Zinfandel is one of the classic wines of California, where it has been popular since Gold Rush days. The red Zinfandel grape thrives in warm climate regions, most notably portions of the Central and Sonoma valleys. When fully ripe, Zinfandel grapes contain high amounts of sugar, which can be completely fermented to create a dry and fairly high-alcohol wine, or be left in part as a trace of residual sweetness.
Zinfandel wine made in the traditional fashion may be unoaked, easy-drinking and jammy, or oak-aged and full bodied. Old-vine versions can be particularly intense and rich. Expect flavors of black fruits and spice in all. The full flavors and bit of sweetness make Zinfandel a great match for grilled and barbecued meats, especially those cooked in sweet or tomato-based sauces.Despite its firm foothold in California, Zinfandel is thought to have originated in Croatia. Recent research determined that Primitivo, a grape long grown in Southern Italy to produce full-bodied and fruity red wines, is actually Zinfandel.
The Objective of this tasting is to assess three Zinfandels from different AVAs (regions) in Claifornia.
TYPE : Blind
- 2018 Muscadet Sévre & Maine, Sur Lie, Chateau du Jaunay, Loire
- 2016 Sobon Estate Reserve Zinfandel, Plymouth, California
- 2017 Macchia, Mischievous, Zinfandel, Old Vines, Lodi, California
- 2015 Ridge, Ponzo, Zinfandel, Russian River, Somoma County, California
- Mussels in white wine sauce
- Caprese Salad
- Penne with vegetables in tomato sauce
- Chicken Marsala
- Dessert and/or coffee
PRESENTERS: Jorge García-García, Orlando Reos
Mario Aguilar, Juan Luis Colaiacovo, Jorge García, Orlando Mason, Orlando Reos, Alfonso Sanchez, Jairo Sánchez, Ricardo Santiago, Peter Scherer
INFORMATION ON THE WINES
(All information obtained and condensed from several Internet articles.)
2018 Muscadet Sévre & Maine Sur Lie, Chateau du Jaunay, Loire
The Wine: Muscadet, Loire, France- What a bouquet! Vibrant aromas of lime, flowers, grapefruit, melon and fig in the bouquet. The palate follows the aromas with hints of red grapefruit and lime that finish with a refreshing crispness. Try it with raw oysters on the half shell.
Melon de Bourgogne (known simply as Melon in the United States) is the white grape synonymous with the Muscadet appellation in the western Loire Valley. The variety has naturally high acidity, but often struggles to achieve good concentration of flavor. The best wines show apple and citrus flavors, with underlying mineral notes. A saltiness can sometimes identified in the wine, suggestive of the region’s maritime geography.
The Winery: No information available for this winery
2016 Sobon Estate Reserve Zinfandel, Plymouth, California
The Wine: Winemaker Notes From Paul Sobon’s own hand-farmed sustainably grown 84 year-old vineyard come this classic Sierra Foothills Zin. Medium to full-bodied, bright garnet, with effusive, perfume aromatics. This silky, well integrated wine has laser beam fruit that literally explodes on the pallet. The flavors are reminiscent of fresh blueberries, wild blackberries and ripe summer plums with hints of toasty vanilla, anise and white pepper and a rich, elegant finish. Proportion and balance define this limited release. This rich, zesty offering is best enjoyed with spicy, heartier fare such as Hunan style beef, Texas style baby back ribs and lamb burger sliders with melted Gruyere cheese.Serve with ribs or lamb; or my favorite – Duck Confit. Blend: 90% Zinfandel, 10% Petite Sirah
The Winery: (From Wine.com) Shenandoah Vineyards in Plymouth, CA, was founded in 1977 by Shirley and Leon Sobon. They moved from Los Altos, California, where Leon was a Senior Scientist with the Lockheed Research Lab. Leon’s gift for home winemaking led him to leave Lockheed and begin a new career as a Winemaker. The selection of a winery site in the Shenandoah Valley of Amador County was well researched. Leon and Shirley moved to the old Steiner Ranch, outside Plymouth, CA, planted a vineyard, and converted the old stone garage to the Shenandoah Vineyards winery. Sobon Estate was formed with the purchase of the D’Agostini winery in 1989.
As the lower part of the greater Sierra Foothills appellation, Amador is roughly a plateau whose vineyards grow at 1,200 to 2,000 feet in elevation. It is 100 miles east of both San Francisco and Napa Valley. Most of its wineries are in the oak-studded rolling hillsides of Shenandoah Valley or east in Fiddletown, where elevations are slightly higher. Most Amador vines are planted in volcanic soils derived primarily from sandy clay loam and decomposed granite. Summer days are hot but nighttime temperatures typically drop 30 degrees and the humidity is low, making this an ideal environment for grape growing. Because there is adequate rain throughout the year and even snow in the winter, dry farming is possible.
