Wine Talk

Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz

Post your Zinfandel GTi notes here.

Posted by Gregory Dal Piaz, Mar 25, 2009.

I got a bit behind schedule as we moved on to Zinfandel this past Monday but I didn't have anything to add to this post to get things started.

Well I was able to change that yesterday but really only have a few impressions about a Zin or three sampled at the large trade tasting organized by Polaner yesterday here in New York..
First of the Outpost offerings where huge, balanced beauties with lots of sweet, spicy fruit. I was thrilled to see that Carlisle was also on offer with a big, round, boldly fruited Dry Creek Valley and a killer Montafi Vineyard that had amazing depth and complexity.

I also tried that italian sister of Zin, Primitivo and one in particular, from Cantina Cristiano Guttarolo stood out with it's great floral and spice aromatics and sweet, balsamic core of fruit.

More to follow from tomorrows PTP event but I just wanted to get the ball rolling here.

Zinfandel, and away we go!


Reply by Mike Pobega, Mar 25, 2009.

Outpost Zinfandel 2006 (SnoothRank: 4/5)
USA (March 2009)
This had a very admirable sweet fruit profile with some spiciness. A very nice balanced Zin with tons of character that does not bruise the palate or the senses. Wonderful red fruits. Very nice. 90/100 myRating 3.5/5

Reply by Philip James, Mar 29, 2009.

Tasted at a trade event last week at Hearth restaurant in NYC. Just writing the notes up now:

Trentadue Winery Sonoma County Zinfandel
"Very rich and fruity - this is really a thick, emollient wine. There's a nice spicy finish, on a decent wine - especially for the price."

I heard that Ridge uses their Zin grapes in their blends. Thought that was a nice seal of approval.

Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Mar 30, 2009.

Flight 1 - Sonoma

1- 2006 Kenwood Jack London Vineyard Sonoma Valley 14.5% $25
A decent bottle of Zin, nothing more nothing less.

2- 2005 Tiera Sonoma County 13.7% $15
Lovely pure, fresh fruit in a lighter style. But not too light it is zin after all!

3- 2005 Kunde Estate Sonoma Valley 14.6% $16
Absolutely a killer bottle of wine with great depth to the rich fruit and a great value!

Flight 2 - Within Sonoma

4- 2005 Carol Shelton Karma Zin Russian River Valley 14.8% $30
Rich and bright with nice wild berry fruit but also a very intense balsamic/pine note.

5- 2006 Sausal Private Reserve Alexander Valley 14.5% $18
Nice old vine fruit in a polished, earthy style.

6- 2006 Dashe Todd Brothers Alexander Valley 14.8% $30
Fleshy, youthful and intense yet with excellent balance.

Flight 3 - Amador County

7- 2007 Fiddletown Cellars Bent Bow Amador County 15.5% N/A
A fruit bomb, this is all about the intense fruit. Pow!

8- 2005 Folie a Deux Amador County 14.5% $18
Chocolately and richly fruited with a complex, mineral toned nose and french oak tones.

9- 2006 Four Vines Maverick Amador County 14.9% $20
Another fruit bomb with a bit more oak showing. Big and rich!

Flight 4 - Napa Valley

10- 2006 Neyers High Valley Vineyards Napa Valley 15.3% $30
Classy old school claret style Zin with finesse and elegance. Great stuff!

11- 2006 Frank Family Napa Valley 15% $30
A fruity wine showing a lot of polish but still bursting with boisterous fruit.

12- 2006 Howell Mountain Vineyards Black Sears Vineyard Napa Valley 15.5% $40
Dark, earthy and mean enough to beat the other wines up. Intense and yet not fruit driven. This one is worth laying down to see what happens.

If I'm gonna buy any I'm going for the Kunde and the Neyers. My kind of wines!

Reply by dmcker, Mar 30, 2009.

Does Neyers have a winery yet, or are they still borrowing others'? I've been a great fan of theirs over the years and almost never find myself disappointed, regardless of the varietal. They're obviously thought of well, since I've had their bottles at the French Laundry, Gary Danko and Chez Panisse....

