Wine Talk

Snooth User: VegasOenophile

Zin Choices for tasting

Posted by VegasOenophile, Sep 17, 2010.

I am hosting a Schreiner's Winers tasting Saturday and we're covering zins.  I was wondering what some Snooth favorites are.  I am looking to get 6-9 bottles from various areas and price ranges.  I already have a 2007 Plungerhead.  I was thinking something from Ridge?  Robert Biale?  Renwood, Ravenswood or Cosentino.  Thoughts?

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Replies

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Reply by dmcker, Sep 17, 2010.
  • Ridge Geyserville, Pagani Ranch, Lytton Springs (or Ponzo or Paso Robles): At least one Ridge should be included
  • Mauritson's Rockpile Cemetary or Dry Creek Valley are getting a log of good comments on these boards
  • Outpost, or Turley's Hayne are big options that get a lot of raves
  • Cakebread's Snow's Lake from Lake County is a nice curveball
  • T-Vine, Dashe and Saddleback have a number of offerings that warrant inclusion
  • Valdez Family and Robert Biale also have wines worth tasting
  • Etc., Etc. So many out there these days....

 

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Reply by napagirl68, Sep 17, 2010.

I HIGHLY second the vote for Mauritson's Rockpile Cemetary Zin.  Don't miss.  i also like most of Outpost's wines, but haven't tasted the one dmcker listed.  But I am sure it is great. 

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Reply by Tyler Worth, Sep 17, 2010.

You've got to have a Ridge for sure, and I guess you can't even think of Zin without thinking of Ravenswood or Renwood, so good idea there. 

Michael Pozzan makes a good one for the $15 price tag out of Oakville, but it's unlike any other Zin your likely to find, a very light, almost Pinot Noir - like expression of the varietal. Pretty cool.

Seemingly anything from Four Vines out of Paso Robles is very good to excellent, especially the ones a step above their Old Vines Cuvee in price.

Turley makes some excellent Zin out of Paso Robles (as dmcker mentioned), but much of it is pretty high priced and can require some aging, especially the Hayne, which comes from 100+ year old vines. Their lowest priced bottling will still offer excellent quality, but will be ready to drink now if you decide to go with a Turley.

Probably the most classic Paso Robles Zinfandel is Opolo's Moutain Zin. Absoluetly huge and jammy, with about 16+% alcohol content and tons of residual sugar. This one is a monster. It's a fun wine, but it's almost like candy.

And I agree with dmcker, Valdez makes an incredible Zinfandel out of the Dry Creek Valley. Try this wine and you may never go back to another Zin again. It's awesome. 

I'd say you've got some great choices already, and I think any one of these wines would fit in just fine. I hope this was helpful and good luck. 

PS. All this week I'm featuring Zinfandels from the Central Coast on my wine review site, if you'd like to check it out here's the link: http://whatsworthdrinking.com/

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Sep 17, 2010.

I think Turley is great stuff, but the prices can get insane.  But the best Zin period comes from Mauritson, imho.  Get more than one, because Clay Mauritson has teased the terroir out of individual blocks up in Rockpile in a way that is amazing.  I have said it elsewhere that his Cemetery Vineyard is the best Zin going, but you should compare to Westphall Ridge or another Rockpile specialty of his as well.  Talty, both the estate and the current Filice Connolly bottling, are also excellent, but you must contact the winery.  Ravenswood makes good wines, but try something from the Teldeschi vineyard--I think the Vintners Blend is a great deal in a daily drinker, but hardly a superstar. Bella, also in DCV, knocked my socks off, but I had no room in the car at that point and now I cannot remember which of the vineyards was my favorite.  I also had a Papapietro Perry the other week that held up well to the Turley we started with.  It was at my friend's house, so I cannot tell you more details. Seghesio is fairly mainstream, but offers a lot of good wines at different price points. Their basic offering, available for under $20 on occasion, has made WS's Top 100 on a couple occasions at least. One I haven't tried but have heard raves about is Scherrer's Old and Mature Vines.  I love his pinot, so if he has as deft a touch with his Zin--which fans say he does--it would certainly be something I would like to see at a tasting.  Again, have to contact the winery to find out where it's available.

