Wine of the Week; 2011 JC Cellars Dusi Vineyard Zinfandel

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.  For this week, my Wine of the Week is the 2011 JC Cellars Isabel Dusi Vineyard Zinfandel.

The Winery

JC Cellars (“JCC”) is an award-winning urban winery located in Oakland, CA.  Jeff Cohn is the winemaker and president. His wife Alexandra Cohn is the CFO. The winery was founded in 1997.

JCC is best known for their single vineyard Zinfandels, and Rhone blends. Their impressive portfolio of wines includes white and red Rhône blends, Syrah, Petite Sirah, a few other “red blends” (most notably, the Imposter and Smoke and Mirrors) Pinot Noir, a Rosé, a newly release single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, and a dessert wine. Annual production is about 5000 cases.

Jeff has access to some prime fruit, including renowned vineyards such as Rockpile in Sonoma, Stagecoach in Napa, and Dusi in Paso Robles. And Jeff certainly knows how to make great fruit into great wine. JCC has earned boatloads of 90+ point wines from major wine publications like Wine Spectator, and the Wine Advocate.

I think it’s fair to say Jeff likes to “tinker”, or as the JC Cellars website put it… Jeff fuses his passion for classic French winemaking with New World innovation”He released his first Pinot Noir last summer, and sells a Viognier that is a collaboration with a French winery –  Domaine François Villard of Condrieu.  As if his gig at JC Cellars/Jeff Cohn Wines weren’t enough, Jeff is also a consulting winemaker.

The Wine

The fruit for this wine is sourced from the Isable Dusi Vineyard in Paso Robles.  Here’s what Jeff says about the vineyard…..

The Isabel Dusi Vineyard sits along Highway 101 in Paso’s Templeton Gap – which means that is gets some cooling influence from the Pacific.  The vines here are 60 to 80 years old, dry farmed, the zin interrupted by an occasional vine of carignane.

Retail – $35; Alcohol – 15.5%; Drink now to 2019.

Wine of the Week; 2011 JC Cellars Isabel Dusi Vineyard Zinfandel

My tasting notes follow:

Garnet color with pleasing blackberry, black cherry, pepper, bramble, spice and a hint of smoke aromas. On the palate, it’s medium bodied, focused,  and well structured, with silky texture, supple well-integrated tannins and blackberry, black cherry, a bit of raspberry, and spice flavor with a delicious long finish. 

Rating: A-: This is an excellent example of how elegant Zinfandel can be!

Pair with:  Smoked baby back ribs!  But don’t stop there…try with smoked or barbecued chicken, Asian mahi mahi

Sample purchased for review

Ratings Key:
(A+) – 98-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 94-97/Outstanding
(A-) – 90-93/Excellent
(B+) – 86-89/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 Blog.com. Copyright 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

Wine of the Week; Sherman & Hooker’s Shebang Sixth Cuvée

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.  For this week, my Wine Of The Week is the Sherman & Hooker’s Shebang Sixth Cuvée.

I picked up this wine when I went to K&L Wine Merchants for a tasting last week. It’s been on my radar for a couple of years, but I’ve just now gotten around to it.   Here’s what K&L says about it…

Shebang is a project of Bedrock Wine Co.’s Morgan Twain-Peterson, who happens to be one of only 30 Masters of Wine in the United States and son of Ravenswood founder Joel Peterson. While Bedrock’s focus is on small-lot, single-vineyard expressions, Shebang is an exuberantly juicy, multi-vintage red blend with a lot of pedigree as well. The Sixth Cuvée is designated as an Old Vine Cuvée for the first time, as 92% of the fruit was sourced from vines more than 90 years old. This includes some declassified fruit from the 100+ year old Bedrock vineyard in Sonoma Valley, as well as other particularly fine old vineyard discoveries. The blend of the Sixth Cuvée is 60% Zinfandel with a primary balance of Carignan, Alicante Bouchet, Syrah, and other assorted old vine, field blend grapes. The wine was fermented on native yeasts, aged in French oak (15% new), and entirely made with the same attention that is given to Bedrock’s wines.