Reply by dmcker, Mar 30, 2009.

Lazy me... all I had to do was go to
and that question about Neyers' winery was answered.
Haven't been to Napa in a few years and I do know that they were selling at a non-winery location and saying they still didn't have their own winery well into the first half of this decade...

Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Mar 31, 2009.

I was just returning to answer you after I read this post last night. It was too late to get into it but as you can see they have a great facility.

They continue to fly under the radar producing the style of wine that made Napa famous.

Reply by Derek67, Mar 31, 2009.

David Cofarro 2006 "My Zin" Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County

4/5: This is a dynamite DCV zin that is loaded with blackberry, cassis, earth and subtle spice. This guy can really make good wine. The blend is 76% zin, 12% petit sirah and 12% cab.

Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Apr 2, 2009.

Another round of zins to be tasted later today!

No love for Zinfandel on this board?

How sad as one of California's iconic grapes it should be better represented. Along with Petite Sirah and variously labeled field blends Zin really represents what the West coast wine industry cut it's teeth on. I'll soldier one tasting them and expect a midsummer grilling review of some lighter styles wines too!

Reply by dmcker, Apr 2, 2009.

I definitely like a good Zin from time to time, more than many other less-mainstream varietals like a Gewurtztraminer (which I'm only naming because of a recent forum thread about it and food). It's one of the wines I cut my teeth on growing up in California. The problem in Tokyo is they are very few and far between, and I have long since run through my personal stash of bottles brought back from Cali. Here I have to go 2/3 of the way across town to get at best a Ravenswood. I'm not really knocking Ravenswood, since I think (especially considering the options in this town ;-( ) that they offer good value for price. I just don't have the time right now to run across town during business hours. Personally, I was hoping to read some juicy reviews from everyone so that I could at least have some virtual Zin pleasure.

And unfortunately Zinfandel is the only Neyers wine I haven't had. Good to see they do it well, too. I suppose their flying under the radar is good for the knowledgeable consumer, since it keeps prices down.

Reply by vigna uva vino, Apr 4, 2009.

My tasting notes follow:

Flight 1: East of Napa

2007 7 Deadly Zins Lodi 14.5% $13
Medium to full bodied with aromas of smoked and raw meat, blood, vanilla and a grassy vegetal green-ness... contrasting on the palate with milk chocolate, juicy dark cherries, blackberries, red licorice, pepper and saddle.

2006 Terra d'Oro SHR field blend Amador County 14.5% $25
Pleasant aromas of lilac, violets, herbs and wood with flavors of blueberries, sour grape candy, red fruits with balanced tannins and a slowly fading finish.

2005 Berryessa Gap Yolo County 15.8% $16
Smoked meats again, dishwater, black and white pepper, ripe cherries jolly rancher, chemical aftertaste, harsh wood.

Flight 2: Old Vines

2006 Ravenswood Sonoma County Old Vines 15% $15
Still more smoked meats, rubber, white pepper, vanilla, sharp drying tannins, and wood.

2006 Rodney Strong Sonoma County Knotty Vines 14.8% $20
Immediately liked fresh floral aromas, fruit forward flavors with sweet ripe cherries, tongue numbing alcohol, red peppers and blueberries.

2006 Dry Creek Vineyard Sonoma County Old Vine 14.5% $25
Earthy aromas and full body are the foundation for the cool flavors of cherries, violet candy, and powdered perfumes.

Flight 3: Sonoma

2006 Valley of the Moon 14.5% $20
Smoked bacon and a thick, juiciness with an unfiltered look. Notes of blackberries and currants reveal nice acids and balanced tannins with a violet mildness.

2006 Simi Sonoma County 13.5% $20
Not too much happening here... mild chocolate with cherries, cassis, white pepper and hints of acetone.

