What do you look for when you are tasting a Zinfandel from a famous Zinfandel producer? Nose? Palate, longevity of the finish, the pepper Zins are noted for?
We recently received a bottle of the Rancho Zabaco 2012 Sonoma Heritage Vines Zinfandel. And not surprisingly, the 2012 jumped out from the first aroma as a strong contender for a classic Zinfandel.
The grapes for the 2012 Heritage came primarily from the Dry Creek Valley vineyards. This was had a good beginning since the 2102 Dry Creek season was ideal. The weather was almost universally warm and this resulted in a berry growth which was full of flavor.
In the Dry Creek region, there are almost 2400 acres planted to this variety. The history of the region is famous for the high quality of Zins being produced. Grapes for this harvest and pressing were selected from different tracts in the Valley. The vineyards chosen for the final selection included Stefani Ranch, Frei Ranch and Chiotti Ranch.
True to the spirit of Zinfandel, the Rancho Zabaco delivers a Zin lovers dream. At the nose, there is a typical Zin aroma, not pungent, but subtle and pleasant enough to make you ready for your first sip. On the palate, you will encounter darker fruit undertones, combined with a hint (not overly powerful) of chocolate. The finish, which is full but not overpowering, is highlighted by a spot of pepper (the Zin trademark).
All the distinct flavors come from the maceration and fermentation which was involved in the creation of this yield. With a desire to produce a strong Zin color, the grapes underwent a color and flavor extraction during the first part of the maceration process. Later, the focus shifted to gently pressing the grapes to get maximum flavor from the juice. With the pressing finished, the juice had a significant Zin flavor without skin bitterness. To smooth out the final product, the juice was blended with a small amount of Petite Sirah.
After fermentation, the wine went to both French and American oak for final aging. Not surprisingly, there is a small amount of toasting residue in the final product and it is manifested as a chocolate undertone on consumption.
So what makes this Zin a winner? It probably boils down to creative winemaking with a grape source from some outstanding vineyards. This, combined with some luck from nature, allowed for a well-rounded Zinfandel which will be pleasing for the next few years.
So for a quality Zinfandel in the $15.00 SRP range, this is one to seek out on the shelves of your local provider.
Technical details include the following:
Origin Sonoma County
Alcohol Content 15.3%
A pleasing wine at a very good price!
Have a winederful day!