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K&L Staff Recommendations
92 points Wine Spectator: "A lively, zesty red that offers bright cherry and tarragon aromas and sleekly layered flavors of briary raspberry, nutmeg and fresh-cracked black pepper. Drink now through 2021." (12/2014) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Zinfandel Sonoma is an exuberant, richly fruity, medium-bodied effort displaying plenty of raspberry, blueberry and cherry fruit, 14.8% natural alcohol, and a lusty personality. It should drink well for several years." (12/2014) K&L Notes: Seghesio blends Alexander Valley and Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel into the Sonoma County, with loads of dark fruit supported by brambly fla... Read More »
With just over 2500 cases made of this delightful red, the winery notes that this is "a zesty blend from our three mountain vineyards at 1000 to 1700 ft overlooking Chiles Canyon. Dark cherry and raspberry flavors with tinges of bay leaf and clove. Accompanies wood grilled vegetables and marbled meats."
This is the second label for Amador County's Sobon Estate, and always a K&L fave for affordable, fruit-filled and balanced Zin. Their 2012 "Special Reserve" release adds a small amount of Syrah and Grenache, and the whole lot is aged in small barrels for nine months. Winemaker notes: "The wine is full bodied and only moderately tannic with beautiful structure and strong fruit. The flavors are complex, and the finish is long and satisfying. This wine is extremely versatile, light enough to accompany any lunch fare, yet a perfect companion to pastas, roast... Read More »
89 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "This is a beautiful Zinfandel and the good news is there are over 30,000 cases of it. Coming from three of Gallo’s top Zinfandel vineyards, Stephani, Frei Ranch and Chiotti, most of them in Dry Creek, this blend of 98% Zinfandel and 2% Petite Sirah tips the scales at a lofty 14.8% natural alcohol. The wine has a deep ruby color, and a seductive, peppery, meaty, Côte du Rhône-type nose revealing lavender and roasted herb characteristics. No hard edges are found in this medium to full-bodied, fleshy, nicely concentrated Zinfandel. Drink over the next 2-3 y ...Read More »
91 points Wine Spectator: "A zesty red, with briary cherry and sage aromas that lead to lively and layered flavors of wild berry, anise and smoky cracked pepper. Drink now through 2021." (1/2015)90 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2013 Old Vine Zinfandel is once again fabulous and one of the very best wines readers will find in its price range. Rich, powerful and explosive, the 2013 hits the palate with an array of dark red stone fruits, tobacco, menthol and licorice. The Old Vine Zinfandel comes from a smattering of sites, most of them in Sonoma Valley, Alexander Valley and the Russian River Valley. As always, t ...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 Wine & Spirits: "Brian Mahoney drew on four vineyards to make this delicious zin, the oldest, Saitone, planted in the 1890s and the youngest, BCD, planted in the 1990s; he raised the wine almost exclusively in older barrels. It’s cool and fragrant, firm yet silky, the flavors quiet but convincing, suggesting rose, dried strawberry and pink peppercorn. Its slow-building intensity calls for a plate of prosciutto." (12/2014) K&L Notes: From the winery: "The wine opens aromatically with enticing notes full of boysenberry and blackberry accentuated with hints of dust and violet. Dark red,... 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 »
A 100% Zinfandel bottling is somewhat unusual in this day and age when many producers prop up the red-fruited Zinfandel profile with the darker fruit and brawny structure of Petite Sirah. If blended haphazardly and without respect to the Zin, we can forget what Zin is actually supposed to taste like. This bottling from Joel Gott is 100% Zinfandel sourced from Mendocino, Sonoma, Lake County, Amador, and Lodi. It is a true snapshot of California varietal expression. The wine was aged in 25% new American oak before bottling. From the producer: "The 2012 Cal... Read More »
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 »
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 Enthusiast: "Red dusty berry cobbler marks the entry to this estate wine co-fermented with 2% Petite Sirah. Milk chocolate, nutmeg and clove play supporting roles in this otherwise bright, food-friendly wine with measured oak impact." (4/2015)
Connoisseurs Guide: "Quiet, yet noticeable elements of earth and bark sit just to the side in both the nominally fruity aromas and flavors of this one, and its varietal themes of dark berries are driven a bit sideways by their presence. The wine gets a little grippy and gruff at the finish, but it does not empty out and hangs on to a good sense of fruit to the end." (1/2015)
Inventory: Redwood City
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)
Wine & Spirits: "A potent zin with salty licorice and beetroot flavors, this is a direct, sanguine expression of Foothills minerality, with a floral edge that helps lift it out of the dirt. It’s an intense red for a flavorful cheese like Vella Dry Jack." (6/2014) Wine Enthusiast: "This is an amazing price for such quality, the wine resplendent in accessible red cherry and blackberry fruit and leathery tannins. Elegant and fairly restrained, it’s soft, structured and young, with room to develop further. Juicy and creamy, it delivers minty spice on the finish." (8/2014) Wine Spectator: "Sleek and crisp, with li ...Read More »
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "* Cellar Selection * Though already four years old, this blend of 77% Zinfandel and 23% Petite Sirah shows lots of promise for a long-lasting wine. Complicated aromas of tobacco and ripe boysenberries become sagebrush herbs on the palate, bolstered by blueberry and elderberry fruits. The tannic grip is still strong, so drink 2018–2028." (4/2015) K&L Notes: This is an exciting new Project from Steve McClean whose family has been greatly successful with growing and making wine from their estate Norman Vineyards in Paso Robles.
