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by Tom Hill

A self-admitted wine geek, Tom lives in Northern New Mexico and works as a computational physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory doing numerical neutron transport & large scale code development. He has been tasting wines since 1971, participates locally with a couple of large tasting groups in his area, and is practically a fixture at most California wine festivals, such as the Hospice du Rhône, Rhône Rangers, and ZAP. Other interests: Tom is heavily into competitive sport fencing (foil & epee), biking, cooking, basketball, skiing, backpacking, mountain climbing.

Mostly Zins - April 13, 2011

We tried last week (4/13/11) Mostly Zins:

  1. Dehlinger Zin GuadagniBrosVnyd/DCV (15.5%) 2009: Dark color; bright spicy/raspberry/Zin/ framboise/classic DCV Zin light pencilly/Dehlinger/oak slight alcoholic very attractive nose; fairly tart bright/very spicy/raspberry/DCV Zin light pencilly/oak bit tannic/alcoholic flavor; very long bright/Zin/ Zinberry/raspberry/very spicy light pencilly/oak finish w/ some tannins; needs 2-5 yrs; a lovely Zin along the style of Nalle/DryCreekVnyd' classic DCV Zin profile; nice to have TomDehlinger back in the Zin game. $24.50
  2. Carlisle Zin DryCreekVlly (15.2%; 62% RayTeldeschi/31% RichMounts LaLomaBlock vnyds; 375 cs; Drk: 2011-2017) 2009: Dark color; deep blackberry/Zin/spicy some RRV-like light toasty/oak very
    attractive nose; fairly tart some tannic bright/spicy/blackberry/raspberry/Zin light toasty/oak flavor;
    med.long strong spicy/blackberry/Zin/raspberry light toasty/oak bit tannic slight alcoholic finish; needs
      everal yrs yet; not the classic DCV Zinberry character and more like RRV than DCV; lovely Zin. $31.50
  3. Carlisle Zin SonomaCnty (15.2%; 16% PS; 370 cs; RossiRanch/MonteRosso/Ligenfelder vnyds; Drk: 2011-2015) 2009: Dark color; very attractive quite spicy/raspberry/Zin fragrant very light toasty/oak nose; softer fairly lush/spicy bright/spicy/raspberry/Zin light pencilly/oak flavor w/ light tannins; med.long bright/raspberry/Zin/spicy light toasty/oak finish w/ light tannins; a lovely good-drinking Zin at a great price; speaks more of DCV Zin than #2. $22.00
  4. Carlisle Zin BedrockVnyd/SonomaVlly (15.8%; 55 cs; Planted in 1888; 5% AlicanteBouschet; Drk: 2011-2015) 2009: Dark color; very spicy quite dusty/old-vine plummy/blackberry/Zin/Zin some pencilly/
    toasty/oak very slight alcoholic very perfumed/fragrant/aromatic nose; fairly tart slight hot/alcoholic very dusty/ OV plummy/blackberry/Zin/licorice/cola very spicy light earthy flavor w/ fair tannins; very long/lingering strong dusty/OV very perfumed/aromatic very spicy/blackberry/plummy/Zin/licorice light toasty/oak slight alcoholic finish w/ fair tannins; needs more age; wonderful spice & aromatics and strong dusty/OV character; beautiful Zin. $41.00
  5. Carlisle Zin MonteRossoVnyd/SonomaVlly (15.2%; 210 cs; Planted in 1986; 2.7 tons/acre; U/U;
    6% interplanted GrandNoir; Drk: 2011-2016) 2009
    : Very dark color; strong bright/raspberry/ blackberry/Zin very perfumed slight mineral/pungent/licorice some dusty/OV/herbal light toasty/oak lovely nose; fairly tart rather tannic/hard some dusty/OV very spicy/raspberry/Zin/blackberry some licorice/pungent some toasty/oak somewhat complex flavor; very long very spicy/bright/raspberry/ Zin/blackberry slight licorice/pungent some toasty/oak bit dusty/OV finish w/ rather hard tannins; really lovely bright/high-toned aromatics but definitely that tannic M-R edge on the palate; needs more age; one of the best young M-R Zins I've had. $42.00
  6. Turley Charbono TofanelliVnyd/NapaVlly (13.5%) 2009: Very dark color; strong grapey/floral/lilacs
    some earthy/peppery bit PS-like somewhat pungent/toasty/oak attractive nose; soft rather hard/tannic
    somewhat rough/coarse/rustic rather grapey/floral rather toasty/oak flavor; med.long soft fairly
    tannic/hard grapey/bit peppery/earthy toasty/oak finish; needs age; a rather rough/coarse/oafish  wine some like a PS. $33.00
  7. Carlisle Zin MontafiRanch/RRV (15.3%; 520cs; 83 yr old vines;0.38 tons/acre; 12% AlicanteBouschet/GrandNoir/PetiteSirah/Pelourson/PetiteBouschet/Bastardo + others; Drk: 2012-2019) 2009: Dark color; beautiful fragrant/perfumed very spicy/aromatic very light toasty/oak very strong blackberry/Zin/raspberry some dusty/OV fairly complex nose; tart somewhat hard/tannic very spicy/perfumed/raspberry/blackberry/Zin/black cherry cola slight dusty light toasty/oak flavor; very long/lingering very spicy/raspberry/blackberry/Zin some hard/tannic light toasty/oak finish; needs age; as an incredible spiciness and beautiful aromatics; killer Montafi. $41.50
  8. Carlisle Zin MartinelliRoadVnyd/RRV (15.8%; 340 cs; Planted in 1880's; Drk: 2011-2016) 2009: Very dark color; very intense blackberry/boysenberry/Zin/plummy/licorice/framboise very spicy classic RRV Zin light toasty/oak slight alcoholic very fragrant/perfumed nose; slight softer rich/lush/mouthfilling intense blackberry/boysenberry/Zin/licorice fairly tannic light toasty/oak slight alcoholic very spicy/ complex flavor; very long/lingering lush/ripe intense blackberry/boysenberry/Zin/framboise/licorice light toasty/oak fairly tannic complex/perfumed finish; needs age; a beautiful/classic RRV Zin w/ very spicy aromatics; my favorite of these Carlisles. $41.50
  9. Turley Zin TofanelliVnyd/NapaVlly (15.8%) 2008: Med.dark color; rather strong pencilly/oak bit alcoholic/hot some spicy/Zin/raspberry bit simple nose; soft strong pencilly/oak some spicy/raspberry/Zin rather hot/alcoholic flavor; med. simple/raspberry/Zin strong pencilly/oak bit hot/alcoholic finish w/ modest tannins; a rather simple Zin that's not going to go much of anywhere; alcohol really shows. $38.00
  10. Turley Zin TofanelliVnyd/NapaVlly (15.7%) 2007: Dark color; much more spicy/Zin/raspberry/licorice strong pencilly/oak more lush/ripe/rich nose; soft smoother/rounder some hot/alcoholic light licorice rather spicy/Zin/raspberry flavor w/ light tannins; med. soft/lush strong pencilly/oak spicy/raspberry/Zin slight alcoholic finish w/ light tannins; more lush fruit & softer but nowhere near the Carlisles in character. $39.00
  11. JCCllrs Zin IronHillVnyd/SonomaVlly (15.3%; 180 cs) 2008: Very dark/black color; slightly reduced/
    sewer gas/pungent nose that clears to very intense blackberry/Zin/licorice/tarry/pungent/ ripe/ boysenberry some burnt/charred/toasty/oak slight herbal/ruhbarb quite interesting nose; hard/tannic pungent/tarry intense blackberry/boysenberry/DrPepper/licorice/tarry very strong toasty/charred/oak flavor; very long tannic/hard some reduced/pungent/tarry big/intense/blackberry/boysenberry/Zin/ DrPepper very charred/toasty/oak finish; needs much age; takes a big leap of faith to cellar this wine; hard to tell where it will end up but I guess it'll be pretty good/interesting. $35.00
  12. JCCllrs Zin SweetwaterSpringsVnyd/RRV (15.3%) 2008: Very dark/black color; intense blackberry/boysenberry/Zin/very ripe/chocolaty/jammy rather toasty/pungent/oak nose; soft very lush/jammy/boysenberry/blackberry/Zin/licorice/chocolaty some toasty/oak/charred somewhat tannic flavor; very long/lingering tannic intense boysenberry/blackberry/jammy/ripe Zin/ some toasty/oak w/ some tannins; much more a mainstream Zin than IronHill; lots of ripeness but good structure; should age well. $35.00