 

The wine was named after the two Civil War generals who founded Bedrock Vineyard in 1854. SRP = $11.99; 14.2% alcohol; 7,500 cases produced

photo (14)

My tasting notes follow:

Inky nearly opaque color with promising candied red fruit and a bit of pepper aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, and approaches off-dry, with soft tannins,  and pleasing black cherry, black raspberry, baked blackberry and spice flavors.  Medium finish.  

Rating: B+;  Killer value, and easily the best multi-vintage wine I’ve had! This is a wine I’ll be buy (much) more of, and you should too!

Pair with: Pulled pork sandwich, spaghetti, or pizza

Sample purchased for review

Ratings Key:

(A+) – 98-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 94-97/Outstanding
(A-) – 90-93/Excellent
(B+) – 86-89/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail
Other posts you might enjoy

__________________________________________________________________

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 Blog.com. Copyright 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

Recap of ZAP’s Zinfandel Experience Trade Tasting

I recently (ok – it was a couple of weeks ago) had the pleasure of attending the 2014 ZAP “Zinfandel Experience Trade and Media tasting, which was held at Rock Wall Wine Company.  It was my third consecutive year attending the event.  It’s hosted by the Zinfandel Advocates & Producers (“ZAP”), which billed the event as “All New”  because it was held at a new location and had a new format.

Another new thing about the event was that ZAP referred to it as an “experience” rather than a “festival” as it has been referred to in the past.

We chose to name the event Experience rather than Festival to carry forward the intention of our guests receiving a more interactive and significant, value-added opportunity from their participation

The pre-event Trade and Media tasting consisted of two parts – a Trade/Media Tasting Seminar, and the Trade/Media Tasting.  The main event was held Jan 23-25.

The seminar was held in the Geodesic Dome at Rock Wall.  And when I sat down at my table…

What to my heart’s delight did appear?

But six shiny wine glasses…filled with Bedrock, Carlisle and Turley my dear!!  To wit…

  • 2009 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel O Brother! Bedrock Vineyard
  • 2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Bedrock Heritage Wine
  • 2009 Carlisle Zinfandel Papera Ranch (N/A)
  • 2011 Carlisle Zinfandel Bedrock Vineyard (N/A)
  • 2009 Turley Zinfandel Zampatti Vineyard
  • 2011 Turley Zinfandel Rattlesnake Ridge

Note: my scores for each wine are may be found below in as all were among my favorites:

Yup..the ZAP folks could give a lesson or two on how to run a seminar – Sip some great wines while listening to three of the best winemakers California has to offer chop it up about all things Zinfandel!

The wines, which were essentially an ice-breaker, were from the 2009 and 2011 vintages and initially the discussion was around the differences between the two vintages.  But it quickly took off in a more interesting directions.

Recap of ZAP Zinfandel Experience Media/Trade Tasting

Photo by Martin Redmond

The official topic for the Trade Tasting Seminar was “Zinfandel’s Renaissance - California’s quintessential wine is growing beyond its cult status and entering the big time” (or as Tim Fish of the Wine Spectator, who expertly moderated the panel put it – “Taking it up a notch”.

The panel featured winemakers Morgan Twain-Peterson (Bedrock Wine Co.), Mike Officer (Carlisle Winery and Vineyards), and Tegan Passalacqua (Turley Wine Cellars).   .