Wine Enthusiast: "Tobacco and boysenberry scents make for a pleasing if not complex nose on this wine from the Santa Margarita Ranch area on the southern part of the appellation. There are a lot of tannins, with expected flavors of blackberry and cedar." (2/2015) K&L Notes: Ancient Peaks is a family-owned estate winery that produces wine from a single site, the Margarita Vineyard, which was first planted to vines by Franciscan missionaries in 1774. Situated in the Santa Lucia Mountain Range, the Margarita Vineyard is the most southerly site within the Paso Robles appellation, where it... Read More »
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editor's Choice* A blend of five vineyards, some of which go into single-vineyard designates, this is a well made, structured wine, offering layers of black cherry and subtle earth around soft, velvety tannins. The finish highlights black pepper spice with dark chocolate chaser." (2/2015) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright, full red. Black raspberry, spices and black pepper are lifted by a floral note on the nose. Nicely delineated flavors of dark berries, pepper and spices display good cut and intensity and a welcome touch of sweetness. A bit unforgiving today, finishing with fi ...Read More »
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright, full red. Black raspberry, spices and black pepper are lifted by a floral note on the nose. Nicely delineated flavors of dark berries, pepper and spices display good cut and intensity and a welcome touch of sweetness. A bit unforgiving today, finishing with firm, dusty tannins and good spicy, chocolatey length. I'd give this another year in bottle before pulling the cork." (6/2014) Wine Spectator: "The raspberry and eucalyptus aromas lead to tightly wound cherry, herb and spicy loam flavors. The tannins arrive on the finish. Drink now through 2018." (4/2014)
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Zinfandel Russian River, their largest production cuvee (over 2,500 cases), was aged in 20% new French oak for nine months, then bottled unfined and unfiltered. It tips the scales at 15% alcohol. It exhibits an opaque blue/purple color along with plenty of briery, berry fruit intermixed with hints of incense, Christmas fruitcake and spice. This exuberant, richly fruity, full-bodied Zin can be drunk over the next 4-5 years. (RP)" (12/2013)90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Deep ruby. Smoke- and spice-accented dark berries on the fragrant nose. Shows brighter red fruits on the pa ...Read More »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Smoothly seductive in bright red-berry and pomegranate fruit, this young Zinfandel comes from mostly Dry Creek Valley vineyards. Rippling in baking spice and subtle vanilla oak, it’s a complete wine, with balanced acidity and mellowed tannins. Clean and long on the finish, it will complement rather than overpower a meal." (9/2014) Wine Spectator: "A zesty Zinfandel, with black cherry and smoky pepper aromas and appealing flavors of plum and anise." (9/2014) K&L Notes: Duckhorn Wine Company's excellent value Decoy Zinfandel is sourced mainly from Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma County, and w... Read More »
Wine Spectator: "Jammy and soft, with smoky black cherry aromas that lead to plum, spice and toasted herb flavors. Drink now through 2019. 4,300 cases made. –TF" (6/2014) K&L Notes: from the winery: "The grapes we choose for our Napa Valley Zinfandel are a mix of those off our estate vineyards and grapes from other select Napa Valley high quality, low-yielding vineyards. Dry-farmed for over 23 years, our 4.5 acre estate block consists of mature thirty-eight year old vines which typically give us around 2.5 tons/acre of beautiful hillside Zinfandel fruit. Interspersed among the hea... Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "Daryl Groom is making these wines from Livermore Valley vineyards mostly and the wine is no doubt big in every way-15.6% alcohol with big tannins and big black, spicy fruit flavors hiding in there at first. It definitely needs time to open. And a giant, slathered-in-sauce kind of steak or other red meat." (11/2011)
90 points Connoisseurs Guide: "*One Star* Here is a keenly fruity, exceptionally well-defined look at all of the things we like in a good Zinfandel, and, while it may not be the deepest or most complex example to be found, its precise themes of optimally ripened blackberries, its deftly placed oak and its fine sense of balance add up to a winning effort. It is full-bodied but never once drags its feet, and its integral acidity brings an easy sensation of brightness. It will age famously for upwards of five or six years by virtue of its exemplary proportion, but those for whom patience ...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!"
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.
