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Motto Wines Zinfandel Unabashed 2016
The winemakers at Motto set out to make a good wine, plain and simple. When their methods made them appear to push the boundaries and appear not as classic as other winemakers, they decided to embrace that perception and make it their motto.
To add texture to the wine yet also retain the varietal character and freshness, a combination of oak barrels and stainless-steel tanks to age the wine. The fermentation process is also done with the grapes separated by the lots they come from to allow each to evolve separately and reveal their true character. The wine produced from the separate lots is then blended together in different ratios for each vintage to present a classic dark and bold California wine with their distinct take.
The wine is beautiful and dark in the glass. The first aromas are explosions of bright and exciting fruit notes: cranberry, plum, and marionberry. Once the fruit subsides, soft leathery notes remove the fruity edge. On the palate, the fruit notes evolve into darker notes of raspberry and blackberry. The leather gives way to a soft oak spice and a dark chocolate note.
To pair with food, the winemaker recommends some of his favorites: grilled cheese, meatloaf, BBQ ribs, fried chicken, pulled pork sandwiches and spaghetti with meatballs
Dry Creek Heritage Zinfandel 2017
Dry Creek Vineyard was founded by David S. Stare in 1972 and was the first winery to be founded in Dry Creek Valley since Prohibition. David’s ambitious vision for the region led to its transformation from a small farming community to a well-known Sonoma wine region. The Dry Creek Valley AVA in Sonoma County has long been known for its intense and hearty Zinfandel wines which are crafted from the region’s many old vines and this has become an area of specialism for Dry Creek Vineyard.
In 1982 the estate’s vineyard manager, Duff Bevill, took cuttings from a pre-Prohibition Zinfandel vineyard near Geyserville. After many years of cultivating these young vines in 1997 the estate had succeeded in creating young vines that produced intense, concentrated grapes normally associated with very old vines. Their Heritage Zinfandel is the result of this lengthy research process and is composed of modest amounts of Petite Sirah and Carignane as well as the Zinfandel to add extra complexity.
The nose displays heady aromas of dark berries and sweet spices thanks to the 14 months of ageing in French oak, while the first sip reveals a full, smooth body with well-rounded tannins. The rich dark cherry and blackberry flavours are balanced by a subtle acidity which makes this a sensational pairing for beef stews or a prime steak served with fries.
Rombauer Vineyards Zinfandel 2017
A true emblem of American wine history, Zinfandel arrived in California during the Gold Rush and quickly developed a reputation for making delicious jammy reds. This classic big Zin from family-owned Rombauer Vineyards is made as a modern tribute to the grape that fueled the Golden State for so many decades.
To capture the pure varietal character of the Zinfandel, Rombauer insists on selecting grapes from California’s finest vineyards which include sites planted over 100 years ago in Napa Valley, El Dorado and Amador County. The family insists on using sustainable agricultural practices in the vineyard and the grapes for this wine are handpicked at night to ensure they arrive at the winery in perfect condition.
All this attention to detail creates a gorgeous Zinfandel with a tiny dash of Petite Sirah which exudes rich aromas of blackberries, dark plums and delicate touches of cloves and licorice from the 14 months of ageing in oak barrels. The robust dark fruit flavours, full body and ripe tannins make this an excellent partner for a summer barbecue or a hearty beef stew. Or for a real taste of America, try this big Zin with a classic hamburger and fries!
Caymus Zinfandel 2017
Made from grapes that benefit from the cooling effects of the Pacific and the warm sunshine give the perfect conditions for super ripe grapes with a high sugar content. The wine can be fermented into levels of alcohol in excess of 15%, which is approaching the upper limit of where fermentation occurs naturally. On the eye, the colour is a rich ruby.
On the palate, the flavours are in line with the nose. Dark fruit such as blackberry and blackcurrant are very prominent but a pleasant hint of chocolate and spice blend beautifully. It is a refreshingly fruit forward wine that has high alcohol and medium tannins, providing a lovely balance in the wine.
Seghesio Sonoma Zinfandel 2016
The Seghesio family began making wine in California in 1895 when Edoardo Seghesio planted Zinfandel vines in Alexander Valley. Over the intervening years the third generation of the family, Pete Seghesio and his cousin Ted Seghesio, established the estate as a top producer of Californian Zinfandel. Today the winery has 120 hectares of vineyards which are all farmed sustainably in the appellations of Dry Creek Valley, Alexander Valley and Russian River Valley.
The vines for this bottling come from estate vineyards in Dry Creek and Alexander Valley with careful management of yields to ensure excellent quality. The grapes are fermented in open and closed tanks and then aged in 70% American and 30% French oak barrels for 9 months.
On the nose there are powerful notes of crushed cherries, cassis and blackberry as well as hints of licorice, cigar box spice and woodsmoke. The first sip reveals a generous full body, smooth texture and ripe tannins with ample dark fruit flavours which linger long on the tongue. The robust flavour profile makes this a great partner for barbecued meats and steak, although it can also be kept in the cellar for another few years.
Grgich Hills Zinfandel 2015
Miljenko "Mike" Grgich occupies an honoured place amongst Napa’s top winemakers thanks to his work with Chateau Montelena in the 1970s. At the famous Judgement of Paris blind tasting competition the Chardonnay he had made for Chateau Montelena was selected as the finest white wine by the panel of French wine experts. This result was astounding since this Californian wine had beaten many of Burgundy’s finest white wines and proven that America could also produce exceptional wines.
Grgich Hills today has five exceptional vineyards which provide the fruit for all of its wines. To produce the best quality wines possible biodynamic and organic methods are used in the vineyards and in the winery there is a tradition of minimal intervention. This includes using indigenous yeasts for the fermentation and vinifying each lot separately to allow the terroir to shine through and inform their blending decisions.
The estate’s Zinfandel is sourced from the warmest of their vineyards in Calistoga and is co-fermented with a small amount of Petite Sirah to add extra complexity. The wine is then aged in large French oak casks to avoid overwhelming the varietal character. The result is a powerful yet balanced Zinfandel with ample dark fruit character and subtle spicy hints from the oak.