1. Scherrer: It's probably been some 6-8 yrs since I've had FredScherrer's Zin. It nice to see he
hasn't skipped a beat in all those yrs. Classic spicy Zin at a fair price; much like DougNalle's Zins.
2. AngelVine: Owned by EdFus and named for his wife and two daughters originally ThreeAngelsWnry. Another wnry claimed ownership of that name, so Ed changed it to AngelVine.
I stumbled upon AngelVine because BobWood had visited w/ Ed in Carleton, OR and raved about the PetiteSirah ("slutty" was his descriptor). Say whot??? Oregon PetiteSirah??? That's something different. When I went to the WebSite (www.AngelVine.net) (note the .net....if you use .com, you get some sort of Spiritual/Physic Counselor out of Colorado named Marakai. If I'm gonna get Physic..it'll be w/ a btl of Zinfandel..not Marakai), I found that Ed's passion, in addition to his OR Pinot vnyd, includes WashState Zinfandel. That's something you don't see much of everyday. So I ordered up some to try, a dialog ensued, and Ed reached back into his library to include some of his sold out wines and previous releases as well. "For scientific purposes" was his statement/excuse!!
Primitivo and Zinfandel are, of course, the same grape variety, according to DNA. The Zin/Primitivo I've seen planted side-by-side in the vnyd certainly look different. Presumably clonal differences. There seems to be a preference in the vnyd for Primitivo as easier to grow and a more even ripener. The only opportuntiy I've had to taste Zin/Primitivo side-by-side are the ones from GeorgeHendry. The differences have not been particularly striking. So this lineup of AngelVine wines gave me a much thorough opportunity to compare Zin/Primitivo in the btl.
I asked Ed about his observations on the Zin/Primitivo differences:
In 2009 we bottled 2 separate wines - one 100% zinfandel and the other 100%
primitivo - from the same vineyard (Stonetree in the Wahluke Slope). The
differences between the wines is remarkable (note: the vines are young - 4th
leaf for both).
The Primitivo was picked on 9/16 @ brix = 26.5, pH 3.7
The Zin was picked on 9/21 @ brix = 25.2, pH = 3.7
The Primitivo is sleek, more red-fruited (and more fruit centric in
general), and is received by a wide audience because, I think, of its
"boisterous" yet "easy drinking" nature. Reminds me of years ago when I had
my first d'Arenberg Ironstone Pressings - a fruit explosion that makes you
stop and say, "Wow!".
The Zin is darker, dominated by black-fruit, subtle herb, has a smokey note
not found in our other WA zins (vineyard characteristic?), and seems more
reflective of the hot growing conditions at the site (a more masculine
Starting in 2012, we will source Primitivo from 3 sites (Wahluke Slope, HHH,
& Walla Walla) - for '11 we will only get from Wahluke Slope due to a Nov
freeze in HHH; Walla Walla fruit will be 3rd leaf in 2012).
We source Zinfandel from 4 sites (Wahluke Slope, HHH, Walla Walla, &
Columbia Valley-near the east mouth of the Gorge 7 miles east of The
Based on a total of 4 vintages of Primitivo sourced from 2 vineyards ('08 &
'10 were blends from 2 vineyards while '07, '09, & '11 will be from 1
vineyard only), the taste of our Primitivo seems to be less influenced by
site than Zinfandel (The Primitivo seems to taste more similar to each other
than Zinfandels from different vineyards do).
>From a winemaking perspective, Zinfandel clusters are generally a bit larger
than Primitivo but otherwise the vines & fruit are quite similar in
As a preliminary generalization, Primitivo makes the more open, big fruit
wine whereas the Zinfandels make a wine with more going on.
So...my take on WashState Zin & Primitivo: I found the differences between the Zins and the Primitivos to not be all that great, but more differences than in GeorgeHendry's pairings. The Primitivos had a bit more earthy character to them, a bit more of the base notes. A bit more characteristic of WashState reds and a bit less Calif-like; maybe displays the WashState terroir more so than the Zins. The Zins seemed a bit closer to their Calif counterparts than the Primitivos.
The WashState Zin/Primitivos seem, to my judgement, much like the WashState Syrahs vis a vis their Calif brethern. They show an earthy kind of terroir that you don't find much in Calif Zins. They don't have that vibrant/high-toned fruit that you often find in Calif Zin. As I tasted thru these Zins, I was searching thru my Calif data-base for what they resembled. If anything, they reminded me more of ElDorado or Calaveras or Placer cnty Zins than anything.
So...overall...I was rather impressed with Ed's WashState Zins. Well-made, interesting Zins at very attractive prices. They present us w/ an alternative rendition of what Zinfandel can be.
3. RockWall: This is, of course, the next re-incarnation of KentRosenblum. Winemaker is Shauna Rosenblum. Located on the Alameda NAS in a airplane repainting hanger w/ a great view of SFBay to the north and the BayBridge. Several other winemakers, including SteveEdmunds, make their wine here. Diageo, in its infinite wisdom, shut down the winemaking at the original RosenblumCllrs locomotive repair bldg, though I gather they still maintain a tasting room there.
The MonteRosso Zin was a bit over-the-top for my taste, perhaps harvested a too ripe a level. I tend to find MonteRosso Zins to have a rather lean/hard/tannic component that makes them not as attractive as some other Zins at an early age, but w/ lots of spicy character. This MR Zin did not show that character. Will be interesting to try MikeOfficer's rendition of MonteRosso.