I for one am not afraid of a “crappy” vintage until the winemaker is telling me so. Too much of the information we receive comes secondhand, filtered through people looking to break a story. But the true story with wine is all about what’s in the bottle, and in the case of these current offerings, what’s in the bottle is decidedly attractive. It’s Zinfandel dammit—old vine field blends. Wines that should be able to tell you the story of their year, and wines that in general can’t sell for enough money to allow the winemaker to bring in a flying winemaker for a rewrite. I liked many of these wines for the stories they told. I understood them and recognized them as Zinfandel. After offering pleasure, that’s the second responsibility these wines have.

94 points

Bright and muscular on the nose, and filled with sumptuous aromas of dark fruit framed by  lightly smoky French oak and soil tones. Dense and a little chewy in the mouth, with super fine tannins supporting the herb-edged blackberry fruit. Possessing a very precise, firm, texture and great depth, this explodes on the huge finish packed with exceptionally pure wild berry fruit. 94 points
A really lovely intense nose that layers briar, bramble and sandy soil tones over fine strawberry fruit. The oak treatment here is obvious but nuanced, allowing the intense yet pure and fresh wild strawberry and black raspberry fruit to shine on the palate, gaining a layer of chocolate-covered orange slice complexity on the gorgeous, firm and almost austere finish. Really shows a lovely interplay of fruit and structure. Very classy. 94 points

Super powerful and intense on the nose, with dusty, oily, briary, super-focused essence of Zin berry fruit aromas. This shows great intensity without weight on the palate in a high acid, transparent style that reveals deep, old vineyard character and palate-staining intensity of spicy blackberry and red cherry fruit that shows wonderful persistence. 93 points
Tight with an early note of exotic grapefruit/passion fruit, accenting the red and blue fruit of the nose. This is medium light bodied and finely balanced, with a lovely texture that is almost supple but still shows good tension in the mouth. Red currant and subtle frutti del bosco flavors shine on the palate, with a nice streak of vanilla with a late-arriving wild blackberry note. The finish shows a bit of obvious oak, but that should integrate with time. This is rather refined, with lovely purity to the fruit, and such an intriguing, almost delicate texture. 93 points

Very pretty on the nose, with lovely subtle earthy complexity and an oily nuttiness, along with classic briary fruit. This shows nicely balanced structure that yields a balanced yet firm texture supporting very aromatic savory, briary, almost earthy fruit on the palate that turns slightly floral on the back end. The tannins here are quite refined, and along with the lovely acidity, this comes off as juicy, with tart fruit and excellent length. 93 points

Herbs and soil top light strawberry fruits on the nose. This offers up a lovely mouthfeel, smooth, with super fine-grained tannins supporting juicy flavors of cut plums and blackberry. The tannins build in the mouth and on to the moderately long finish, which shows gorgeous inner mouth perfumes. This needs some time, but is a really zesty wine with lovely depth of fruit. 93 points

Perfumed and deep on the nose, with aromas of crushed berries, balsamic, and a bit of gamy lamb topped with faint sage and lemon verbena notes. On entry, this is plump, with some density but not a ton of weight, delivering a a little blueberry fruit early on, followed by some carob, then mostly raspberry and hints of wild cherry fruit. This finished with fine tension and detail and remains bright and vibrant. 93 points

Balsamic and intense on the nose with a hint of ash accenting the cherry and briary wood aromas. Intense, round, and opulent on the palate, this displays lovely fine-grained ripe tannins that add a bit of volume in the mouth There’s an early  touch of inky fruit, followed by a rich core of slightly medicinal, minty black cherry fruit that exhibits lovely purity and finesse. The finish is long and ripe, with layers of blue and black fruit and well-judged wood spice on the long finish. 93 points