Recap of ZAP Zinfandel Experience Trade/Media Tasting

Photo by Martin Redmond; L-R – Tegan Passalaqua, Mike Officer, Morgan Twain-Peterson, Tim Fish

A variety of topics were discussed including stuff you would expect winemakers to talk about like vintage variation, cooperage, alcohol levels, pH, and the importance of farming, but some of the more interesting takeaways for me were:

  • The importance of differentiating between grape growing and wine growing (preferred) for quality fruit
  • Vintage variation as a good thing because specific vintages can take us back to events, and milestones in our lives, and that’s part of what makes wines special for wine lovers – a bottle of wine can evoke memories of special times in our lives.
  • Zinfandel blends that include mixed black grapes make a more complete and complex wine
  • Zinfandel is getting better and better for a variety of reasons including 1.) the experience of winemakers with the grape, 2.) clonal selection

After the  seminar, which I thoroughly enjoyed, it was on to the tasting…

The tasting featured close to 100 wineries (and I’m sure there were even more on Saturday!).  It was a wonderful opportunity to explore (mostly) new releases, and chat with the winemakers about their wines.

By my count…there were nearly 250 wines available for tasting…Based on the sheer quantity of wines available, I decided to forego the detailed tasting notes this time around and simply score the wines. Doing so enabled me to taste more wines!

Initially, I targeted new (to me) wineries. That’s one of the best things about attending a big tasting like this, discovering new wineries you otherwise would not get a chance to taste.  Of course, that which meant skipping some perennial top-notch producers like Dashe Cellars, Jeff Cohn Cellars, Ridge and Seghesio. But I always find some time at the end for “taster’s choice” so I can get taste some favorites that are just too good to pass up!

I tasted 67 wines, including many new (to me) wineries, several of which made my list of favorites.  My All-Stars (at least 3 wines I rated at least 90 points were Bedrock Wine Company, Brown Estate,  and Chase Cellars) My complete list  of my favorite wines ( rated at least 90 points)  follows:

  • 2011 Accademia dei Racemi Zinfandel Primitivo di Manduria Sinfarosa ($25) – 90
  • 2010 Ancient Oak Cellars Zinfandel Pagnano Vineyard ($32) – 90
  • 2009 J. Baldwin Wines Zinfandel Rattlesnake Ridge Vineyard (N/A) – 90
  • 2011 Beekeeper Cellars Zinfandel Madrone Spring ($65) – 92
  • 2009 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel O Brother! Bedrock Vineyard (N/A)- 91
  • 2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Bedrock Heritage Wine (N.A) - 92
  • 2012 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Old Vine ($25) – 91 
  • 2012 Bedrock Wine Co. Heritage Wine Evangelho Vineyard ($35) – 92
  • 2012 Bedrock Wine Co. Lorenzo’s Heritage ($45) – 93
  • 2012 Beltane Ranch Zinfandel ($44) – 90
  • 2012 Robert Biale Zinfandel R.W. Moore Vineyard ($50) – 92
  • 2012 Robert Biale Zinfandel Rocky Ridge ($50) – 93
  • 2012 Brown Estate Zinfandel Chiles Valley ($42) – 92
  • 2012 Brown Estate Chaos Theory ($40) – 91
  • 2012 Brown Estate Zinfandel Rosemary’s Block ($55) – 90
  • 2009 Carlisle Zinfandel Papera Ranch (N/A) - 92
  • 2011 Carlisle Zinfandel Bedrock Vineyard (N/A) - 91

photo 4 (2)

  • 2009 Chase Zinfandel Hayne Vineyard ($45) – 90
  • 2010 Chase Zinfandel Hayne Vineyard (($45) – 90
  • 2010 Chase Zinfandel Reserve Hayne Vineyard ($75) – 91
  • 2009 Deering Zinfandel ($42) – 90
  • 2011 Harney Lane Zinfandel Old Vine Lizzy James Vineyard ($35) – 90
  • 2011 Ottimino Zinfandel Ottimino Vineyard ($32)- 90
  • 2011 Ottimino Zinfandel Biglieri Vineyard ($34) – 91
  • 2010 Carol Shelton Wines Zinfandel Rocky Reserve Rockpile Ridge Vineyard ($35) – 90
  • 2009 Turley Zinfandel Zampatti Vineyard - 90
  • 2011 Turley Zinfandel Rattlesnake Ridge - 91

Conclusion

It was a great afternoon!  I enjoyed the new venue, and the event was well run. Both the seminar and of course the tasting were fantastic.