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Reply by outthere, Sep 17, 2010.
  • You cannot have Calfornia Zinfandel tasting without a Carlisle - Papera is my favorite but any one of Mike Officers Zins will impress. Look here
  • Throw in an Orin Swift Prisoner for some entertainment.
  • Look for Bedrock. Bedrock Heirloom (Sonoma Valley), Lorenzo's Heirloom (DCV). The next great Old Vine Zinfandel producer - Outstanding QPR. Or order the 2009 Stellwagen directly from the winery.
  • Novy Family Vineyards - Winemaker is Adam Lee of Siduri PN fame.
  • Scherrer Mature Old Vines Zinfandel - Find some. You'll love it.
  • Turley Old Vine, Hayne, Dusi, take your pick.
  • Seghesio - Old Vine, San Lorenzo, Home Ranch, Somoma County non-VD blend. This producer knows Zinfandel and has quality efforts year in and year out.

How do we keep it down to 9?

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Reply by dmcker, Sep 17, 2010.

I think Ravenswood as currently incarnated is outclassed by this grouping in the posts above. However its new owners have made an effort to keep (at the lower end, anyway) prices down and distribute it well (even to Tokyo). If you do choose a Ravenswood, try to select a single-vineyard rather than regional bottling.

And if you're going to include a Ravenswood, you should throw in a Seghesio, too.

 

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Reply by dmcker, Sep 17, 2010.

Looks like Snooth is experimenting with new linkbait formats and has just put up a slideshow on Zins, under the Articles category. Unfortunately the info in the text accompanying the images is a bit skimpy.

 

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Reply by dmcker, Sep 17, 2010.

Vegas, judging from the notes accompanying that slideshow on Paso Robles zins (which I assume are from Greg), p.1 and p.7 certainly look to be well worth hunting down, though I've not had either....

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Reply by VegasOenophile, Sep 18, 2010.

I'll post results as always after the event with a recap.  Wines purchased.  It's to be:

Cline Ancient Vines 2008, Saldo 2008, Dashe 2007, Bonterra 2007, Rosenblum Rockpile 2005, Cigarzin 2007, Quivira 2007, Ravenswood Teldeschi 2005, Plungerhead 2007, Seghesio Sonoma County 2008, Ridge Lytton Springs 2006, Outpost 2005, Robert Biale Black Chicken 2006.  Maybes for extra bottles after- Blockheadia Sonoma County 2004 & Buehler 2005.  The least expensive Turley was $50, and I opted for the Dashe and Saldo instead.

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Reply by outthere, Sep 18, 2010.

I'll be interested to see your notes. The Outpost and Biale will represent Napa well. Which Dashe? Which Quivira?  Never had the Cigarzin - is that the Cosentino label? I would have thrown in a Paso label to give you some perspective. Nice mix though.

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Reply by VegasOenophile, Sep 18, 2010.

Paso is represented I believe

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Reply by outthere, Sep 18, 2010.

Paso is represented I believe

Me thinks that was the Turley you passed on. ;-). It's going to be fun either way.!

  • Cline Ancient Vines 2008 - Sonoma/Contra Costa
  • Saldo 2008 - Cali Blend
  • Dashe 2007 - Sonoma or Mendo Counties
  • Bonterra 2007 - Mendocino
  • Rosenblum Rockpile 2005 - DCV
  • Cigarzin 2007 - Cali Blend
  • Quivira 2007 - DCV
  • Ravenswood Teldeschi 2005 - DCV
  • Plungerhead 2007 - Lodi or DCV
  • Seghesio Sonoma County 2008 - Sonoma
  • Ridge Lytton Springs 2006 - Sonoma
  • Outpost 2005 - Napa
  • Robert Biale Black Chicken 2006 - Napa
  • Blockheadia Sonoma County 2004 - Napa, Mendo, DCV
  • Buehler 2005 - Napa
  • Dashe - Sonoma and Mendo
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Reply by napagirl68, Sep 19, 2010.

Throw in some Amador county for comparison... they make BIG zins... I have liked Shenandoah Valley's Paul's Zin.  Karmere winery makes zins that are almost late harvest.  Sobon 2008 "cougar hill" zin is also good.  Renwood Jack Rabbit is also good.

