Wine of the Week: 2011 Klinker Brick Zinfandel Old Vine Marisa Vineyard

Every Thursday I feature a wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out.  My Wine Of The Week is the 2011 Klinker Brick Zinfandel Old Vine Marisa Vineyard.

The Winery

Klinker Brick Winery is a family winery owned by Steve and Lori Felten.  The Felten’s are fifth generation winegrowers.  Their daughter Farrah, who is the Tasting Room Manager represents the next generation.

The family’s entrée into the winemaking business wasn’t born of a desire to be winemakers. Rather, they walked through the proverbial winemaking door when they lost their contract to sell to Gallo in 1995.  After losing the Gallo contract they made wine for the bulk market because they had to do something with their fruit.

The Felten’s farm about 600 acres of vineyards, 250 of which are their estate vineyards.  Most of their vineyard are old vine Zinfandel ranging in age from 35 to over 100 years-old. The vineyards are head-trained and dry-farmed.  In addition to their Zinfandel vineyards the Felten’s also own a small 16 acre vineyard, named after their daughter Farrah, that is planted to Syrah.

“As far as vineyards go, we’re now concentrated on the eastern side (i.e. east of Hwy. 99) of Lodi, as far up as Clements.  I guess this is because it’s what I know best, and what I prefer.  The east side of Lodi has a drier climate; and although the sandy loam is pretty much the same as on the west side of the Mokelumne River AVA, the water table tends to be deeper and a soils a little more well-drained, and so we get a little more concentration and structure in our wines.  Vines that are less vigorous, producing fewer clusters and smaller berries, will give you that character, and this an important part of the Klinker Brick style.” – Steve Felten

The first wine they produced under their own label was the 2000 Klinker Brick Old Vine Zinfandel. That bottling remained their top seller. In 2001 they produced their first Farrah Syrah.  The began producing their best Zinfandel, called Old Ghost in 2003.

The Wine

Klinker Brick sources the fruit for this wine comes from an 86-year old vineyard on the east side of Lodi.  The vineyard has been farmed by the Felton family for over 30 years.  Half of the vines, which are grown in a beach-like sandy loam, are own-rooted, and the other half of grafted on to own rooted Tokay.

15.8% alcohol Retail – $35


My tasting notes follow:

Dark ruby color with intriguing dark fruit, roast coffee, spice, and a bit of eucalyptus aromas. On the palate its medium-bodied with surprising acidity, and dusty tannins. It shows baked blackberry, black raspberry, roast coffee, vanilla and baking spice flavors. Lingering sweet finish.

Rating: A-; A wonderful Zinfandel! I think is a wonderful example where looking solely at a wine’s alcohol level doesn’t do it just. Many would consider 15.8% alcohol to be high, but this wine doesn’t drink like it.

Pair with: Grilled or smoked Ahi Tuna or Pasta Bolognese
Ratings Key:
(A+) – 95-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 92-95/Outstanding
(A-) – 89-91/Very Good to Outstanding
(B+) – 86-88/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail

Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings. Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers! This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Copyright 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

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