A few months ago I was contacted by Bruce Patch, the owner and proprietor of Wine Guerrilla and asked if I would like to receive some samples. These days samples come in decent amounts, and my own cellar is burgeoning with wine, but when someone has taken the time to contact me and wishes to send a bottle, most times I accept, and will attempt to review.
Bruce it turns out was local, so I offered to let him drop off the wines to save shipping. It also allows me to meet the winery face and glean a bit of their story. I was expecting a few bottles, lo and behold, Bruce had six. I like do like, buy, and review zinfandel (especially cooler Russian River Valley or Zin with some bottle time) but of the many wines I consume, Zin is less common. I realized it would take me quite a bit of time to get through six, nor would readers want six back to back Zin reviews, so I decided to try a different, more fun approach.
I was enthused, some of his Zin’s were well regarded, including prominent California Wine writer Charles Olken. Additionally it was a great opportunity to compare many fruit sources.
The Tasting Panel
One of the great things of living in an area where there are over 200 wineries in a 30 mile radius, is enthusiasm and knowledge on wine is very high. Many of us have changed our entire lives in pursuit of passion of this nectar of the gods. It’s as much a lifestyle as it is a beverage, and I blessed with many good friends who are like minded in this passion.
I decided to ask 4 friends all passionate about wine and all in the industry in various manners, ranging from wine maker, to blogger, to tasting room, to join me to taste through these wines.
I kept it simple to keep it fun, but focused still. Panelists were asked to write down basic tasting notes, and then rank their top 3 of the 6 zins.
Wine Guerrilla makes a crazy amount of Zin’s, over a dozen are on the website for sale. Most are 200 cases or less.
#1 2009 Sonoma County Zinfandel 81% Zin, 10% Petite Sirah, 8% Carignan & Cabernet
#2 2009 Adel’s Vineyard Dry Creek Valley
#3 2009 Harris-Kratka Vineyard 2009 Alexander Valley Zinfandel – 85% Zinfandel, 10% Carignan & 5% Petite Sirah
#4 2009 Conte Vineyard Russian River Valley Zinfandel- A field blend of 83% Zin, 12% Petite Sirah, 2% Carignan, 2% Alacante Bouchet, & 1% Grenache
#5 2009 Clopton Vineyard ‘old vine’ 2009 Russian River Valley Zinfandel -
#6 2009 Coffaro Vineyards ‘old vine’ Block 1 2009 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel – 84% Zin, 16% Petite Sirah
The tasting was not blind, and tasters had access to the tech sheets. This was an experienced crew, I wasn’t worried about influence.
Each reviewers top pick got 3 points, #2 two points, and #3 a single point. As you can see, the number one choice scored almost twice as many points as the second. And they quickly trailed off.I should add, there wasn’t a single wine we didn’t like, and for many it was a hard choice, with a few re-visits. The styles were surprisingly, refreshingly different.
|2009 Sonoma County Zin; 81% Zin, 10& PS, 8% Carignan, & Cab||4|
|2009 Adel’s Vineyard DCV||2|
|2009 Alexander Valley – Harris-Kratka||12|
|2009 RRV Conte Vineyard||5|
|Clopton Vineyards Old Vine RRV||6|
|Coffaro Vineyards DCV 84% Zin, 16 PS||1|
Wine Review – Wine Guerrilla 2009 Alexander Valley – Harris-Kratka
The winner by a margin.
To The Eye: Lively, dark red.
One The Nose: Cocoa, spice, cherry pie, black fruit
In The Mouth: Brambly, jammy, complex, good finish.
Recommendation: A crowd pleaser amongst a wide variety of palates. 91 points $30 (media sample)
Wine Review: Wine Guerrilla 2009 Russian River Valley Clopton Vineyard
To The Eye: Hazy dark red
In The Mouth: Rich, viscous texture, ripe red fruit
Recommendation: A zinfandel that starts out with lots of fruit, finishes nicely, making come back for more. And more. 89 points.