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Bogle Old Vine Zinfandel 2016
The story of Bogle winery dates back to the 1870s when Civil War infantryman Captain AJ Boyle left his native Tennessee along with his nephew, Samuel, to make a new life in California. The family have been farmers in Clarksburg ever since and began growing grapes to sell to local wineries by the fourth generation. Today the estate is run by siblings Warren, Jody and Ryan who represent the sixth generation of the family to farm this land.
The trio are passionate about maintaining the estate in optimal condition to pass it on to the next generation of Bogles which is why they have pursued sustainable and environmentally-friendly approaches to winemaking. These include commitments to the California Rules for Sustainability requirements and achieving Certified Green status in the vineyard.
The family’s Old Vine Zinfandel is certain to please lovers of big bold reds thanks to the abundance of rich dark fruit flavours, firm tannins, and long finish. On the palate there is a generous full body, hints of cassis, oak and smoke seasoned with black pepper. The powerful flavour profile makes this a great match for red meats or a wine to be enjoyed on its own by the fireside.
Dry Creek Heritage Zinfandel 2016
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.
Ridge East Bench Zinfandel 2017
Best known for their now legendary Monte Bello Cabernet, Ridge Vineyards today enjoys a fantastic reputation for producing top quality Californian wines. The estate shot to fame following the 1976 "Judgment of Paris" tasting where top French wines were tasted blind alongside a selection of leading Californian wines. The judges placed Monte Bello fifth, ahead of several top French red wines, and helped to prove California’s tremendous potential for crafting fine wines.
Ridge Vineyards has been making the East Bench Zinfandel since 2006 with fruit sourced from a single vineyard site perched atop a bench land overlooking Dry Creek Valley. Each of the seven plots in the vineyard is vinified separately and then assessed with a blind tasting before the final blend is decided. The wine is then aged in American oak barrels for 12 months to harmonise the constituent elements and add subtle spiced notes.
On the nose there are hints of caramel, baking spice and intense dark plum while the first sip reveals a rich full body, smooth texture, and well-developed structure. This is a well-built red which will age gracefully over the next decade and can also be enjoyed now with hearty red meat dishes.
Cline Ancient Vines Zinfandel 2016
Established by Fred Cline in 1982, Cline Cellars was initially based in Oakley before moving in the 1990s to a 350-acre farm in Carneros Valley. Since then the family-run winery has specialised in producing delicious red wines crafted from Zinfandel and from Rhone varietals like Syrah and Mourvedre.
One key focus of the winery is sustainability and the estate is proud to be a Certified California Sustainable Vineyard and Winery. Highlights include building the largest solar-panelled winery in California and a flock of 2000 sheep and goats which are used instead of herbicides to remove weeds. The winery also provides raptor perches and owl boxes to encourage these natural predators to control pests like mice and gophers.
The family’s Ancient Vines Zinfandel is made with fruit from the estate’s oldest plots in Contra Costa County which are dry-farmed to ensure deliciously concentrated and intense flavours in the fruit. On the nose there are enticing crushed cassis and blackberry notes as well as cigar box spice from the 10 months of ageing in American oak barrels. The punchy flavour profile makes this ideal for pairing with rich beef stews or for keeping in the cellar for a few more years.
Ghost Pines Zinfandel 2016
Named after the mighty grey pines that dominate the landscapes of Northern California, Ghost Pines winery is inspired by this very special winemaking region and seeks to create wines that are authentic and express the unique qualities of this land. For this Zinfandel the winery carefully selects quality fruit from Sonoma and San Joaquin counties which are known for producing top quality Zin.
As soon as you pour out a glass of this bold Californian gem you’ll notice the deep inky red hue and enticing aromas of blackberries, cassis, blueberries and hints of toast and smoke. The first sip reveals a remarkably smooth texture and jammy dark berry and sweet spice flavours that linger long on the palate. The winery ages this Zinfandel in oak barrels for six months after the fermentation process is complete to add extra complexity and to fully integrate the different components from Sonoma and San Joaquin.
This full-throttle red is an ideal partner for smoky barbecued meats, hearty pasta dishes like Rigatoni Bolognese or even juicy marinated ribs. Thanks to the fruit-forward character of this delicious Zinfandel, it is also a great match for all types of charcuterie, roast pork, or a slow-cooked leg of lamb.
The Prisoner Wine Company Saldo Zinfandel 2017
The Prisoner Wine Company likes to do things differently. While so many are focused on specific vineyards as the source of good wines year after year, The PWC instead aim to simply find the best grapes they can find throughout Northern California. Saldo translates from Latin as “from here and there” which encapsulates this philosophy perfectly. Many of the vineyards that they source grapes from are the most historic, old-vine, dry-farmed vineyards in California.
When poured in the glass, the wine demonstrates a classic Zinfandel dark ruby hue. After a swirl, you smell traces of clove intermingled with ripe dark fruit: plums, blackberry and huckleberry. The entry on the palate reveals the plump voluptuous character of the wine. The dark fruit notes continue forward and are intermingled with a juicy acidity and dark chocolate covered cherry note that also picks up on the subtle vanilla spice that signals the finish. The wine is oak aged in a combination of French and American oak, with new oak only making up 25% of the barrels.
The dark chocolate notes would make it an incredible accompaniment to a dark molé sauce from Mexican cuisine, but the charred quality of grilled beef or lamb would also compliment the wine wonderfully.