And I almost forgot (how could I?) LODI!  Don't ignore the Lodi wines, especially the zins.. fantastic.  Macchia, Micheal David and Van Ruiten all have fantastic offerings... as do many of the other wineries in that region.

Back in the late 90's when my friends and I were into Zins, we used to joke that a winery beginning with "R" was somehow a winner with zins- Ravenswood, Renwood, Ridge, Rancho Zabaco, Rosenblum, Rabbit Ridge... you get it.

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Reply by VegasOenophile, Sep 19, 2010.

I really liked Macchia!  Towbin James just missed the cut.  If Paso was passed up this time, that's too bad.  I did what I could for big well known zins and the "iffy" ones did surprisingly well.  Notes/recap to come soon.

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Sep 20, 2010.

Really too bad that Talty and Mauritson don't have the reach for you to buy them easily. Rosenblum Rockpile is good, but a pale second in Rockpile to almost anything that Mauritson makes.  Rosenblum sold the winery recently and I think his timing was good, because Dashe and his other protege JC have gone out on their own and Rosenblum is not getting the best grapes from Rockpile anymore.

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Reply by napagirl68, Sep 20, 2010.

Foxall- yes, just heard that the originals from Rosenblum were making wine under another label, and had a tasting room in Alameda near the old one... do you have a name?  Have you tasted their latest? 

I agree, back in the 90's, rosenblum offered wonderful wines, then not so good after the name was sold.:-(, Hence my comment being made back in the 90's...

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Reply by VegasOenophile, Sep 20, 2010.

Here's the forum posting for the night!  Enjoy.

Schreiner's Winers- It's like, totally gnarly to be living in zin!

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Sep 20, 2010.

Okay, the acolytes and former employees of Rosenblum that are making wine in the East Bay are JC (Jeff Cohn) and Dashe (Mike Dashe, who was at Ridge as Assistant Winemaker as well, I am told--and not an employee of Rosenblum).  They share a building just off 880 at the Oak Street exit (If you are northbound, Jackson Street if southbound or coming off of 980) in Oakland (not in/on Alameda).  Slightly different emphasis at each.  They did work out of Rosenblum for a while until they got their own place.  Now the Rosenblum won't be made at the Alameda facility any longer.  The tasting room will remain open, but I would expect that to end before too long.  The logic of making it on Alameda was cheap space, but having all that room for a tasting room alone doesn't really make sense, especially since Rosenblum's corporate masters will be selling through their distribution channels, probably almost entirely to big liquor chains, supermarkets and the like.

One of the former winemakers/enologists that JC and Dashe employed is Matt Smith, who makes terrific wine under his Blacksmith Cellars label.  His cab is terrific, and reasonably priced, but I think the star is his grenache-syrah blend.  For $18 dollars or less at WineMine, it's aging-worthy, but knocked my socks off when I tried the '06 about a year ago.  I bought the '07 this week and expect to get the '08 when it is available with the idea of doing a vertical tasting in a couple years. But I better find another bottle of the '06 so I don't lose patience and drink it first.

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Reply by napagirl68, Sep 21, 2010.

Great info, foxall!! 

Yes, I believe I was thinking of JC cellars (JC was winemaker at Rosenblum), and it looks like they share a building like you said.  When I looked up Mike Dashe, it appears he is still working with Bella Vineyards as well?  I *think* I tasted Bella at Sonoma tasting and like their wines very much.  I have to find my program with my notes to be sure....

Have you been to Irish Monkey Winery in Oakland?  A friend was just there.....

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Reply by Stephen Harvey, Sep 21, 2010.

Wow, Zin is such an American phenonema

So many of you are passionate about it so it looks like another wine learning journey pour moi

Not much Aussie Zin and you guessed it finding any of the ones you guys wax lyrical about is a challenge over here.  But nothing like a task to keep the mind fresh.

I liked the two oregon pinots [06 Argyle and 07 Scott Paul] i had for Greg's online tasting.  Chasing a local supplier who is trying to get hands on some Cali pinots.

Will keep Outthere and others list from this thread and try to track down a Zin or two, will keep you posted

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