Wine Enthusiast: "Woodenhead does Pinot Noir well, too, but here it shows its skill with Zinfandel, producing a structured, peppery and leathery version bright in briary blackberry and plum. With fierce minerality at its core, this is a distinctive Zin for those who prefer their wines savory and earthy." (8/2013) K&L Notes: Mendocino County is possibly the most overlooked source for Zinfandel in California, with long-established vineyards which deliver substantial and structured expressions. The Venturi family has owned this vineyard site since 1924 which sits just west of the Redwood... Read More »
Cline's Ancient Vines Zinfandel comes from 80- to 100-year-old vines planted in Contra Costa County. From the winery: "A deep purple color and luscious flavors of black cherry, strawberry, and dark chocolate lead to a medium finish. Accompany with slow cooked BBQ pork, chicken mole, or spinach mushroom casserole."
Wine Spectator: "Briary and rather rustic, with notes of wild berry, mint and loamy underbrush. Drink now through 2020." (6/2015) K&L Notes: Amador County is "Gold Country," but what's remarkable is the old vine Zinfandel vineyards that enterprising vintners like the folks at Four Vines continue to dig up in the Sierra Foothills. 90% Zinfandel, from vines aged 50 years and more, is blended with 10% Barbera, an up-and-coming specialty of the region.
Connoisseurs Guide: "* Good Value * Well-defined ripe-berry fruit is teamed with a nice mix of sweet oak and mildly briary spice in the nose here and carries forward as the dominant theme of the moderately deep, solidly varietal flavors that follow. The wine is just young enough to be a little rough at the edges, but service with food will help ease its way, as will a year or two of additional age." (5/2014) Wine Enthusiast: "Juicy and soft, this Zin is all about exuberant red fruit and restrained tannins. Full-bodied it also offers elegance with complex highlights of leather, cedar and peppery ...Read More »
Gardienne des Vignes is focused on old-vine Zinfandel and Petite Sirah vineyards. The Kirschnenmann vineyard was planted in 1915 to 95% Zinfandel and a remaining field blend of Carignan, Mondeuse, and Counoise. This vineyard is owned by Turley winemaker Tegan Passalacqua and very few wineries outside of Turley get access to the fruit from this site that is approaching its centenary.
Enkidu is a small, nearly under-the-radar outfit based in a warehouse south of the town of Sonoma, co-founded by career winemaker Phillip Staehle, that turns out big wines with concentration and individuality. The Old Vine field blend includes grapes from the 125-year-old Bedrock vineyard in the Sonoma Valley.
From the Winery; "The Dcubed Cellars 2006 Primitivo is the third vintage of this fun wine. The Primitivo comes from the Cypress Ranch in Pope Valley (the back-side of Howell Mountain). Primitivo a less vigorous clone of Zinfandel that is grown in Italy and pairs well with similar foods. Dcubed 2008 Napa Valley Primitivo has aromas of strawberries and wild blackberries with mushrooms and hints of black pepper. The medium full body has smooth tannins and flavors of berries, black pepper and earth, finishing with berries and a little bit of tannins as a pri... 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.
Inventory: San Francisco
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors’ Choice* A layered and spicy offering, this is mostly Zinfandel, with smaller amounts of Petite Sirah, Primitivo and Carignan. Soft and inviting, it opens with smoky notes of blackberry cobbler and black cherry. Elegant on the palate, with a balance of power, it finishes in black licorice and cardamom." (9/2015) Connoisseurs Guide: "*Good Value* 21% Petite Sirah. Spot on in focus with lots of generous fruit in its very sure grasp and showing a full varietal array of blackberries, briar and dusty soil spice throughout, the Heritage Vines bottling recalls the distant da ...Read More »
Recommended by the SF Chronicle: "Mike Barber's tribute to a classic Zin style hails from a biodynamically farmed field blend on Sonoma Mountain that includes Alicante Bouschet and Petite Sirah. It's on point in both style and name - there's a rowdy side to the tannins, so give it time. The cardamom and nutmeg spice will be winning as the fruit begins to shine in coming months." Mr. Beast from Barber Cellars is a small production, hand-picked, hand-sorted, co-fermented, unfined and unfiltered Zinfandel with small doses of Petite Sirah and Alicante Bousc... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
Opolo aims for a decadent, spicy, pomegranate, fig and cranberry flavored Zin, with jammy raspberry and savory butterscotch overtones, with plenty of vanilla, pepper, and cinnamon spice in between.
From the Winery; The Ranch is an 83-acre farm located in the El Pomar area of Templeton, which is within the Paso Robles American Viticulture Appellation (AVA). Following daily warm temperatures, the Ranch is cooled nightly by Pacific Ocean breezes flowing through the Templeton Gap. The 83 acre ranch was planted to 44.5 acres of wine grapes in 2008, with their first vintage release in 2010. In the Puglia region of Italy, Zinfandel is known as Primitivo, which could translate to original, wild, or even savage. What ever it means, the weather in Paso Roble... Read More »