My take on the state of Zinfandel?  The quality of wines made from America’s heritage grape variety has never been better. Compared to prior tastings, I found more depth and sophistication across the board this year than in prior years.

Related posts you might like:

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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 Blog.com. Copyright 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

Wine of the Week; 2010 Woodenhead Zinfandel Leras Ranches Bertoli

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.  For this week, my Wine Of The Week is the 2010 Woodenhead Zinfandel Leras Ranches Bertoli.

The Winery

Woodenhead Vintners is owned by Nikolai Stez, and Zina Bower.  Nikolai grew up in the Russian River Valley, and was drawn to wine at an early age and began some home winemaking while still in college. His formal winemaking education consisted of attending the Horticulture and Viticulture program at Santa Rosa Junior College and attending a few classes at UC Davis. He began to seriously make garage wines in 1986 while being mentored at Williams Selyem.

He was assistant winemaker at Williams-Selyem before launching Woodenhead.  His domestic partner, Zina Bower, is equally passionate about wine, and is involved as well, handling the marketing and business side of Woodenhead. She also has a day job as business manager at Diamond Creek Vineyards in Napa Valley.

The name, “Woodenhead,” was a name given to Nicolai by an old girlfriend who thought that he was very stubborn 

In addition to Zinfandel, Woodenhead produces amazing Pinot Nori, a French Colombard, and a unique French Colombard based sparkling wine. They aspire Burgundian style wines with California fruit. They produce approximately 4,000 case of wine annually.

I’ve visited Woodenhead a couple of times.  I’ve always really enjoyed the wines and inevitably end up purchasing some bottles.  The tasting room is located on River Road in Santa Rosa and is perched on a small hill that overlooks the Russian River Valley.  I have fond memories on sitting on the patio, sipping their wonderful wines and taking in the glorious view.

The Wine

The fruit for this wine was sourced from  the  Leras Ranch.  The vineyard, originally owned by the Bertoli Family, was planted sometime between the late 30’s and early 40’s, making it approximately 70 years old (I’d say that qualifies as “old vine”!)  Nick Leras is the current owner and both farms and manages the vineyard.

The vineyard is head-trained and completely dry-farmed and the soil is primarily dark clay loam.

The wine is aged in French oak, and is bottled unfiltered and unfined.

photo (50)

My tasting notes follow:

Deep violet color with lifted intoxicating aromas of balsamic vinegar, oriental spice, and mixed dark fruits. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, and balanced with a supple mouth feel. It shows blackberry, black cherry, plum and spice flavors. Medium-long finish. SRP; $30; 15.2% alcohol; 172 cases produced

Rating: A-; A truly lovely Zin….that I heartily recommend!

Pair with: Pulled pork, lamb chops, or chicken mole!

Sample purchased for review

Ratings Key:

(A+) – 98-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 94-97/Outstanding
(A-) – 90-93/Excellent
(B+) – 86-89/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 Blog.com. Copyright 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

Wine of the Week; 2009 JC Cellars Iron Hill Zinfandel

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.  For this week, my Wine Of The Week is the 2009 JC Cellars Iron Hill Zinfandel.

The Winery

JC Cellars (“JCC”) is an award-winning urban winery located in Oakland, CA.  Jeff Cohn is the winemaker and president. His wife Alexandra Cohn is the CFO. The winery was founded in 1997.

JCC is best known for their single vineyard Zinfandels, and Rhone blends. Their impressive portfolio of wines includes white and red Rhône blends, Syrah, Petite Sirah, a few other “red blends” (most notably, the Imposter and Smoke and Mirrors) Pinot Noir, a Rosé, a newly release single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, and a dessert wine. Annual production is about 5000 cases.

Jeff has access to some prime fruit, including renowned vineyards such as Rockpile in Sonoma, Stagecoach in Napa, and Dusi in Paso Robles. And Jeff certainly knows how to make great fruit into great wine. JCC has earned boatloads of 90+ point wines from major wine publications like Wine Spectator, and the Wine Advocate.

