Notes: Winery Tasting Notes: What a pleasure it is to release the 2012 Zinfandel from our own Ink Grade Vineyard. The wine is fresh and lively, as well as impeccably balanced — a stellar achievement by our winemaking team. The zesty aroma sets the stage for the supple elegance of this appealing Zinfandel. True to varietal ... Read More »
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)
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.
From the producer: "The nose reminds us of fall, with bright ripe cranberry notes, hints of forest, brown sugar, golden brown marshmallows, and cinnamon. This Zinfandel has a dominant presence right when it hits the front palate, which leads into a broad mid palate and enjoyable mouthwatering finish. The acidity perfectly balances out the bright fruit from the core and makes this wine perfect for food pairings or enjoying on its own."
Wine Spectator: "Rustic and briary, but complex in structure, with notes of black cherry, licorice and smoky herb. Drink now through 2023. 1,042 cases made." (6/2016)
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 Zinfandel has aromas of cherry cola and raspberry with hints of white pepper and vanilla oak. On the palate, bright red fruit flavors and acidity are followed by a juicy mid-palate and a soft, round mouth feel and a long finish."
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."
Inventory: Redwood City
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)
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 »
Inventory: Redwood City
94 points Wine & Spirits: "George Hendry once helped farm the Brandlin Ranch on Mount Veeder, where he took cuttings of the old-vine Zinfandel when the property was sold in 1995. He grafted that budwood onto St. George rootstock at his benchland vineyard west of Napa and north of the San Pablo Bay, where morning fog and offshore breezes in the afternoon help to cool the vines. This 2012 parallels the hearty depths of an old-vine Zin, the ripe sour-cherry flavors driven by alcohol but not heated by it, the tannins buzzing with energy. It’s brisk and bright, complex and joyous. ...Read More »
90 points Connoisseurs Guide: "*One Star* It’s young and it’s deep; it’s nicely focused on bright blackberry fruit and it’s tight but promising—and that is just in its mid-volume aromas. The tight aspect comes doubly into play in the mouth where tannin and acidity combine to add coarse, grabby impressions that interrupt the wine’s fairly likeable fruit and consign the wine to the cellar. Time is absolutely of the essence here, and given the remarkable Storybook Mountain track record with its Zins, we have nothing but full confidence in this one’s ability to reach great heights. ...Read More »
The Benito Dusi Ranch in Paso Robles is the only vineyard that Ridge uses south of the San Francisco Bay area. Originally planted by Sylvester and Caterina Dusi in 1923 after emigrating from Italy, these old vines produce phenomenal fruit. With excellent Zinfandel-growing temperatures and rocky soils, the Dusi Vineyard wines are known for their juicy bramble fruit and velvety tannins. According to the winery, these are wines that "consistently show deep, juicy bramble fruit on the palate, along with notes of black cherry, gravelly earth, and rich chocola... Read More »
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Zinfandel from the Russian River is another sexy wine, and one of their largest production cuvées of just under 2,000 cases. It finished at 14.6% alcohol and shows plenty of classic Mediterranean roasted herbs, pepper, spice and full-bodied blackberry and cherry fruit. It’s a classic Zinfandel, very pure, impressively crafted and should drink nicely for up to a decade. 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 »
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 »
Though the 2014 has yet to be professionally reviewed, the 2013 earned 91 points and praise from Wine Enthusiast: "The producer's most popular and widely made Zin has a loyal following, and this vintage merits further admiration, offering soft, plummy juiciness on the palate. Not over-oaked, it sparks with black pepper, finishing with elegance." (12/2015)
Double Gold Medal winner from the San Francisco Chronicle. From the winemaker: "Mountain Zinfandel is an aggressively fruity, dark, rich wine. Jammy aromas of raspberry and plum are balanced by floral lavender and violet. A lush, round mouth of plum and cherry flavors lead to a finish that is long and satisfying. This wine is bold enough to accompany spicy fare brilliantly - try it with spicy sausage like Andouille or Opolo's own Cevap Cici!"
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* This serious and concentrated wine has plenty of ripe fruit aromas and flavors, with a smooth texture, and lingering fruitiness on the finish. It resembles black plums and cloves in flavor, and has excellent balance and depth." (12/2015) Wine Spectator: "Offers zesty flavors of bright cherry, smoky herb and lots of cracked pepper. Packs in a lot of character. Drink now through 2018. 11,475 cases made." (6/2015)
Jeff Runquist banked 19 years making wine in California before opening his own winery. During that time, he developed close relationships with growers and is now able to source first-rate fruit for his own wines. His style is fruit-forward and velvety, and the Z-Massoni Zinfandel is no exception. Sourced from old vines and aged for 14 months in small barrels, it hums with rich flavors of black fruits, hazelnuts, and cocoa.
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)
93 points Connoisseurs Guide: "*Two Stars* Ravenswood's Old Hill bottlings are typically wines of great depth and structure, but they rarely charm when this young. While this one is indeed big, a bit tight and balanced to firmness with a very evident tannic spine, it shows inklings of early polish that makes us enthusiastic believers in its future. It is far from being anywhere near ready to drink, and it demands a minimum of another half-dozen years of age, but it teases with glimpses of layered complexity all the same, and its combination of structure and striking fruity depth is a ...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)
A popular tourist stop in the Dry Creek Valley due to its wine caves and highly-touted zinfandels, Bella champions the best that Sonoma County has to offer.
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 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)
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Cellar Selection* Grippy in wound-up black fruit and black pepper, this is a ripe, bright and softly layered wine, completely in keeping with its old-vine status in dusty, complex notes. Spicy cinnamon and leathery pepper combine on the lengthy finish. (VB)" (4/2016) 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "As for the more limited cuvées of Zinfandel, loads of briary black raspberry and black cherry fruit jump from the glass of the 2013 Zinfandel Old Vine. A medium-bodied, beautifully full and ripe Zinfandel, it is pure, rich, long, and just about everything one could ask for in a Sonoma Zinfand ...Read More »
90-92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2002 Zinfandel Juvenile (a blend of the vineyards’ younger vines) could easily be confused with a big, full-throttle, Grenache-based Cotes du Rhone from Chateauneuf du Pape or Rasteau. A big, earthy, peppery, licorice, cherry liqueur, and spice-scented perfume soars from the glass of this deep ruby-colored, fleshy, fat offering. Sumptuous on the palate, with high levels of glycerin as well as a silky texture, it’s a steal at $20 a bottle. (RP)" (12/2003) 90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Deep red-ruby. Aromas of raspberry syrup, cracked pepper and fruit cake. Sweet, sappy and lush, off ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
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)"
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 »
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)
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."
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 »
Wine Spectator: "Lively and light-footed, with appealing notes of fresh raspberry, anise and white pepper. Drink now through 2019." (6/2015)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 5,800-case cuvée 2013 Foxglove Zinfandel, which comes from Paso Robles, exhibits a medium-ruby color, hefty, full-bodied...sexy, briary and berry fruit, and a Pinot Noir-like lushness and sensitivity with virtually no oak in evidence. This is a well-made, stylish and seductive Zinfandel to drink over the next several years. (RP)" (10/2015) 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)