California is the only place in the world where the Zinfandel grape is grown which make Zinfandel synonymous with California. Zinfandel is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, grape varieties in California and today it occupies about 10 percent of all California vineyards. All of our Zinfandels come from the 2012 vintage. Near-perfect weather conditions in 2012 resulted in a California wine grape harvest which yielded generous amounts of high quality fruit, and winemakers across the state described the vintage as "excellent," "outstanding" and "ideal." In fact, winemakers were blessed with such large outputs that many struggled to find space for all the grapes!
This tasting on June 21, 2016 was made possible through the generosity of one of Toronto Vintners members, Brian Johnston, who provided ALL the wines to the club and who also was our guest speaker for the evening. The wines were purchased in the US and so all prices are in US currency. We were extremely grateful for his kindness and fortunate to have someone so passionate about this grape.
HOW THE WINES WERE RANKED
NOTE: All purchase prices are in US dollars
2012 St. Francis, Old Vines, Sonoma $22
A new generation of winemakers, Katie Madigan and Chris Louton, continues St. Francis’ long tradition of luscious, elegant, fruit-driven wines from Sonoma County grapes. “The 2012 Zinfandel Old Vines, from 50- to 110-year-old vines, is a fine value in Zinfandel. It exhibits plenty of briery, peppery, meaty, black cherry and strawberry fruit, and earth notes along with supple tannins, medium to full body, and a plush personality. Consume it over the next 4-5 years. Drink: 2015 – 2020. eRobertParker.com #216, Dec 2014. Robert M. Parker, Jr. 87 pts.
2012 Rock Wall, Monte Rosso Vineyard, Sonoma $50
“A year in barrel and bottle allow this wine to settle into its size showing a balance beyond its alcohol. Dense, ripe and sweet in a good way, with juicy, red fruits, milk chocolate and fresh blueberry pie. The finish is long and warm with a savoury, spicy, mineral, black fruit undercurrent. Just a baby but you can drink now with a steak or wait five to seven years for it to fully blossom. Real Zinfandel.” Tasted Oct 2014. Anthony Gismondi, Vancouver Sun wine critic. 91 pts www.winealign.com
2012 Kenwood Vineyards, Reserve, Sonoma $18
“The majority of vineyards used to produce the 2012 Kenwood Vineyards' Sonoma County Zinfandel are located in the Dry Creek Valley and Sonoma Valley appellations. A portion of the blend comes from old vine vineyards that have been producing excellent grapes since the 1940's. Ripe flavors of raspberry and pomegranate combine with aromatic notes of white pepper and vanilla. Full-bodied with delicate tannins provide an elegant and long finish. Winery’s notes.
2012 Jeff Cohn Cellars, Boticelli Vineyard, Sonoma $42
“. . . the 2012 Zinfandel Botticelli Vineyard reveals slightly more acids as well as more briary, mountain berry-styled fruit, a tangy, spicy headiness, a full-bodied mouthfeel, and impressive purity, texture and length. It, too, should be consumed over the next 7-8 years. Jeff Cohn makes a dizzying array of wines, all of which have enormous appeal and character. Sadly, he still does not own any vineyards, but he manages to source fruit from some of the most interesting sites in California, and when they are not mono-cépage wines, he assembles fascinating blends. Cohn is definitely a source for high-quality, full-flavored, pedal-to-the-metal wines.” Drink: 2014 – 2022. eRobertParker.com #216 Dec 2014. Robert M. Parker, Jr. 93 pts.
2012 Seghesio, Old Vines Zinfandel, Sonoma $40
Their Sonoma Zinfandel is a flagship of sorts, a well-balanced, slightly briary wine with notes of red currant. “The 2012 Zinfandel Old Vine comes from vines that are at least 50-years-old. It offers oodles of black cherry and blackcurrant fruit along with spice box, pepper and fruitcake notes. Full-bodied, heady and complex, it is the most multidimensional of these 2012 Zinfandels. It is ideal for drinking over the next 4-5 years. .” Drink: 2015 – 2020. eRobertParker.com #216 Dec 2014. Robert M. Parker, Jr. 92 pts.
2012 Brazin, Old Vines Zinfandel, Lodi $16
The 2012 Brazin Lodi Zinfandel is big, bold and offers aromas of rich black fruit and mocha that mingle with hints of spice and vanilla. Intense, ripe plum and jammy blackberry rock the palate of this daring Zinfandel. Balanced acidity and lingering tannins add complexity, concentration and depth to the finish. Winemaker’s notes.
2012 Michael David, Earthquake Zinfandel, Lodi $26
"This is Zinfandel at its richest. Boysenberry, vanilla and maple syrup aromas meet up with jammy fruit flavors that coat the mouth and linger on the finish. For all its fullness, it stays balanced and dry. It does not feel heavy in texture nor heavily oaked." Wine Enthusiast. 93 pts
2012 Ravenswood, Dickerson Vineyard, Napa $30
"A wonderful effort, the 2012 Ravenswood Dickerson has such a gorgeous aroma; beautiful raspberries just flow out of its nose; quite rich on the palate and possessing superb balance and style; easily on of California's top efforts. " Wilfred Wong of Wine.com. 93 pts