I think it’s fair to say Jeff likes to “tinker”, or as the JC Cellars website put it… Jeff fuses his passion for classic French winemaking with New World innovation”He released his first Pinot Noir this summer, and sells a Viognier that is a collaboration with a French winery –  Domaine François Villard of Condrieu.  As if his gig at JC Cellars/Jeff Cohn Wines weren’t enough, Jeff is also a consulting winemaker.

The Wine

The fruit for this wine was sourced for the Iron Hill Vineyard in Sonoma Valley.  The vineyard is planted on volcanic rock,  with not much dirt to speak of, and a very large lavender patch right next to the vineyard.  It produces a Zinfandel that is distinctive and exotic that’s more in tune with Côte Rôtie in Northern Rhone than Sonoma.

 JC Cellars Iron Hill Zinfandel

My tasting notes follow:

Nearly opaque purple color with lifted lavender, leather, dark fruits, white pepper, and a bit of garrigue aromas. On the palate, it approaches full-bodied, and is fresh with a plush mouthfeel and layers of black raspberry, black cherry, blueberry, red currant and spice flavors. Medium long finish.  SRP-$35 |225 cases| 14.8% alcohol

Wine purchased for review

Rating: A-: An outstanding and exotic Zinfandel!  

Pair with: Brazilian Feijoada or Moroccan tajine

Ratings Key:

(A+) – 98-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 94-97/Outstanding
(A-) – 90-93/Excellent
(B+) – 86-89/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail

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 Blog.com. Copyright 2013 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

Wine of the Week: 2010 Carlisle Zinfandel Old Vines

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.  For this week, my Wine Of The Week is the 2010 Carlisle Zinfandel Old Vines.

Winery

Carlisle Winery & Vineyards is a small Sonoma County based winery  based in Santa Rosa. According their website they specialize in the..

…production of old-vine, vineyard designated Zinfandels and red Rhone varieties (Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Petite Sirah).

Mike Officer is the Owner/Winemaker.  He caught the wine “bug” early – at age 19 – when he tasted a late-harvest Riesling (It seems like we all start with sweet wines doesn’t it?) After graduating from college, he worked in software development for five years, but realized that was not his passion.  He knew the answer would involve wine, but he wasn’t sure in what capacity.

He decided to try winemaking,  starting with making 5 gallons of Zinfandel in his kitchen.  Some years later, he  and his wife Kendall found themselves making 300 cases of “garage” wine.  They decided to jump in with both feet and established Carlisle Winery & Vineyards in 1998.  They’ve focused on old-vine Zinfandel, and red Rhône blends, until the 2010 vintage, when they made their first white wines.

In addition to their own estate vineyard, they source grapes from Sonoma County, primarily the Russian River, and Dry Creek AVAs.  Officer always been a fan of old-vine vineyards.   In fact, of the 16 vineyard sources listed on their website, half ( Gold Mine RanchMartinelli Road VineyardMontafi RanchPagani Ranch VineyardPapera Ranch, Rossi Ranch Vineyard, Saitone Ranch, and Two Acres) are considered historic vineyards by the Historic Vineyard Society .

 The Wine

The fruit for this wine is sourced 50% from the Montafi Ranch vineyard, and 50% from the Carlisle Vineyard.  Under normal circumstances, Carlisle would have produced separate bottlings from each vineyard, but a late August heat spike damaged 80% of the crop.  Rather than making less of each bottling, Carlisle decided to blend the fruit from the two vineyards.

The Carlisle Vineyard was planted in 1927.  And the Montafi Ranch vineyard was planted in 1926. As was typical at the time, both vineyards are field blends consisting of predominantly Zinfandel, but also interspersed with other grape varieties like Petite Sirah, Alicante Bouschet, Syrah, and Grand Noir de la Calmette.

The wine was aged in 30% new french oak.  It was bottled unfiltered and unfined.