Read more here: http://sobonwine.com/
2017 Macchia, Mischievous, Zinfandel, Old Vines, Lodi, California
The Wine: (From: Wine-Searcher) Lodi Appellation grows a wide variety of grapes, but Zinfandel is the undisputed King. It is not hard to find 50, 60, 70 even 100-year-old vineyards dotting the landscape. It is from these grapes that some of California’s Best Zinfandels are produced. This Mischievous blend uses multiple Old Vine Zinfandel vineyards that when combined, produce the classic, fruit-forward characteristics that are the centerpiece of all great Lodi wines. Just a touch of Petite Sirah adds structure, as well as, increasing its complexity. Aging in small oak barrels creates a soft vanilla finish making it a very food-friendly wine that can be enjoyed daily with everything from rich pasta to a juicy barbecued steak.
The Winery: Lodi AVA, part of the larger Central Valley wine region of California, is located directly east of San Francisco Bay between the cities of Sacramento and Stockton. The west of the region lies close to the edge of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, while its eastern boundary runs parallel with the Sierra Foothills. Although quite a distance from the coast (the Pacific lies 70 miles/115km to the west), Lodi is blessed with a more moderate, Mediterranean-style climate than might be expected for somewhere this far inland. This is thanks to the many rivers which run through the AVA and the creeks, estuaries and bays into which they flow.
The rivers are not the only factor keeping temperatures down in Lodi; topography plays a vital role too. While most areas of inland California are separated from the Pacific by California’s Coastal Ranges, Lodi is not. The Bay Area forms a significant gap which allows on-shore breezes to penetrate many miles inland. The Golden Gate (the narrow strait spanned by the eponymous bridge) is the funnel neck of this gap, and is famously characterized by stiff sea breezes and the fog they carry inland, up into the low-lying valleys east of San Francisco.Those parts of the region which are closer to the Delta are noticeably cooler, although most of Lodi enjoys warm days and is suited to the production of full-flavored red wines. Mineral-rich, free-draining, sandy clay soils help in the production of quality wines, not just the bulk wine common in the Central Valley.
Modern-day Lodi vineyards are planted with a classic make-up of California’s favourite varieties. Red Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot are complemented by Chardonnay, Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc. Although much less common, Petite Sirah, Cabernet Franc, Tempranillo, Graciano, Riesling and Albarino also appear in Lodi wines.
One of Lodi’s former stalwarts was the unusual Flame Tokay, otherwise known as Ahmeur bou Ahmeur. Of North African origin, this robust red variety had traditionally been used around Lodi to make fortified wines and brandy. There are no commercial plantings anymore.
Read more about here: https://www.macchiawines.com/home.html
2015 Ridge, Ponzo, Zinfandel, Russian River, Somoma County, California
The Wine: Winemaker Notes: Favorable spring weather helped set a full crop at the Ponzo vineyard. The temperate climate of the Russian River Valley typically delays harvest into October, but by early September the grapes were fully ripe. After a natural yeast fermentation, we chose the Old Vines block for its structure and the Front and Back blocks for their intense fruit and aromatics. This sumptuous zinfandel will be best over the next six years. Blend: 97% Zinfandel, 3% Petite Sirah
The Winery: (From: Wine.com) Ridge Vineyards is a Californian wine producer based in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Its flagship wine, Monte Bello, is a Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated Bordeaux blend known for delivering the complexity and elegance of Bordeaux wines, as well as typical California fruit intensity. This wine has earned numerous awards and accolades over the years.
While Ridge is best known for its Cabernet, it is also well known for its range of Zinfandel wines and Zinfandel-based blends, led by the Geyserville cuvée. Wines made from Petite Sirah, Carignan and a Grenache – Mataro blend also feature in the range, and Ridge has made a small amount of Chardonnay each vintage for many decades.
A standout region for its decidedly Californian take on Burgundian varieties, the Russian River Valley is named for the eponymous river that flows through it. While there are warm pockets of the AVA, it is mostly a cool-climate growing region thanks to breezes and fog from the nearby Pacific Ocean.
Chardonnay and Pinot Noir reign supreme in Russian River, with the best examples demonstrating a unique combination of richness and restraint. The cool weather makes Russian River an ideal AVA for sparkling wine production, utilizing the aforementioned varieties. Zinfandel also performs exceptionally well here. Within the Russian River Valley lie the smaller appellations of Chalk Hill and Green Valley. The former, farther from the ocean, is relatively warm, with a focus on red and white Bordeaux varieties. The latter is the coolest, foggiest parcel of the Russian River Valley and is responsible for outstanding Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Read more here: https://www.ridgewine.com/
VINOTABLES RATINGS FOR THIS TASTING:
View full evaluation here: 68 Summary of Tasting Scores