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K&L Staff Recommendations
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Rich, spicy aromas and flavors of black cherry and cedar make this fullbodied wine from one of the longest-running wineries in California’s Sierra Foothills hard to resist. It has a feeling of breadth and depth on the palate alongside lush layers of tasty fruit. Editors’ Choice" (3/2017) K&L Notes: From one of the few remaining blocks of pre-prohibition era Zinfandel on the Estate, this ridge top vineyard of cobbly loam gives a full-bodied wine of great depth, structure and character. From dry farmed sustainably grown vines, the "Rocky Top" offers notes of summer be... Read More »
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* 'Wow' is the first word that comes to mind when tasting this superconcentrated and immensely fruity wine. It practically overwhelms the nose and the palate with ripe, jammy boysenberry and blackberry, sprinkled with licorice and black-pepper nuances that add attractive complexity. It's a big wine all the way, but not extreme in alcohol. (JG)" (3/2017) 91 points Vinous: "One of the more striking wines in this range, the 2014 Zinfandel Old Vine is absolutely gorgeous. Dark cherry, plum, sweet tobacco, menthol, licorice and spices hit the palate as this flamb ...Read More »
70% Zinfandel, 15% Carignane, 12% Petite Sirah, 3% Alicante Bouschet. Ridge has made the Geyserville as a single-site Zinfandel in every year since 1966. Winemaker's tasting note: "Saturated ruby color. Intense dark berry fruits, gravel earth, black licorice, mint, and exotic spices. Powerful bramble fruit entry, sensuous, well-defined tannins, great depth of flavor, enjoyable lengthy finish." (EB, 2/2017)
From the second label of Sobon estates comes Shenandoah Vineyards' full-bodied, full-fledged Amador-style Zinfandel. Its perfume hints at blackberries, cherries and cocoa while the mild tannins, elegant structure and strong fruit flavors make this a satisfying pairing for meats and cheeses.
Vinous: "The 2014 Three Valleys, Ridge's entry-level Zinfandel-based red, is a delicious, value-priced red to drink young, while the fruit remains vibrant. Sweet floral notes and a burst of spiciness round out the 2014 edition. This is an absolutely stellar set of wines from Ridge...Zinfandel fans will find much to like in the 2014s, a vintage that produced super-elegant wines. Of course, the biggest news at Ridge is Paul Draper's retirement, but then again, that has been in the works for so long that it was hardly a surprise when it was formally announced earlie ...Read More »
Valravn is a small project by the folks behind Banshee Wines, with one clear mission: helping the Zinfandel grape live up to its potential glory. Their dry-farmed, bush-pruned vines range from 50 to 105 years old. Made by hand on a small scale, these wines are the antithesis to the jammy mass-produced Zins you can often find on the market. From the winery: "Layers of richness and complexity wrap around a core of wild strawberry and raspberry. Intoxicating aromatics with scents of mocha, espresso roast, violets and ripe red berries. Rich on the palate wit... Read More »
Ancient Peaks has become known for producing one of Paso Robles’ most acclaimed Zinfandels. Here, amid one of the region’s coolest growing environments, the Zinfandel grape achieves a rare balance of robust flavors and elegant structure. Zinfandel has been a cornerstone variety of Paso Robles for more than 100 years, and the folks at Ancient Peaks are proud to feature it in their small family of wines.
