Santa Clara County

Much like Contra Costa County, Santa Clara County today is dominated by "bedroom communities" that, in this case, feed into the City of San Jose, but it wasn’t always this way. Not long ago, this was a rural area with easy access to the cities of San Jose, Oakland and San Francisco. This is a rugged region with a central valley hemmed in by hills and mountains. Historically, vines may have been planted on the valley floor, though as housing has replaced vines, winemakers have turned to the hills as potential vineyard sites.

2007 Guglielmo Santa Clara Valley Zinfandel Private Reserve, 14.4%

Very light on the nose and crisply red fruited, with notes of cranberry and red cherry dusted with white pepper, minerals, and a light vanilla top note. Smooth and slightly viscous in the mouth with a very easygoing character. This has some nice complexity with a slight edge of oxidation adding some nice development to the slightly minty red fruits. The tannins are barely noticeable yet the acidity is bright and refreshing. The finish is short and has nice tobacco tones accenting the strawberryish fruit.  84pts

Contra Costa County

Contra Costa County is directly east of the City of San Francisco, Oakland and across the San Pablo Bay from Marin County. While today the county is better known as a “bedroom community” for the city by the bay, there is a long history of winemaking here. Its proximity to the city coupled with the moderate climate and varied topography led to early success here. Some old vineyards remain producing wines that are similar to those produced in Lodi, which lies just to the east.

2008 Three Wines Co. Contra Costa County Zinfandel Evangehlo Vineyard, 15.2%
Intense and liquory on the nose with a deep, rich root vegetal underlay to the oak, framed by slightly jammy black cherry and wild blackberry fruit on the nose. This is intense and plush in the mouth. A very large wine that is seamless, dense but neither particularly chewy nor opaque. The fruit is supported by some serious tannins but it’s all in balance. Lovely boysenberry tones on the palate lead to a slightly plummier profile with a touch of black currant that leads to the long, jammy black currant and wood spice finish. A well-behaved bruiser of a wine. Not for everyone but very good for its type. 92pts

2008 Three Wines Co.  Contra Costa County Zinfandel Old Vines, 14.9%

Wooly and a bit wild on the nose with notes of peppery spice, forest floor, rich dark fruit, a hint of dried porcini and licorice over lightly medicinal, candied black cherry fruit. Big and rich but very well balanced on entry. This exhibits good depth and polish without being detail-less. The dark fruit is a bit plummy and framed, with chocolate and spice tones giving this a nice level of complexity. The finish is quite tannic and seems to show a bit of overextraction here as it finishes with a tactile feel to the slightly bitter earthy licorice tones. 87pts