The Best of Zinfandel
An amazing line up of the very best Zinfandels
Dashe - One of the top producers of Zinfandel and a winery where the basic Dry Creek Valley Zin is as good or better than most premium bottlings. Just terrific wines, nervy and complex with great tension in the mouth and purity of flavor. These are among the most complete Zins in the marketplace with richness, freshness and structure that is rare to find with Zinfandel. While each of his three single vineyard Zins are uniquely distinctive his L’Enfant Terrible, harvested early and aged in foudre is one the most fun wines made in California. The only Zinfandel that really makes one think of Cru Beaujolais, supposedly a style of Zin popular in the past, this is joy in a bottle. Sadly the L’Enfant terrible Grenache might be even better. The late harvest Zin produced here is another standout and certainly among the best of it’s type.
This shows some carbonic aromas right off the bat followed by earthy black spiced black raspberry and cherry fruit. Just a superb texture, so bright, clear, fresh and precise with a little stemmy tannin adding some edginess to the slightly creamy black currant and wild red berry fruit. This is high toned and packed with red fruit, it’s light but not simple with a little stern tannin keeping everything focused right through the long finish. I’m not sure how one scores this since it’s such an atypical Zinfandel but for sheer pleasure I’ll give it 92pts.
Tight, earthy and pure on the nose with beautiful spice notes, a little peppery and licorice, and a gently smoky note adding savory detail to the core of cherry fruit. There’s almost a candied herb thing going on here. Light easy going, and all raspberry and strawberry fruit on entry supported by soft tannins and juicy acids lending this a silky smooth mouthfeel. Not a powerhouse, just supple and fresh Zinfandel with lovely spice notes on the moderately long finish. 90pts
Tight, shiny and black fruited on the nose with reticent buttered herb and inky, blue fruit aromas emerging from the glass. This is dark and muscular, rich with a balsamic framed core of black cherry and red currant fruit that already shows incredible purity. Already quite polished in the mouth this has lovey acids and some slightly chewy yet ripe tannins that drive the long, tight big black cherry juice flavors on the long finish. This is very young but already shows such brightness and vivid flavors. 92pts
Opening with a huge nose of crushed blackberry, green balsam spice notes, and gorgeous floral accents, this smells terrific. Complex earthy fruit greets the palate with a rich, firm texture to the evolving chocolatey, tart cherry flavors that get added lift from the herbal freshness here. There's almost a little chinato character here, complex, earthy and herbal along with layers of thyme, crushed flowers and red currant and raspberry fruit on the palate. One of the most vibrant and energetic Zins I've tasted recently.
This just has stunning purity of fruit with some power behind it, compelling complexity and superb cut on the palate. Just terrific Zinfandel. I’m always disappointed when I remember that this comes from relatively young vines. It’s a magical vineyard. 95pts
50 yo vines in Geyserville
Deep, earthy, and sharply mineral on the nose with crushed toasty black currant fruit, black raspberry fruit accented by notes of graham cracker and a little peppery spice. Deep and earthy in the mouth as well with real richness but a lean and firm character supported by super ripe tannins and fine, bright acidity. Upright in the mouth and structured like a skyscraper with lovely Zin berry fruit framed with brambly accents. Structured and powerful but superbly balance, with the structural framework just wrapped up in clear black cherry and black raspberry fruit. Unusual to find a wine with such height and breadth, yet one that is transparent in the mouth. 94pts
Deep, savory and mineral on the nose with slow to emerge notes of ink and carob. This smells old bony and dusty and firm, with a flourish of licorice and old books aromas. Lively and clear on the palate with boysenberry and citrus clementine, a little chocolate covered clementine flavors layered over a core of cedary, burnished cherry fruit. this grows in intensity in the mouth, sort of like a bouncing ball in reverse, gaining height and impact. Gaining chewy depth and power, and turning savory on the long finish, which shows excellent complexity with nuanced blue fruit and inky flavors on the long finish. Another wine with great cut but on sense the alcohol here as it adds a little sweetness to the palate. 93pts
This just explodes on the nose with dried fruit, sour plum, leathery, tobacco, and fresh crushed black fruit aromas that gain some lift from the VA here. Sweet enough but balanced, allowing the gorgeous blackberry, black raspberry and black cherry jam flavors to fill the mouth. The balance of fruit and acid here is spot on, the fruit is so perfectly ripe yet it retains lovely intensity and thrust without much puniness. There’s a subtle chocolate nuance on the long finish as well. Another terrific wine from Dashe and while sweeties are often too much for my palate this is in a very nice spot. 92pts