Here are my brief tasting notes from a Zinfandel tasting that I hosted on January 27th 2009 . The tasting revolved around California with a brief look outside the USA to Italy (the ancestral home of Zin a.k.a. Primitivo) and Australia - proving Zin does well outside of its iconic American home. All wines were purchased at the BCLDB except for the Gravity Hills and Kangarilla Road and are priced in Canadian dollars. The Rodney Strong, Ravenswood, and Tamas Estate showed their true cooler climate Zin characteristics with more restrained red fruit elements where as the Gravity Hills and A. Mano showed the effects of warmer climate fruit notes of ripe black fruits and exotic spice and pepper notes. The Kangarilla Road exhibited many of the elements of its cooler climate Sonoma brethren but had atypical floral aroma.
Rodney Strong Sonoma 2 Knotty Vines 2006 $23.99
Medium to full-bodied with briar, raspberry, red cherry and soft tannins with a finish of spice,cherry and vanilla.14.8% ABV 10 months in oak (71% American; 29% French) 99% Zin, 1% Petite Sirah
Ravenswood Sonoma Old Vine 2005 $29.99
Full-bodied with chewy tannins and concentrated flavours of cedar, raspberry, spice. Restrained cedar and resin notes on nose and palate from new wood. 14.5% ABV 24 months French oak (34% new) 95% Zin, 4% Carignane, 1% field blend My personal favourite!
Tamas Estate Livermore 2005 $17.99
Medium-bodied, lush and soft texture, and flavours of savoury herb, plum, soy, and briary red fruits. 14.5% ABV 8 months in neutral oak varietal % not known
A. Mano Primitivo 206 Puglia Italy $17.99
Medium-bodied some tannic backbone with flavours of ripe berries, spice, and a layer of black pepper from start to finish.
13.5% ABV 70-100 year old vines, 100% stainless steel fermentation and ageing
Gravity Hills Tumbling Tractor Paso Robles 2005 $19.99
Medium-bodied with lots of briary raspberry and plum with a hint of mineral and spice in the finish. 13.5% ABV no varietal make up or wine making information available
Kangarilla Road Black St.John McLaren Vale 2005 Australia $29.99 Lovely but unusual perfumey aromas. Full-bodied with chewy concentrated tannins and flavours of briar, raspberry, cedar, and Violet and rose hints in the long finish.
30 year old vines, 1 year in French oak