Browse Tag

amador county

Gerhs & feeding

Gehrs 2008 “Fireside” Port (Amador County) – A very simple idea of port, sweet with dried berries and a late-palate burn of alcohol, but bringing little else to the concept beside the name and the fundamentals of technique. (11/11)

Sprat bunny

Renwood 2000 Zinfandel Jack Rabbit Flat (Amador County) – 15.3%. Concentrated and coalesced into a tight, knotted core of angry jam and coal. Which is, perhaps surprisingly, fairly appealing. It’s a punch in the mouth, but the punch is a lightning-fast jab. This has gone as far as it’s going to go, I think. (12/11)

Women on top

Sobon Estate 2008 Zinfandel Cougar Hill (Amador County) – 14.9%. It doesn’t <i>taste</i> like Cakebread. Well, jokes aside, it’s a richly-fruited zin about halfway in the jelly/syrup stage (which means that there’s still some pine-forested linkage to its expected regional character) with a lot of tannin and what seems to be a fair dollop of oak as well. This in unquestionably designed with cellaring in mind, and while it’s a bit denser than I think would be ideal for its future balance, age it should. (12/11)

Peter & Mary think not

Sobon Estate 2008 Zinfandel Paul’s “Rezerve” (Amador County) – 15.1%. Full of effort and strain, but here – unless in the “regular” reserve bottling from the same vintage – it all works. Better fruit concentration from better-sited or older vines? Maybe. The difference lies in the notion that all the effort is in support of a purpose, rather than just that of the effort itself. Dark, nearly-but-not-quite syrupy berries, seedless jam, chocolate, bark, soil, pine bark. Long, peppery, and worthy of some cellar experimentation. (11/11)

The first Italian

Sobon Estate 2009 Primitivo “Rezerve” (Amador County) – 15.3%. The alcohol really sticks out here, as does the wood, and I think it’s because zinfandel’s non-acculturated cousin puts its acidity in a different place…“over there” rather than swimming amidst…and this exposes the wine’s other elements to accusations of imbalance. But it’s not really imbalanced (though I would, personally, prefer a little less of everything <i>except</i> that acidity), it’s just fairly incoherent. Maybe time will resolve this, maybe not, but I will say that despite the range of berries being those one would generally expect from Amador zinfandel, the structural differences do rather pointedly call back to an Old World idea of composition. Whether that’s something inherent to the grape, the particular process by which this wine was made, or merely the power of suggestion working on this taster I can’t say for sure. (11/11)

It’z not zo good

Sobon Estate 2008 Zinfandel “Rezerve” (Amador County) – 15.1%, and no the “z” isn’t a typo. Trying hard, all dressed up, plumped with the latest in fruity finery and chocolate artistry, and for all that effort and desperate straining, ultimately not all that interesting. (11/11)

Patty Smythe

Karly 2008 Zinfandel “Warrior Fires” (Amador County) – 15.4%. Giant, dark, dusty fruit that’s trying way too hard. Power without substance. To write more about what I found would be giving the wine more credit than it deserves for overachievement despite a lack of something to say. Let up on the gas pedal, please. (11/11)

Pokerville? I don’t even know’erville!

Karly 2009 Zinfandel Pokerville (Amador County) – 14.5%…and yes, the name means what you think; it was apparently the name of the town of Plymouth at one point during the gold rush years, and for the immediately obvious reason to anyone who thinks about leisure-time activities for a bunch of men who’ve spent weeks scratching for little more than riches and mosquitoes. (It’s kind of a shame they changed it.) Bursty fruit, as if the half-wild, half-cultivated berries are being crushed as the wine’s sipped. Or, rather, guzzled. This isn’t a sipping wine. Fruity fun. (11/11)

The vieux, the proud

Edmunds St. John 1993 Zinfandel (Amador County) – 13.7%. As fully-resolved a zinfandel as I’ve ever tasted…mostly, they tend to evolve, mature, and then start falling apart, and not always on parallel curves. This is soft, even plushy, in its textural circularity, with some erosion evident and a little bit of reduced gravity from the core. Around it, though, is still wrapped a lightly peppery sheathe, and dusty minerality rests on the ground, fallen but not yet separate. Very appealing. (7/11)

Edmunds St. John 1994 Zinfandel (Amador County) – Round, polished, sweet red fruit. Whatever structure there was is long gone, but what’s left is mostly just fruit, rather than anything particularly complex. It’s teetering on the edge of failure as well, though it hasn’t quite gotten there yet (note, however, that this is a recent release from the winery, and differently-stored bottles might already be on the downslope). A similarly-acquired bottle of the 1993 was better, and clinging more strongly to relevancy, a few months ago. In any case, one must be careful to not expect too much from aged zinfandel; there are exceptions and surprises, but they’re (definitionally) not the majority. (9/11)

Sobon mot

Sobon Estate 2008 Zinfandel “Old Vines” (Amador County) – 14.9%. A reliably slightly-better-than-mediocre bargain zin, here a little better than that. Wiry and brambly, with the pine woodsy character of the region, and as much bite as it has (at least in my memory) ever shown. Tasty, though it neither demands nor offers much. (9/10)