94 points Vinous: "The 2014 Lytton Springs is another absolutely gorgeous wine...there appears to be plenty of complexity and depth hiding behind the acidity and tannin. Far from an easygoing Zinfandel, the 2014 Lytton is a wine to buy and cellar for at least a handful of years. The wine's richness, persistence and vertical intensity all lead me to believe it will be special in time. Black cherry, pomegranate, mint and sweet spices meld into the resonant finish. A kick of tannin from the Petite adds personality, something the 2014 has in spades. This is an absolutely ste ...Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* With opulent ripe fruit flavors and plenty of tannin and acidity to back them, this is a complete, balanced and appetizing wine. It smells like blackberry with smoky, meaty accents, tastes rich and full of berries, and feels firm and tangy on the palate." (4/2015) 90 points Wine Spectator: "A lively Zin, focused and sleek, with floral raspberry and fresh loam aromas. Vibrant flavors agilely balance bright acidity and ripe tannins, plus accents of white pepper and anise. Drink now through 2021." (6/2015) Connoisseurs Guide: "*Good Value* Amador Zinfandels have typically been a gutsy and f ...Read More »
The California Zinfandel from Rombauer is assembled with fruit from various wine-growing regions in the state. The blend breaks down by county as follows: El Dorado (50%), Amador (25%), Lake (14%) and Napa (11%). Producer notes: "2015 bought the earliest harvest in our 35-year history. Yields were down overall, but prolonged warm weather resulted in exceptional fruit quality and richly flavored wines. Sustainable farming practices throughout the growing season were tailored to each block with the assistance of aerial photos produced using NDVI (Normalize... Read More »
We couldn't be more excited to bring you another installment in what hopefully will turn out to be a long, fruitful project with wineries from around the United States, working with us directly to make exclusive bottlings for our customers. The Domestic team here at K&L has spent a great deal of time kicking around the idea of approaching wineries or winemakers we love, and asking them to work with us to create exclusive wines to our specifications. Furthermore we wanted to not only promote these outstanding wines, but the wineries behind them (rather th... Read More »
Vinous: "The 2012 Zinfandel, from Ink Grade, is soft, floral and perfumed throughout. Sweet red cherry, mint and wild flowers are all knit together in a delicate lifted wine. Drink this fragrant, juicy Zinfandel over the next few years. (AG)" (10/2015) K&L Notes: This Zinfandel is fresh, lively and very balanced. Zesty aromas lead to raspberry, black cherry, sweet anise, and a dash of black pepper.
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The deep purple colored Zinfandel Pagani Ranch is made in a medium to full-bodied, incredibly elegant and seamless style. The blend is 80% Zinfandel, 17% Alicante Bouschet and the balance Petite Sirah, aged all in American oak, and it boasts fabulous notes of plums, black raspberries, chocolate, spice and potpourri. It’s not a massive wine, but it glides across the palate, has ripe, sweet tannin and integrated acidity. Most importantly, it’s a joy to drink. (JD)" (10/2016) 92 points Vinous: "The 2014 Pagani Ranch is the most immediate and obvious of the 2014 Zinfandels I tas ...Read More »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "This is a full-bodied but also subtle and complex-flavored wine. The aromas bring in mild wood smoke and black-pepper notes, then the flavors add ample fruitiness without going to jamminess. The overall effect is one of sophistication." (10/2016) K&L Notes: This nicely priced bottling from Joel Gott is 100% Zinfandel sourced from Mendocino, Sonoma, Lake County, Amador, and Lodi. It is a true snapshot of California varietal expression. The wine was aged in 20% new American oak and 80% two-year-old French oak. Tasting notes from the producer: "The 2014 California Zinfa... Read More »
91 points Vinous: "The 2014 Old Vine Zinfandel is deep, rich and luscious, with plenty of up-front fruit and tons of appeal. More of a field blend than a true Zinfandel, the 2014 is soft and forward, with expressive red-fleshed fruit, bright acidity and terrific overall balance. The Old Vine is 77% Zinfandel and a generous 23% mixed blacks. Best of all, the Old Vine Zinfandel is a fabulous value. This is a stellar set of wines from Morgan Twain-Peterson and Chris Cottrell. In general, the 2014s feel a bit brighter and more acid-driven than most recent vintages. Readers sho ...Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The two Zinfandels among the current releases include the 2014 Zinfandel Paso Robles, which comes from the Benito Dusi Ranch. One hundred percent Zinfandel tipping the scales at 14.4%, this straightforward, dark ruby-colored Zinfandel offers briary, spicy, easygoing strawberry and black cherry fruit. It is medium-bodied, cleanly made, and best drunk over the next 4-5 years. (RP)" (8/2016) Wine Spectator: "Sleek and focused, offering a gentle complexity. Aromas of raspberry and dill lead to zesty flavors of cherry, licorice and smoky white pepper. Drink now through 2024. ...Read More »
