2008 Maryhill Zinfandel

Round 7 of speed dating and we find the 2008 Maryhill Zinfandel from WA state on our table. I’m very familiar with Maryhill and absolutely love their Cab Francs. The Zin retails $17ish and you can find it in 28 states. On the nose spice, vanilla bean, pepper, blackberry, and chocolate. In the mouth I get more spice, lots of fruit, and great acidity.

Serve with your next Thanksgiving dinner.


Cubed Again

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Dcubed Cellars.

A couple weeks ago I told you about my first Zin from DCubed Cellars. I also told you a bit about the winery and the man behind it. I’m here now to confirm my initial suspicion: DCubed Cellars gets Zin. Just lovely, well thought through, balanced Zins seem to be emerging from this winery.  The 2008 DCubed Napa Valley Zinfandel retails for $27, has a real cork closure, and clocks in at 14.2% alcohol by volume.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) Generally, when my first note for the palate is “delish” you know you have a good thing going on.

2.) When my second note is “yum” you are certainly in for a treat.

3.) Give Napa Valley Zin a chance! I fell in love with Zin in the Dry Creek Valley, but Napa has great Zins to offer as well.

4.) DCubed Cellars has an awesome lineup and it is well worth your time to check them out.

On the nose I got spice, blackberry, black cherry, cream, herbs, sage, mint, black currant, earth, sage, and a little funk that I’d like to call cigar-y.  In the mouth I found black cherry, tart berries, tart fresh fruit, good acid, spice, chocolate, espresso, and vanilla. Overall I found the fruit to be juicy and fresh.



Getting Cubed

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the winery.

I connected with DCubed Cellars quite some time ago on Twitter. To be honest, I didn’t know that much about them until recently, but I’m totally hooked after reading the materials they sent with the wine. DCubed is owned and operated by Duane D. Dappen (get it?), who comes to his own project via a storied history as a wine maker for many esteemed Napa Estates including Grgich Hills and Frank Family.  DCubed produces mostly Zinfandel, but also some Petite Sirah (swoon) and Primitivo. You can taste and purchase the wines at Vintner’s Collective in Napa. First up for tasting for me was the 2008 DCubed Cellars Korte Ranch Napa Valley Zinfandel which has a real cork closure, retails for $32, and clocks in at 15.2% alcohol by volume.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) Whenever I have a Napa Valley Zinfandel I’m reminded again why I should drink more of them. The DCubed Korte Ranch is no exception.

2.) Don’t worry about the 15.2% alcohol content. You won’t even notice it, the wine is so well made. Wait, maybe you should worry because you would think it was much lower!

3.) BBQ season is here. This wine was made for BBQ.

4.) The Korte Ranch is drinking great now, but could easily take a couple years in your cellar as well

On the nose I got black fruit, bramble, dark berries, cedar, chocolate, spice, herbs, pepper, black cherry. I found the nose to be very perfumey and almost a little flowery. In the mouth I found black cherry, blackberry, raspberry, espresso, dark chocolate, and spice. The wine has great acidity and good tannins on the finish. The fruit is tart and fresh, with just hints of red fruit.

Time for Zin

Our warm weather disappeared. How disappointing. So to lift my spirits, I dug around in the basement for something bigger and red. Nothing like a bottle of Zin, my first red wine love, to brighten and warm up a day. Tonight I chose the 2007 Talty Filice Connolly Vineyards Zinfandel, which we picked up on our last trip out to Sonoma (the vineyard is in Napa though) in 2010. I paid around $35ish for this bottle, it has a real cork closure, and clocks in at 14.5% alcohol by volume.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) This bottle reminded me why I need to explore more Zins from Napa. I stick to Sonoma mostly, but Napa has many good offerings as well.

2.) Talty is a winery I’ll be keeping my eye on. Perhaps another visit next week is in order!

3.) There’s just something about your first (wine) love.

4.) This wine had all the black fruit and spice that made me head over heels for Zin in the first place, plus a nice hit of chocolate.

On the nose I found blackberry, black plum, spice, chocolate, black currants, black cherry, and cedar chest.  In the mouth I got black cherry, black currant, spices, pepper, chocolate, and other black fruit. Plenty of tannins on the finish made me think this could mellow in the basement for quite a bit longer. I have another bottle that I will let rest down there for another year or so.


A Little Port, Please

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the PR folks for the brand.

On a cold, blustery night, with a fire roaring in the wood stove, what could be better to cap off the evening than a glass of port?  Not much.  With daylight savings in full effect, the nights are long and dark, the only cure for which is a huge fire and a warm blanket.  Some red wine and a hearty stew helps as well.  On one such night we pulled out the NV Terra d’Oro Zinfandel Port.  The Terra d’Oro is a 375 mL bottle with a plug cork closure, clocking in at 19% alcohol by volume and retailing for around $18.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) Chocolate covered figs, currants, and blackberries in a glass make it a fabulous complement to homemade vanilla ice cream.

2.) Pour it directly on your ice cream or drink it on the side.

3.) It’s a fun dessert wine for the price point and would make a great companion to those rousing after-holiday dinner Pictionary tournaments.

4.) Everyone will have room for at least a small taste of this wine even after the turkey, mashed potatoes, rolls, green beans, sweet potatoes, pie…..

On the nose I got chocolate, spice, pepper, blackberry, fig, plum, sage, and chocolate syrup.  In the mouth I found blackberry pie, creamy vanilla, chocolate, chocolate syrup, fig, and currants.  Not too sweet, not too dry, this would be great as dessert or to complement the dessert course.

