Since filing my report on the delicious 2013 Edmeades Mendocino Zinfandel, I’ve been checking out a few other Zins, and found two that really caught my fancy.
I’ve enjoyed several selections from the Terre Rouge/Easton lineup over the years, but, oddly, I’ve never posted any notes on them. Allan Bree aka califusa reviewed some of Bill Easton’s Terre Rouge selections for us back in his Rhone Ranger Tasting 2000 report, and Alan Kerr aka Canadian Zinfan had good things to say about the 2011 Easton Amador Zinfandel (a wine I recommended and sold LOTS of in my retail days), but by and large, these wines have not been given the attention they deserve in these pages, an oversight I plan to rectify in the coming months. I’ve never met Bill Easton, but we are “Facebook friends,” and I’m guessing we’d get along quite well, because not only am I a fan of his wines, we’ve also had friendly back-and-forths on more than just wine-related subjects on that social network site.
2009 Easton Zinfandel Fiddletown Rinaldi Vineyard Old Vines, 14.5% alc., $28.99: Clean and dark in color, with a pure, effusive Zinfandel nose, all spicy black raspberry; plenty more of the same on the palate, with enough earthiness underneath to make it more than just a fruit bowl kind o’ wine. Full bodied and well-structured for several years of further development. This one pushes the envelope for what I’ll tolerate in ripeness, but never crosses the line or goes over the top, thanks to that earthy anchor. I like this wine, and have no doubt that my partner in crime, Canadian Zinfan, will too, and I have another stashed to open with him the next time we get together. Aged in French oak. Find this wine
Robert Biale and his wines, on the other hand have gotten quite a bit of exposure in Gang of Pour, from Bree, Chef Kerr and yours truly. I’ve had the pleasure of sharing food, wine and conversation with Bob Biale, and you’d be hard pressed to find a finer gentleman. It had been quite a while since I’d had a Biale wine of any kind, however, and the Black Chicken Zin had always been one of his best, so I figured it was time to find out if the quality has remained as high as it had been.
2013 Robert Biale Vineyards Napa Zinfandel Black Chicken, 15% alc., $41.99: Deep and dark in color, exuding a pure Zin nose, rich and expressive; big and powerful in the mouth, and very tight when first poured, with huge structure that needs several years of cellaring. So impressive and so very primary, with big, earthy plum, blackberry and black raspberry flavors and aromas. If you can’t wait and just have to open one of these now, give it a couple of hours in a decanter; otherwise, I wouldn’t try one again until 2023. This one is good as Zinfandel gets. Tasted twice with consistent impressions. Find this wine
2014 Dry Creek Vineyard Heritage Sonoma Zinfandel, 76% Zinfandel, 20% Petite Sirah, 1% Primitivo, 1% Carignane, 14.5% alc., $19.99: Deep and dark in color, with a ripe blackberry nose, shaded with some subtle bramble/briar that follows through on the palate. Pretty ripe, just short of too much for my taste, and a little underlying earthiness helps tone that down some. Full bodied and somewhat sleek in character; structured for at least a few years in the cellar, but drinking well right now. Fairly priced for what’s in the bottle, this does what good Zin should do. Find this wine
And finally, I can always find room for Mr. Ridge in a Zinfandel report, even one that’s not “legal,” at “only” 65%. I thought the 2013 version I had last January could have been the best vintage I’ve ever had, and this current model might even be a little better; it’s certainly every bit as good.
2014 Ridge Sonoma Three Valleys, 65% Zinfandel, 17% Petite Sirah, 14% Carignane, 4% Grenache, 14.5% alc., $21.99: Deep, dark color; rich, dark and just a bit creamy in texture, mostly from the judiciously applied American oak regimen, and crafted in something like a claret style. There’s a rich core of black plum and black raspberry fruit here, but the wine is decidedly dry, with a solid earthy base, but as it opens, the fruit comes more and more to the fore. Sizeable, well-balanced and structured for a good five years or more. Give this yummy wine a few years in the cellar or some air if you want to drink it now. Find this wine
Reporting from Day-twah,