2006 Four Vines The Sophisticate Sonoma County 14.8% $24
This one was a word association party: earthy aromas, mushrooms, spices, cinnamon, chocolate cherry candy, pepper, raspberry, dusty, red, minerality, refreshing, blueberries, blackberries.

Flight 4- Dry Creek

2006 Windsor Sonoma Dry Creek Valley 14.9% $24
A nose of tar with juicy chocolate berries, vanilla, black tea and smoke.

2004 Carol Shelton Maple Zin 14.9% $33
Wild mushrooms over mild aromas of red fruits and a palate of watermelon, perfume, chalk, candy and powder.

2007 Dashe Dry Creek Valley 14.7% $24
Muted floral aromas followed by an intensity on the palate. Rustic notes of blueberry pie a la mode, black pepper, cherries and grape jam.

Reply by Philip James, Apr 4, 2009.

Just a couple from last night - here goes:

Dry Creek Vineyards Somers Ranch Zinfandel 2006
"Fungal, meaty nose moving to a lot of acidity for a zinfandel. Its fruity, but thats dominated by an earthy, dirty flavor. Surprisingly tart on the finish." 3/5

Montevina Zinfandel Terra d'Oro 2006
"A hot alcoholic, yet intensely plummy nose. Its over 15% alcohol, so be warned. Literally dripping with ripe fruit - very rich and jammy throughout - lots of bright cherries, plums and blue berries. Hot again on the finish, but other than that really enjoyable." 4 /5

The big fruity in your face Montevina was my pick of the night.

Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Apr 6, 2009.

A wrap up of last week's tasting

Flight 1 - East of Napa

2005 Berryessa Gap Yolo County 15.8% $16.00
Ok so this was defective with high alcohol, residual sugar and volatility out the wazoo! I still liked it. Go figure?

2007 7 Deadly Zins Lodi 14.5% $13.00
This packs a pretty impressive punch way above it's pay grade. Not complex but rich and intense.

2006 Terra d’Oro SHR field blend Amador County 14.5% $25
This was a bit lean or admirably fresh depending on one's point of view. Solid and fresh let's say.

Flight 2 - Get us some young vines, these vines are “old”!

2006 Ravenswood Sonoma County Old Vines 15.0% $15.00
Passable but there are so many better options out there.

2006 Rodney Strong Sonoma County Knotty Vines 14.8% $20.00
All around solid utility player that doesn't surprise at all but doesn't let you down either.

2006 Dry Creek Vineyard Sonoma County Old Vine 14.5% $25.00
A little youthful but with a bit of time this will be a notch above the Rodney Strong, albeit in a similar mold.

Flight 3 - Sonoma

2006 Valley of the moon 14.5% $20.00
Uninspiring though popularly styled.

2006 Simi Sonoma County 13.5% $20.00
Low alcohol, gentle and a bit innocuous but not bad. I'ld drink a glass.

2006 Four Vines The Sophisticate Sonoma County 14.8% $24.00
POW. This is not subtle but I'll give them sophisticated. A piercing note of raspberry syrup and plenty of wood spice offers a lot of bang for the buck.

Flight 4 - Home to the Dry Creek Valley

2006 Windsor Sonoma Dry Creek Valley 14.9% $24.00
A simple, elegantly styled wine.

2004 Carol Shelton Maple Zin 14.9% $33
This is not for the shy. Packed with tannin and yet richly fruited this is a big, bad boy!

2007 Dashe Dry Creek Valley 14.7% $24
. Nothing is obvious yet the wine remains nervous and tense in the mouth with gobs of black grapy fruit. Give this 12 to 18 months for it to calm down and it should be great. Heck it's great now if you're in the mood for breakfast: toast, grape jelly, coffee cream...

And that about wraps things up on the Zin front.

Onto Grenache did I hear somebody say??

Back to Categories

Popular Topics

  • posts

Top Contributors This Month

259386 Snooth User: zufrieden
15 posts
1413489 Snooth User: dvogler
12 posts
472290 Snooth User: jackwerickson
10 posts


View All

Snooth Media Network