• Colin Marsh

Zinfandel, California’s “Mystery”Grape


Our guest speaker was David Lawrason of Wine Align. David is Canada’s leading wine expert and the top wine writer in Ontario. For full event description, click here.

The Wines

2012 Cline Big Break Vineyard $38

“Much like its counterpart from the same vineyard, the 2012 Zinfandel Big Break's bouquet reveals the same minty character as was found in the Grenache Big Break. However, once it hits the palate, it is pure Zinfandel, displaying flavors of bramble berries, briary raspberries and black cherries, pepper, earth and spice. Again, the mintiness will be a "love it or leave it" component for most tasters. Drink now-2017. “ 88 points. Robert M. Parker, Jr.

2012 Ravenswood Big River Alexander Valley $46

“The winery described the 2012 Big River Vineyard Zinfandel as “wonderfully juicy with black, jammy fruit. Good texture is the hallmark of this weighty wine.” Wine Spectator described this wine as “big and ripe, focused and complex, with bold black cherry and toasty spice aromas leading to jammy flavors of raspberry, mocha and spicy licorice. Drink now through 2022.” 91 points Wine Spectator.

2012 Ravenswood Old Hill Sonoma Valley $61

“Powerful and deeply structured, with distinctive aromas of smoked pepper, black raspberry and fruitcake spices. The flavors balance ripe tannins and lively acidity, offering notes of blackberry, dark chocolate, licorice and mineral. Best from 2016 through 2024. “ 93 points. Wine Spectator.

2012 Seghesio Cortina Dry Creek Valley $65

“From Dry Creek Valley, the 2012 Zinfandel Cortina is named for the gravelly, loamy soil from which this wine is sourced. It exhibits a dark ruby color, peppery, strawberry fruit, medium body, but surprisingly not the power and overall depth and richness of the 2013 Sonoma Zinfandel. Nevertheless, it is a good effort that should be consumed over the next several years.“ 87 points. Robert M. Parker, Jr.

2012 Quivira Dry Creek Valley Reserve $44

“The 2012 Zinfandel Reserve (14.5% natural alcohol) is a selection of the finest barrels. Slightly denser than the Quest, with darker blackberry and black cherry fruits, a more primordial meatiness, a medium to fullbodied mouthfeel, impressive purity and freshness, this is classic Dry Creek Zinfandel to drink over the next 5-6 years.“ 92 points. Robert M. Parker, Jr.

2012 Frog's Leap Napa Valley $45

“Wine Spectator awarded this wine 91 points. Jancis Robinson’s wrote that this wine comes from “40year-old vineyard. A field blend with some Petite Sirah, Carignan, and Valdique, co-fermented. Transparent. Intense and round. Fresh and lively. Atypical.” 16.5/20 points. Jancis Robinson.

2013 Gamba Family Ranches $60

“The 2013 Zinfandel Family Ranches has a dense ruby/purple color, and the wine shows glorious levels of blackberry and cherry fruit with pepper and roasted meat. It is unctuously textured, full-bodied, and a terrific, rich, heady Zinfandel to drink over the next 5-7 years. These are pretty serious Zinfandels and certainly Gamba’s name is going to have to be included with some of the stars of Sonoma, such as Hartford Court, Carlisle, Bedrock and even the superstar Turley over in Napa.“ 92 points. Robert M. Parker, Jr.

2013 Peachy Canyon Mustang Springs $60

“A nose of sour cherry and cranberry meshes with sandalwood and savory herbs on this single-site study by the longtime Paso producer. The palate is overflowing with oregano and other dried garden herbs, laid against a juicy red and purple-fruit frame.“ 90 points. Matt Kettmann, Wine Advocate.

How the wines were ranked


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