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.