May 1, 2012

NYC Wine Tasting Group, Cult Zinfandels, Braai South African Grill, NYC

2008 Unti Zinfandel (Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma)
This Zinfandel comes primarily from our Primitivo-clone vineyard planted next to the winery. We also use a small amount of Zinfandel from our 30 year-old head-pruned benchland block. We favor the Primitivo-clone because it tends to produce berries that are smaller with thicker skins versus typical Zinfandel selections. This leads to a richer wine with more tannin, which is usually found in old vine Zin. As always, we blend with Petite Sirah for color and body. We aged our Zin in French oak barrels, 25% new. Our 2008 Zinfandel really shows how strong vineyards can overcome adverse conditions. While this 2008 Zinfandel has a touch more dark fruit and is slightly lower in acid than our 2007, it is remarkably similar. This lush and rich wine has the structure to age, but I would drink it within 2 years to savor the fruit. Winery

2003 Vieux-Os Wines Zinfandel Ira Carter Vineyard (Napa Valley) 
A bigger version of the 2002 (undoubtedly due to lower yields in 2003), the 2003 Zinfandel Ira Carter Vineyard possesses a deeper ruby/purple color as well as additional notes of cherries and raspberries, and more body and depth. It is an elegant, pure, French-like interpretation of Zinfandel. Rated 88-91 The Wine Advocate

2008 Robert Biale Vineyards Zinfandel Black Chicken Vineyard (Napa Valley)
Speaking of the 2008 Zinfandel Black Chicken, it has a beautiful nose of sweet, jammy black cherries and raspberries, a dark ruby/purple-tinged color, and an expansive, medium to full-bodied mouthfeel as well as lots of heady glycerin. This full-throttle, lusty, delicious, silky-textured wine cascades over the palate with no hard edges. It should be drunk over the next 3-4 years. There is always a remarkable array of wines from Biale Vineyards. This family has been farming Zinfandel in Napa since 1937, and the wines consistently are among the highlights in my Zinfandel tastings. Rated 91 The Wine Advocate

2006 Valdez Family Zinfandel (Russian River Valley, Sonoma) Lancel Creek Vineyard
Dense, ripe and beautifully structured, with delightfully briary cherry and blueberry aromas and powerful yet still supple licorice, sage and cracked white pepper flavors that linger on the finish. Rated 93 Wine Spectator

2001 Martinelli Zinfandel Giuseppi & Luisa (Russian River Valley, Sonoma)
This top-flight winery has turned out a medium ruby-colored 2001 Zinfandel Guiseppe and Luisa (15.3% alcohol). Big, tangy, sweet aromas of black raspberries, cherries, and spice box are followed by a fleshy, medium to full-bodied offering with gorgeous purity, a lovely texture, and enough acidity to provide vibrancy and uplift. This is the freshest, most vigorous and vibrant of this trio. Rated 91 The Wine Advocate

2001 Martinelli Zinfandel Jackass Vineyard (Russian River Valley, Sonoma)
From the renowned Jackass Vineyard, the 2001 Zinfandel (a mere 14.9% alcohol, rather low for this vineyard) exhibits a dark plum/garnet color in addition to a complex nose of plums, figs, smoked game, sweet and sour cherries, black currants, and earth. Medium to full-bodied with surprisingly good acidity, it is, to date, the most elegant, well-delineated, vibrant Zinfandel made from this incredibly steep hillside vineyard. Rated 91 The Wine Advocate