2010 Carlisle Russian River Old Vine Zinfandel

My tasting notes follow:

Opaque ruby color with lovely briary, perfumed kirsch, baked black and blue fruit, and baking spice aromas.  On the palate it’s approaches full-bodied, and is balanced and fresh with a supple mouth feel.  It shows an intense core of blackberry, blueberry, and cherry and black raspberry, and spice flavors. Long finish.  SRP – $45; 15.9% alcohol; 270 cases produced

Rating: A-: This is an outstanding Zinfandel

Pair with: A full-bodied wine such as this would pair well with robust dishes such as roast lamb, meat stews, hearty pastas, or barbequed dishes.  This Zinfandel is more food friendly than most because of its lively acidity!

Carlisle wines are available via a mailing list.  The mailing list is currently closed, but if you would like to be added to the waiting list, click here.  You may also >>Find this wine<<.

Sample purchased for review

Ratings Key:
(A+) – 98-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 94-97/Outstanding
(A-) – 90-93/Excellent
(B+) – 86-89/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail

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 Blog.com. Copyright 2013 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

Wine of the Week: 2010 Dashe Cellars Todd Brothers Zinfandel

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.  For this week, my Wine Of The Week is the 2010 Dashe Cellars Todd Brothers Zinfandel.

The Winery

Dashe Cellars, founded by Michael and Ann Dashe in 1996, is an urban winery located near Jack London Square in Oakland, CA. Michael Dashe is the Winemaker, and Anne Dashe is the General Manager. Between the two, they have 40-plus years experience in the wine business, including experience at some big-time wineries such as Ridge Vineyards, Far Niente, Chappellet, Schramsberg Wine Cellars in California; Château Lafite-Rothschild, Château La Dominique in France,and Cloudy Bay in New Zealand. The winery produces about 10,000 cases annually.

The Wine

The fruit for this wine is sourced from Todd Brothers Ranch in Alexander Valley.  The vineyard was planted in 1958. Fruit from the vineyard is sold exclusively to Dashe.

This is the thirteenth vintage that we’ve made wine from these great old vines grown in one of the best red-soil vineyards in Sonoma.

I’ve had the pleasure of visiting the vineyard, and it’s beautiful. The 50-year-old Zinfandel vines in the vineyard grow in bright red volcanic soil on steep hillsides in Geyserville.   Dashe also sources fruit for their Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petite Sirah from the Todd Brothers Ranch.

The grapes are fermented on native yeasts.  The wine was aged for 14 months in one-year-old or older French oak barrels.  It’s a blend of 97% Zinfandel, 3% Petite Sirah (both from the Todd Brothers Ranch)| 14.5% alcohol| SRP – $35| Cork closure

Dashe Todd Bros Zin 2010

My tasting notes follow:

Crimson,black color mixed black and red berry, spiced, bramble and cacao aromas. On the palate, medium-bodied, energetic, and well balanced with black cherry, raspberry, bittersweet chocolate and vanilla flavor. Long finish.

Rating:  A-:

Pair with: Grilled meats (try lamb), Pizza (a meat-lovers, or combination come to mind), or substantial pasta dishes with red sauce.

Related Posts:

Sample purchased for review 

Ratings Key:

(A+) – 98-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 94-97/Outstanding
(A-) – 90-93/Excellent
(B+) – 86-89/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail

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 Blog.com. Copyright 2013 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

Drink Pink….Rosé of the Week: 2012 Broc Cellars White Zinfandel Arrowhead Mtn

It’s that time of year… Yes, it’s Rosé season!. With that in mind, I’ve embarked upon a   series of weekly “Drink Pink!“ Rosé tastings.  This week’s Rosé is the 2012 Broc Cellars White Zinfandel Arrowhead Mtn.

Broc Cellars is an urban winery located in Berkeley, California.  The proprietor is Chris Brockway, who grew up on Omaha and attended the University of Nebraska where he majored in Philosophy.  After college, he worked in restaurants back home before moving to Seattle, Washington. That’s where he began to take an interest in wine. He decided to move to California to pursue a career in winemaking.  He took classes at UC Davis,  but transitioned to  Cal State Fresno where he  studied both winemaking and viticulture and earned his second degree in oenology in 2002.  Brockway was named the SF Chronicle’s Winemaker to Watch in 2012.

