Browse Tag


Lubenko of America

Sobon Estate 2005 Zinfandel Lubenko (Fiddletown) – 15.1%. Dark pineberry fruit, parchment tannin, and brittle acidity. Sobon is a producer whose wines rarely reach the pinnacles for me, yet this is a more exciting effort than I’m used to from them. There’s some extra peppery verve to it, and that coniferous aroma is exactly what one expects from the region. I really like this. (7/12)

Sobon Estate 2005 Zinfandel Lubenko (Fiddletown) – 15.1%. Absolutely identical in every possible way. Thank the closure. (7/12)

Susanna or Sergei?

Sobon Estate 2008 Zinfandel Lubenko (Fiddletown) – 15.2%. Thick, resinous, and skin-dominated zin slathered in oak (not egregiously so for zin, which handles new wood pretty well, but it’s hard to miss). There’s a lot of pine needle here, which I love in zins from this area, but the wine itself is more than a bit of a slog. Maybe time will help, but I suspect it will always be a little over-structured. (11/11)


Renwood 2001 Zinfandel (Fiddletown) – 15%. Paint-by-the-numbers pine-needle zin, which is the interim stage Renwood went through from its glory days to its descent into post-industrial mediocrity, and which is a pretty good thing despite the mundane nature of the critique. It’s dark, a touch boozy, a little amaro-like, with a concentrated berry syrup slashed with coniferous acidity. In other words, entirely of its region in summary, but not showing anything else than that. Good now, but drink it before now becomes later. (10/11)

While Rome burns

Renwood 2001 Zinfandel (Fiddletown) – 15%. I’d say this is approaching the end of its useful life, but inherent in that would be the suggestion that the wine has changed since release. As far as I can tell, it hasn’t. It’s always been on the raw side, which is not an unusual thing for a Fiddletown zin to be, bringing pine and concentrated boysenberry syrup into a tight cylinder of slightly mean fruit and then surrounding it with some sort of fruit liqueur. For all I know, this will age…or, perhaps more accurately, last…for another decade. Or two. Or ten. I dunno. Anyway, drinking it now brings me one step closer to ridding my cellar of Renwood, for reasons mostly (though not entirely) unrelated to wine quality, and that’s a good thing. (11/10)


[winemaker]Easton 2002 Zinfandel (Fiddletown) – Deeply infused with the aromas of the pine forest, both the cold, airy soil and the resinous overgrowth. The fruit, dark as always, has contracted a bit, losing none of its intensity but a measurable quantity of its breadth and roundness. And there’s pepper, too…black, almost Tellicherry-esque pepper. This is a wine with something to say, and the story it’s telling is about where it’s from. (4/09)

Easton 2002 Zinfandel (Fiddletown) – More subdued than the previous bottle, with a leathery and very nearly buttery pressure on its fruit that never quite relents. It’s good, but it doesn’t speak as clearly as its predecessor. I set it aside for a day, just to see if there’s low-level TCA, but if anything it expands on day two, yet still without delivering the full expression of its fruit. (4/09)

Fiddletown while Rome burns

[label]Easton 2003 Zinfandel “Old Vines” (Fiddletown) – 14.5%. Spicy black pepper, thick and structured, with black cherry, pine, cedar and good acidity. It’s very wood-primary right now, but I expect that to absorb (somewhat) with age. Still, the collection of various trees has me slightly concerned about the wine’s overall balance. At the least, it’s worth keeping an eye on. (5/07)