Dutton-Goldfield Zinfandel Russian River Valley Dutton Ranch Morelli Lane Vineyard 2008
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar Review Rated 91 Dark, bright red. Crushed berries, orange zest and licorice on the nose, with complementary oak. A pure and penetrating style of zinfandel, with juicy flavors of blackberry and spices. Not fleshy today but this very young and fresh wine should evolve nicely. Finishes firm but not hard, with a note of bitter chocolate and noteworthy persistence. Wine Tasting Notes This is a wine whose two most striking points are qualities not often seen together. First, it's got that pinpoint raspberry focus that's the essence of Morelli; but, simultaneously, also shows a fatness and sweetness on the finish that result from the warm fall and extra barrel time. In the nose, the frambois and caramel candy are classic Morelli Lane Zin. It follows in kind in the mouth with unctuous raspberry fruit, a bit of ginger spice and candied cherry. The bright acidity, and moderate alcohol enable the wine to hang together with enticing focus. Give this baby a bit of breathing time and it keeps coming on. Few Zins are as versatile with food as this one. It's especially amazing with pretty much anything off the grill, as well as with pasta in a spicy tomato sauce, or some parmesan or other hard cheese.
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Morelli Lane Vineyard is a tiny turn-of-the-century vineyard just outside Occidental - territory more typically devoted to Pinot Noir than Zinfandel. But this low-yielding dry-farmed vineyard produces intense yet elegant Zinfandels with moderate alcohol levels. The 2008 is still an infant, but it's already delicious. While the wine's label suggests that raspberry aromas are a classic Morelli feature, the nose in this tasting struck me more like perfumed liquified plums and sweet dark currants. In the mouth, wonderfully rich, balanced, and full of berry fruit and spiciness. Silky, refined, and almost Pinot-like texture and "low" alcohol keep it from overpowering food.