90 points Wine Spectator: "This is loaded with zesty blackberry and raspberry fruit, offering a vibrant structure and appealing accents of toasted sage, white pepper and licorice. Drink now through 2027. (TF)" (3/2017)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Zinfandel is a brambly, spice, raspberry and blackberry-scented effort that has medium-bodied richness, an upfront, sexy texture and no hard edges. Drink this balanced, incredibly enjoyable Zinfandel over the coming couple of years. Readers looking for killer values need look no further than this Foxglove releases from Jim and Bob Varner." (10/2016) Vinous: "The 2014 Zinfandel is another delicious, value-priced red from the Varner brothers. Pinot-influenced aromatics meld into a core of sweet red berry fruit. Rich, deep and luscious in a fruit-driven styl ...Read More »
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Zinfandel Reserve, which was aged 20 months in French oak, is really sensational, with a dense ruby/purple color, beautiful blueberry and blackberry fruit, a judicious use of toasty oak, full-bodied opulence, a multi-layered mouthfeel, and a spectacular finish of 45 or more seconds. This is a great Zinfandel from Dry Creek to drink over the next decade. (RP)" (3/2016)
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Earthy dried herb and truffle provide a rough-and-tumble point of view in this wine, a mix of complexity and contoured acidity. The shy, juicy red fruit is cradled in integrated oak." (10/2016) 90 points Wine Spectator: "Bold raspberry and toasty spice aromas combines with lively, jammy flavors of black cherry, smoky anise and dried sage. Drink now through 2027. (TF, Web-2016)" (10/2016)
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Zinfandel Estate is primarily Zinfandel, but there are other grapes in this mixed black field blend, including Peloursin, Négrette, Syrah, Petite Sirah and Carignan. This is a sensational Zinfandel, with an explosive nose of pepper, raw meat, blackberry, black raspberry and cherry. Deep, chewy and dense, it finishes at 14.8% natural alcohol... The owners of the well-known Marietta Cellars, the Bilbro family, have taken this once-moribund producer, Limerick Lane, and resurrected it to impressive heights of quality. This estate always had some fab ...Read More »
Wine Spectator: "Jammed with toasty oak and black pepper notes, this is backed up by baked cherry, grilled anise and toffee flavors. Drink now through 2022. (TF)" (6/2016)
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The unfined, unfiltered 2012 Zinfandel Monte Rosso Vineyard Vinas Antiguas (815 cases produced) is a meaty, dark plum-colored wine exhibiting aromas of grilled steak and herbs. Peppery, spicy, full-bodied and rich with 15.5% natural alcohol, it cuts a broad, expansive swath across the palate. (RP)" (12/2014) Wine Spectator: "Dense and briary, with black raspberry, licorice and underbrush aromas and deep flavors of plum, mineral and cracked pepper. The tannins turn a bit rustic on the finish. (TF, Web-2015)"
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Made from fruit grown across the valley, including Chiles Valley and Calistoga, this wine also includes 14% Petite Sirah and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon. It is above all savory and relatively restrained, elegant in red fruit, soft mellow tannin and balanced acidity, with a lingering taste of wild blueberry." (10/2016)
Wine Spectator: "Rustic and briary, but complex in structure, with notes of black cherry, licorice and smoky herb. Drink now through 2023. 1,042 cases made." (6/2016)
Inventory: Redwood City
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Zinfandel Bedrock Vineyard has a brooding, primordial character with a dark ruby/plum/purple color, forest floor, pepper, meat, herbs, and red and black fruits. It is elegant, medium to full-bodied, and by no means over-extracted or too rich. A nice take on Zinfandel from this famous source, it should drink well for 4-5 years. (RP)" (3/2016)
92 points Wine Spectator: "Bold and rich, with a lively, structured core, plus black raspberry and pepper aromas, and ripe, zesty black cherry and sweet black licorice flavors. Drink now through 2026." (1/2017) K&L Notes: This new project from Ehren Jordan, the mastermind behind such labels as Turley, Neyers and Failla, is dedicated to old-vine, Sonoma County Zinfandel. The first vintage comprises a touch of Petite Sirah to round out the blend, showing classic fruity notes of blueberry, raspberry and spices.