We are a ‘low wattage’ winery in the sense that we have very little modern equipment. Grapes are pitchforked whole-cluster into the fermenters, fermentation is allowed to happen spontaneously, all wines are basket pressed, with little/no sulphur used in our wines until bottling. True asphalt winemaking, in an urban winery.

Broc Cellars is a small operation (~2,000 cases/yr) located in a small “hole in the wall” facility west Berkeley.  Brockway is focused on using minimal-intervention techniques for his wines.  The wines are low-alcohol, high acid, low/integrated oak fermented on native yeasts.

I had the pleasure of visiting the winery a few months ago, and came away impressed by the wines.  I picked up this bottle of wine, and a few others including another Rosé previously featured in this series, the 2012 Santa Ynez Valley Rosé.

2012 Broc Cellars Zinfandel White Zinfandel Arrowhead Mtn

2012 Broc Cellars Zinfandel White Zinfandel Arrowhead Mtn

My tasting notes follow:

Pink grapefruit color with fresh cherry and nectarine skin aromas. On the palate, upon entry it’s between dry and off-dry, but on the back palate, it finishes dry. It shows medium-acid with slightly spiced strawberry, white peach, and a bit of nectarine flavors and a lengthy satisfying finish. $20 SRP| 12% alcohol

 

Rating:  A-: I never though I’d be saying this…but I love this Rosé of Zinfandel! It’s excellent and highly recommended!

Food pairing recommendation: Grilled Marinated Chicken Kebabs

Sample purchased for review 

Ratings Key:

(A+) – 98-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 94-97/Outstanding
(A-) – 90-93/Excellent
(B+) – 86-89/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail

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 Blog.com. Copyright 2013 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

Wine of the Week: 2010 Carlisle Sonoma Valley “Monte Rosso” Zinfandel

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.  For this week, my Wine Of The Week is the 2010 Carlisle Zinfandel Monte Rosso Vineyard.

Winery

Carlisle Winery & Vineyards is a small Sonoma County based winery  based in Santa Rosa. According their website they specialize in the..

…production of old-vine, vineyard designated Zinfandels and red Rhone varieties (Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Petite Sirah).

Mike Officer is the Owner/Winemaker.  He caught the wine “bug” early – at age 19 – when he tasted a late-harvest Riesling (It seems like we all start with sweet wines doesn’t it?) After graduating from college, he worked in software development for five years, but realized that was not his passion.  He knew the answer would involve wine, but he wasn’t sure in what capacity.

He decided to try winemaking,  starting with making 5 gallons of Zinfandel in his kitchen.  Some years later, he  and his wife Kendall found themselves making 300 cases of “garage” wine.  They decided to jump in with both feet and established Carlisle Winery & Vineyards in 1998.  They’ve focused on old-vine Zinfandel, and red Rhône blends, until the 2010 vintage, when they made their first white wines.

In addition to their own estate vineyard, they source grapes from Sonoma County, primarily the Russian River, and Dry Creek AVAs.  Officer always been a fan of old-vine vineyards.   In fact, of the 16 vineyard sources listed on their website, half ( Gold Mine RanchMartinelli Road VineyardMontafi RanchPagani Ranch VineyardPapera Ranch, Rossi Ranch Vineyard, Saitone Ranch, and Two Acres) are considered historic vineyards by the Historic Vineyard Society .

Carlisle wines are available via a mailing list.  The mailing list is currently closed, but if you would like to be added to the waiting list, click here.

The Wine

Fruit for this wine is from the legendary Monte Rosso Vineyard located in the Mayacamas Mountains. Monte Rosso has a reputation for producing wines of high acidity across all varieties (The vineyard is also planted to Cabernet Sauvignon) and producers. Wines are incredibly long lived.

