Wine & Travel

Snooth User: corskier

Looking for the best jammy, over the top Zinfandel (around Sonoma/Napa)

Posted by corskier, Aug 15, 2009.

The subject says it all. My wife, her parents and myself will be staying in Napa for a week starting Sunday. My Father in Law is in to that jammy, over-extracted style of zin. His favorite as of yet is Rombauer, but I thought I'd hop on here and see if anyone could point me in the direction of some others that have similar characteristics. Unfortunately, I don't feel like making the trip down to Turley or down around Lodi, so I was hoping someone knew of similar stuff around Napa or Dry Creek.

Also, not to hijack my own thread or anything, but if anyone in the industry happens to have some of the aforementioned style of Zin or Syrah, I'll be bringing down a couple of cases of the wine from the winery I work at.

Thanks in advance! I always get the best recommendations on Snooth!


Reply by h2w4, Aug 15, 2009.

Some good ones from Dry Creek are Mauritson and Rafanelli although Rafanelli does not have a tasting room, so that might not help. Seghesio has some nice ones as well, and Sausal in the Alexander Valley has some good "Old Vine" Zins.

Of course if I'm going to talk about Zins I also have to mention my own. Alexander Valley Vineyards has a Redemption Zin from Dry Creek. It's not quite as big as what you're describing, but still rather nice, and at a little higher price point we have an Alexander School "Old Vine" Zin from 50 year old vines.

Sorry, but I can't mention everyone else without throwing in a plug for my winery as well :)

Reply by syrahlover, Aug 16, 2009.

Tin Barn in Sonoma has a jammy zin.
For Napa Zins I would try Chase Cellars:
and Summit Lake Vineyards:

Reply by kylewolf, Aug 16, 2009.

I am not sure how close we are talking here, but over by St. Helena, there is Villa Mt. Eden. They produce a really big zin, 16.2% alc. dark earth tones with jam and dark fruits.

Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Aug 17, 2009.


Let me say that again - Gamba!

Reply by threerockwine, Aug 18, 2009.

Hi Corskier,
FYI we're working on the napazintrail project at the moment for all you lovers of Zin out there. The trailblazers are, from south to north, Robert Biale, Elyse Winery, Tres Sabores, Chase Cellars then over to the Silverado Trail to The Terraces and Titus Vineyards. And don't forget Brown Estate who are pouring currently at the Ma(i)sonry Tasting room at the north end of Yountville. Happy Zin hunting


Reply by PinotAholic, Oct 13, 2010.

Brochelle Zinfandel out of Paso Robles is very nice & jammy but not too sweet. Pairs great with food but also really approachable on it's own. I think it's in the $30 range.

Reply by outthere, Oct 13, 2010.

You could go to Ridge Lytton Springs tasting room and they would probably have some Ridge Paso Robles from the Dusi vineyard.

Then there is Bella in Dry Creek Valley

Armida has some very over extracted Zins and a real nice setting for their tasting room on Westside Rd.

Reply by Richard Foxall, Oct 18, 2010.

Bella and Mauritson make big wines, but they are structured and the Mauritson Rockpiles, to me, taste of earth, not jammy. Pezzi King is pretty big, but people are going away from that stuff.  Ravenswood is also, at least in the Old Vines, known for fairly jammy taste and higher, hotter alcohol levels.  Rombauer, which I don't much like, is jammy, in my recollection. 

Reply by napagirl68, Oct 20, 2010.

Foxall is correct... jammy is not Mauritson and Bella... they are well structured.   Look for a jammy, BIG wine from AMADOR county.. I have the most jammiest, huge, almost late harvest recommendation-  Karmere Winery

Many Amador and Lodi wines fit that bill, but it sounds like you want something in the Napa area...  the one I think of that is jammy and good is in Healdsburg, I think-  Seghesio  but I recommend a stop here...

I also recommend, as an apellation, Alexander Valley (for zins)-  Trentadue Winere  and Sausal  might be good options, but not sure if "jammy" enough... but fun to go tasting???

Sorry to not help more, but I do not think of Napa/Sonoma as producers in general of over the top, jammy zins... Amador, Lodi, YES.  Perhaps Cosentino in Napa is pouring some of its sister winery's wines (big zins from Lodi)? You'd have to call and ask.

Happy tasting!

Reply by Richard Foxall, Oct 20, 2010.

I concur with NG that Amador and Lodi--hot regions with little marine influence--make the jammier Zins. (Lodi makes good PetSir partly as a result, imho, and some areas of Amador are cooler because of the altitude, so these are generalizations.)  I also left that off my list because that's not where you are headed.  I noticed on GDP's notes on Zin that the Bella checked in at 14%--not very hot, and a pretty sure sign the fruit was not overripe and therefore not super jammy.  A lot of the Ridges check in at 15+ ABV (so do some Mauritson's but they can hold their heat with structure because they ripen more slowly in Rockpile because of Lake Sonoma's marine influence), some Ridges are close to 16, and many are grown in the flats and benchlands.  Plus they have Paso Robles sourced Zins that they will probably pour at the Sonoma County room and those are some of their biggest.  You could take your father there or Ravenswood first, then take him to Mauritson or Talty (esp b/c he cannot get those very easily) and let him see what a big, velvety, but structured Zin is like and he will thank you.  You don't have to give up all the fruit to get a more layered wine.  Also, he may want to split his Zin drinking into late harvest/dessert wines and food-friendly structured wines.  Zin can be done many ways, not all of them good, but the rewards of the best Zin are an underappreciated pleasure. 

Reply by Richard Foxall, Oct 20, 2010.

I also want to concur that jammy is not all or always bad.  But that's a topic for another time, along with the never ending bloviating (I mean that nicely, since I do it myself) on "Parkerization," the quest for points, terrroir, New World v. Old World (does that really mean anything if the chief loci of Parkerization are Bordeaux and the Southern Rhone? And doesn't everybody admit that a lot of the Southern Rhone wines were not just funky but dirty before "modernization?" ), and a lot of other stuff. Tell your dad I hope he enjoys his trip and tasty Zin of any stripe and learns a few fun things about wine. 

Reply by Richard Foxall, Oct 20, 2010.

Okay, I just got an email for WTSO describing Thumbprint Cellars Zin as "jammy."  ABV is less than 15%, but that's no reason it couldn't be jammy.  (And there is always a little inaccuracy to those numbers.)  They have a tasting room in Healdburg--I just checked.  Go for it.

Reply by dmcker, Oct 20, 2010.

Corskier, are you still around? And since your dad-in-law's trip was slated for August 2009, how did it go? Any interesting zins to report on from your side of this dialog?

Reply by Richard Foxall, Oct 20, 2010.

Oops.  I saw that this thread was live again and didn't even see when it was originally posted.  I could say these things are always a good resource, but of course people start new threads on the topic instead of searching for an old one.  Glad to see I was far from the first to re-animate the discussion, or I would feel even sillier.

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