Tasting Notes August 1, 2012

Okay, so perhaps a $16 dollar California Zinfandel is not a typical choice to bring to a party of New York wine snobs, half of whom were in the exclusive Master of Wine program.

Yet I brought this wine because it is a fabulous representation of what California has to offer and at the time, I was fresh from California and bursting with enthusiasm for my native grapes.

Later, I interviewed founder Joel Peterson and just recently received some samples of the Ravenswood County series including a 2009 Lodi Old Vine Zin, a 2009 Sonoma country Old Vine Zinfandel, and a 2010 Napa County Old Vine Zinfandel, still all around that same $16 price.

Yes, the alcohol of each is about 14.5, yet the flavors are quite balanced and sophisticated and when I blind tasted a friend, he thought it was old world (and yes, he actually passed the Advanced WSET tasting portion with Merit).

While I would not exactly go that far, this is an excellent example of Cali Zin at its best, with rich ripe fruit flavors and excellent balance. I like the lean, intense style.

I could not really make a call on my favorite … perhaps the 2009 Sonoma County with its 50 – 80 year old vines and flavors of black cherry, blueberry, and plum.

What’s also interesting is that from some quick internet research, this appears to be one of the few California wines that is a star in the UK, with many London wine shops offering it to their customers.

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