    Ridge Zinarch 23, 201
And the usual stuff from the BloodyPulpit:

1. JCCllrs: I've not had many of JeffCohn's Zins. I liked both of these quite a bit. Both on the ripe side but I think they have the structure to take them out 3-6 yrs. Both carry their alcohol very well & didn't show any hotness. The IronHill is a rather strange rendition of Zin and hard to guess what it'll end up like but I think it's worth the gamble.
2. Carlisle Zin: These are all the just-released Carlisle Zins. And a mighty fine bunch they be. My favorite of the bunch was the Martinelli, followed closely by the Montafi. The two SonomaVlly Zins I also liked a lot, but a bit less so. Typical of me to prefer the richer/lusher character of RRV Zin to SV Zin. Both are new vnyds for Mike. The Bedrock is, of course, the vnyd of Morgan Twain-Peterson. I'm delighted that Mike is able to get some of those grapes and they'll make interesting comparisons w/ the actual Bedrocks down the road.

I was particularly interested in trying Mike's first effort w/ the MonteRosso. This is a vnyd that I have trouble wrapping my arms around. Winemakers have a very/very high regard for this old vnyd. I find that many producers making Zin from M-R, the wines have pretty aromatics, not at all like SonomaVlly (obviously), but a quite hard/lean/tannic streak on the palate. They sometimes (mostly thinking Ravenswood here, somewhat Rosenblum) develop into beautiful wines with age, but seldom seem to shed that hard/tannic edge. They seem to lack the lushness that I like in my Zins. I was impressed w/ Mike's efforts w/ this first M-R Zin. Certainly that somewhat tannic edge was there on the palate, but I thought is was tamed down from other people's versions. It may, down the road, be the best of the foursome. I'll have to try these again in 5-10 yrs. I don't have much experience w/ Zinfandel, so wouldn't hazard a guess which one will eventually become the best.
3. Alcohol: Certainly Mike's alcohol levels are up there. No apologies are necessary for that. I seldom find the alcohol in his Zins at all obvious. Back in the old days, by crackey (delivered w/ a loud cackle and a sound slap of the hand to the upper thigh, as only old guys can do), when you'd see Zins at 15%+ alcohol; it was regarded as a "Late Harvest" Zin. These were often accompained by very ripe/raisened/pruney aromas and flavors. In this day and age, I very/very seldom find those LateHarvest characteristics in Zin in the 15%-16% range. Not quite sure why that is.

I've decided to ask everybody who is tired & bored of this tedious discussion on alcohol levels in wines, mostly by wine writers/bloggers/Somms, to send me five cents....just five centavos. I will be a very rich man in no time. Time for these writers to find a new "topic de jour" methinks.


[Additional Wine Reviews from Tom Hill]


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