The Monte Rosso Vineyard has a special place in my heart.  While a Zinfandel was my epiphany wine, it was Rosenblum Monte Rosso Zinfandel that blew my mind many moons ago. This one is better than that!

The wine is aged in 20% new French oak and bottle unfiltered, but given a light egg white fining to polish the mountain tannins.

2010 Carlisle Zinfandel Monte Rosso Vineyard

2010 Carlisle Zinfandel Monte Rosso Vineyard

My tasting notes follow:

Nearly opaque purple color with black fruit, bittersweet chocolate, earth, and slight roast meat aromas. On the palate, it’s full-bodied, but the mouthwatering acidity keeps it deftly balanced. It shows blackberry blueberry, black raspberry, mineral and a hint of bittersweet chocolate and a long finish 96% Zinfandel; 4% Grand Noir 15.8% alcohol; 410 cases produced

Rating: A-This is an outstanding Zinfandel! While it was a bit hot on the nose on day 1, that wasn’t the case on day 2.  Additionally, I made sure it was served at the appropriate temperature on day 2, and the heat wasn’t there. Perhaps a not so gentle reminder to serve reds at the appropriate temperature, especially as the weather warms up!

Pair with: A full-bodied wine such as this would pair well with robust dishes such as roast lamb, meat stews, hearty pastas, or barbequed dishes.  And this Zinfandel is more food friendly than most because of its lively acidity!

Sample purchased for review

Ratings Key:
(A+) – 98-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 94-97/Outstanding
(A-) – 90-93/Excellent
(B+) – 86-89/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail

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 Blog.com. Copyright 2013 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

Wine of the Week: 2011 Dashe Cellars Zinfandel Les Enfants Terribles, Heart Arrow Ranch

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. For this week, my Wine Of The Week is the 2011 Dashe Cellars Zinfandel Les Enfants Terribles, Heart Arrow Ranch

The Winery

Dashe Cellars, founded by Michael and Ann Dashe in 1996, is an urban winery located near Jack London Square in Oakland, CA. Michael Dashe is the Winemaker, and Anne Dashe is the General Manager. Between the two, they have 40-plus years experience in the wine business, including experience at some big-time wineries such as Ridge Vineyards, Far Niente, Chappellet, Schramsberg Wine Cellars in California; Château Lafite-Rothschild, Château La Dominique in France,and Cloudy Bay in New Zealand. The winery produces about 10,000 cases annually.

The Wine

This is the other wine in Dashe Cellars Les Enfants Terribles (the “Wild Children”) series (click here to see my review of the Les Enfants Grenache), which are wines made more in the Old World Style – lower alcohol, minimal intervention, and minimal oak influence.

This wine is made with 100% Zinfandel sourced from biodynamic farms (yep cows, chicken, fruits and veggies..the whole nine) in Mendocino County.  It was fermented on native yeasts, and aged in older French oak barrels, unfined and bottled with low SO2 levels.

Dashe Les Enfant Zinfandel 2011

My tasting notes follow:

Garnet color with earthy red fruits aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, fresh, silky smooth and balanced with cherry, raspberry, spice and mineral flavors.  Medium+ finish  

Rating: A-

This wine really shines at the table. I enjoyed it with Filipino Tapa (Bisteksilog – beef steak, fried rice and egg) and Filipino Barbecue Chicken with Java Rice. It was great with both dishes.

The Wine Geek Stuff:

  • Alcohol: 13.5% alcohol.
  • Closure: Cork.
  • AVA: > California> Mendocino
  • Varietal(s): 100% Zinfandel
  • Cooperage: 5 months in 100% older French Oak 500 Liter barrels
  • Retail: $24
  • Cases produced: 225
  • Ageability: Drink now, or hold for 5-7 years

Other Related Posts:

Wine purchased for review

Ratings Key:
(A+) – 98-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 94-97/Outstanding
(A-) – 90-93/Excellent
(B+) – 86-89/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail

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 Blog.com. Copyright 2013 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.