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Zinfandel dinner...

Posted on March 8, 2016 at 15:34:51

Posts: 36635
Location: SF Bay Area
Joined: April 22, 2003
December 28, 2003

...a local high end Italian restaurant/wine shop had their 22nd annual zinfandel dinner - this is about the 4th one I've attended along with 90 other people this year.

The dinner is 4 courses and there are 6 glasses labeled with a different wine. The winemakers come around and pour you more of their wine as they introduce themselves and talk about their wine.

Here's the way I ranked the wines:

Gamba - usually my favorite but this year it was even better (and from the Russian River) - big, bold and complex, it went great with the pork with a red sauce main course. My friend and the two people across from us all agreed on this one as #1.

Frank Family - a great example of Napa zin with lots of fruit (and a bargain at the Safeway 30% off sale).

McCay - this was a surprise - a lighter zin but very nice and flavorful.

Robert Biale - ok but nothing special

Carlisle - didn't care for it much - he has 14 different zins and I like others better

Neal - tasted dusty

Below are the tasting notes of the wine shop proprietor:

2013 Robert Biale Vineyards $44.97
'Black Chicken', Napa Valley Zinfandel
Very dark, rich Zin with a mulberry-blueberry compote sort of feel to it. Truffle-y with hints of black pepper and a rich, unctuous finish. Another strong Biale! ***+

2014 Carlisle Winery $47.97
'Montafi Ranch', Russian River Valley Zinfandel
Not as dark as the Biale or Frank, nor has immediately deep and brooding. Very expressive with hints of dark plums, pomegranate, earthy bramble and white pepper. Still clearly very young and precocious. If it were me, I'd buy this to cellar. I am not alone in that thinking as it was our #2 wine of the night in terms of sales. ***?

2012 Frank Family Vineyards $34.97
Napa Valley Zinfandel
The darkest, earthiest and, arguably, deepest wine on the table tonight. This typifies the so-called 'Claret' style of Zin in that it's less focused on jammy fruit and more on balance. Chocolate-y Zin with nice 'shoulders.' I really liked this. ***+

2013 Gamba Vineyards & Winery $38.97
'Estate' Russian River Valley Zinfandel
As usual, this was the show stopper thanks to its big, big fruit and voluptuous texture. Yes, it's nearly 16% alcohol but it wears it well and just delivers, delivers, delivers the fruit! The number one seller of the evening. If you like big Zin, you will love this wine! ***

2012 McCay Cellars $21.97
'Faith Lot 13' Lodi Zinfandel
What nice surprise. Not the biggest baddest boy on the table but its lovely, plummy fruit and delicate glycerol finish gives this an impression of a light touch and great balance. Zin is rarely charming but this was. I'd find a lot of reasons to drink this! ***

2013 Neal Family Vineyards $24.97
'Rutherford Dust Vineyard' Napa Valley Zinfandel
The most Napa of the Napa Zins in this tasting, it was Claret-y like the Frank Family but in a minor key with less oak and effusive fruit….that made the secondary brushy, peppery, seed-like aromas and flavors stand out. Really a perfectly balanced Zin and very, very well priced! ***-

Let me know if you've tried any of these.


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'Bon Appetite' is looking for a photographer..., posted on March 9, 2016 at 21:05:15

Posts: 2228
Location: Texas
Joined: May 31, 2004
and you're not it.

Next time, how about a picture of the food and wine before the assault.

But it looks like all was a good time.

Is Gamba a big fruit bomb winery, like Turley?


LOL..., posted on March 10, 2016 at 10:29:40

Posts: 36635
Location: SF Bay Area
Joined: April 22, 2003
December 28, 2003
...big (15.9% alcohol), fruity and complex.

Like a good Turley.

You don't like fruit in your zinfandel?


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