Loving on Russian River Zin

By my own admission, what lead me to a love of red wine was Zinfandel. Specifically Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel. Which, truly, I still love, adore, and consume with great frequency. However, after that initial lightbulb of “wow, I actually like red wine” went off, I quickly moved to anything and everything red under the sun. In doing so, I also learned an appreciation of what different AVAs can do with the same grape. This brings me back to the subject of today’s post: my love of Russian River Valley Zinfandels. The Russian River Valley and Dry Creek Valley are neighbors. You wouldn’t think the Zinfandels would be THAT different, right? Oh, but you would be wrong. The cooler climate and the fogs that help define the Russian River Valley produce an entirely different kind of Zinfandel. And it is delicious. Tonight we opened the 2006 Bella Russian River Zinfandel. The wine retails for $30 (I paid a few dollars less in my club shipment), had a real cork closure, and clocks in at 14.9% alcohol by volume.

On the nose, big blackberries jump out, followed by pepper, cinnamon, black currant, pomegranate, milk chocolate, smoke, and blueberry. This had one of those scrumptious noses you would like to just keep sniffing, but that would mean you’d miss actually tasting the wine. In the mouth I got blackberry, black currants, black cherry, and chocolate notes. Smooth, with well integrated tannins and beautiful fresh fruit, this wine is very ready to drink.

Back to Zinfandel

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Sobon Wines

I find myself often getting caught up by other grapes and types of wine and forgetting how much I love Zinfandel. It is one of my true wine loves, and definitely the red wine that started my love affair with reds. I love it in all its spicy, peppery, jammy incarnations, and this  2007 Shenandoah Vineyards Paul’s Vineyard ReZerve Zinfandel is no exception. It clocks in at 15.3% alcohol by volume, has a real cork closure , and the current 2008 vintage retails for $24.

On the nose I got spice, baking spices, cinnamon, dark black fruit, blackberry, black plums, and a wonderful floral perfumey aroma. In the mouth I found big blackberries, juicy ripe plums, chocolate notes, black cherries, vanilla cream. It tasted like a blackberry crumble to me, only juicier. This had all the elements I love about a good Zin, and I’m sure the current vintage is delish too.

Back to My Roots

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Quivira Winery

Zinfandel, and specifically Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel, is really where my journey with red wine began. If you’ve been a long time reader of the wine blog, I’m sure you’ve read where I’ve written about going to Sonoma for the first time on my honeymoon 5 years ago and how I fell in love with Zinfandel on the trip. I’d previously really been a “white wine only please” person, so it really was a turning point for me in my love of wine. These days I don’t drink nearly as much Zinfandel as I used to, but I do like to go back and revisit those wines that helped me fall head of heels for red wine. Tonight we tried the 2008 Quivira Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel. It clocked in at 14.8% alcohol, had a real cork closure, and retails for $20.

On the nose I got blackberry, spice, oak, herbs, baking spice, licorice, black cherry, and a caramel note. In the mouth I found tart, tart blackberry, the kind that make you pucker your lips a bit, black fruit, spice, chocolate, and juicy black cherry. The palate showed mostly juicy black fruit for me with plenty of tannins and acidity. At $20, this is a steal for a great Dry Creek Valley Zin.

More Party Wine

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Gallo Family Wines

As you might be able to tell, I’m a tad behind on reviewing wines. If you follow the wine blogosphere, you will see that most other wine bloggers reviewed this wine in August or there about.  So I’m tardy to the party, but that’s ok, I’m bringing a wine that will make another great party bottle. Often, I have folks ask me to recommend a “sweet” red wine. Well…ok. Red wine, in general, is not really sweet, unless you’re talking some of those dessert wines with raspberry or chocolate essences infused. Red wine has varying levels of dryness. This wine, the 2008 Apothic Red, is sweet in the sense that it is less dry than other red wines, and would likely be great for the “I don’t like red wine crowd.” Which generally, and with its price, makes is perfect for a party where you have a mix of folks and are going to be serving lots of bottles. The Apothic Red will fit the people looking for a “sweeter” red and there are lots of other options for folks who have a taste for drier reds. The Apothic Red clocked in at 13.1% alcohol by volume, has a MSRP of $14, but is available for around $9, had a real cork closure, and is a blend of Zinfandel, Syrah, and Merlot.

So here’s where the “sweet” showed up to me right away. On the nose. A snoutful of chocolate syrup, jammy berries, blackberry syrup, blueberry pie, and vanilla. My notes say “really very sweet nose” and “overwhelming chocolate syrup.” Not so much my thing, but like I said, for the “sweet” red wine folks, this is what you are looking for.  In the mouth I got blueberry, blackberry, a chocolate syrup aftertaste, jammy black fruit, and an overall sense of pie.  Basically, if you took slices of blackberry and blueberry pie, blended them together with chocolate syrup, and put it in a glass, this is what the Apothic Red smells and tastes like.


Fancy Decanting

Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful….a night that cried out for a Zinfandel, one of my favorite winter red wines.  We dug into our own stash for this wine, looking for something that would warm us to our bones. I pulled out the 2006 Bella Big River Ranch Zinfandel.  I can’t recall what it cost, though I would guess in the $35 range with my club discount, it had a real cork closure, and clocked in at 14.8% alcohol by volume. A word to the wise on this one: leave it in your cellar for a while longer. It’s still a baby and needs a few more years of age to really reach its prime. We stuck our Soiree wine decanter on the bottle and ran it though that, which helped, but it still needed time in the glass to really open up.

On the nose I found raspberry, fresh blackberry, clove, baking spice, pepper, spice, dark fruit, and earthy notes. After a run through the Soiree and some time in the glass, the wine had a great nose that you could get lost in…or could stick your nose so far into that you end up with a red tipped nose! In the mouth I got the same raspberry, blackberry, and dark fruits as I found on the nose, spice, pepper, and charred meat.  I found the palate to be quite spicy and peppery and redder than the nose, and definitely thought it deserved some more bottle age.