The Return of the Black Chicken! Robert Biale knows Zin. Since 1937, the Biale family has grown Zinfandel along with assorted other varieties on their farm just outside the town of Napa. Their Zins are famous for a certain breed of intensity and power--the kind you get when you restrict yields to only the best, most concentrated, fully ripe fruit each vintage. "Black Chicken" gets its name from Aldo Biale, who used the name as a code word when he started making the wine on the sly in the '40s and didn't want other members of his family to know. Black Chi... Read More »
91 points Connoisseurs Guide: "*Two Stars* The annual picking of favorites among the latest crop of new Ravenswood's Zinfandels is a happy, if next-to-impossible task, yet this one clearly vies for a place at the head of the class. It is a potent, yet slightly succulent wine that is at once full-bodied, fleshy and sturdy, and, even if young, it already shows tantalizing suggestions of layered richness. A very slight flare of finishing heat is its one caveat at this point, but age is in order and three to five years in the bottle will make a very good thing even better." (1/2016) 91 points Wine Enthusiast: "This wi ...Read More »
94 points Wine & Spirits: "George Hendry once helped farm the Brandlin Ranch on Mount Veeder, where he took cuttings of the old-vine Zinfandel when the property was sold in 1995. He grafted that budwood onto St. George rootstock at his benchland vineyard west of Napa and north of the San Pablo Bay, where morning fog and offshore breezes in the afternoon help to cool the vines. This 2012 parallels the hearty depths of an old-vine Zin, the ripe sour-cherry flavors driven by alcohol but not heated by it, the tannins buzzing with energy. It’s brisk and bright, complex and joyous. ...Read More »
90 points Wine Spectator: "Jammy and ripe, this retains a sense of balance and focus, with black cherry and caramel aromas and soft, zesty flavors of blackberry and spice. For those who like their Zins big. (TF)" (6/2014)
94 points Vinous: "A rich, boisterous wine, the 2015 Zinfandel Giuseppe & Luisa is explosive in the glass. Here, too, the flavors are bright and vibrant. Red-toned fruit and expressive floral notes abound. Voluptuous and intense, the 2015 possesses tremendous thrust in its flavors and overall feel. Even with all of its intensity, the 2015 retains considerable freshness and acidity to play off the forward fruit. (AG)" (3/2017)
90 points Connoisseurs Guide: "*One Star & Good Value* Spot on in its varietal precision and a nicely managed wine in every respect, Dashe's appellation bottling from the Dry Creek Valley is everything that well-made Zinfandel should be. There are others that can claim more potency and power just as there are some that are deeper and more complex, but this one gets the nod for its constancy, class and cohesion, and it is a flavorful, but never-too-pushy rendition that will drink splendidly with an especially wide range of foods over the next four or five years." (9/2016) 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Zinfan ...Read More »
Rod and Lynn Berglund carry the mantle for this historic Russian River Valley winery as it marches into its 50th year.
91 points Connoisseurs Guide: "*Two Stars* Bright, buoyant, intensely fruity and absolutely unwavering in its keen varietal focus, this impressively extracted effort is long on substance and stuffing yet is very well-structured for the ample and very ripe wine that it is. It is supple to start and keeps heat nicely in check while showing a good bit of grippy, young back-palate tannins, and, if not inordinately rough at the finish, it is a Zinfandel that fully deserves age. It is so deep in fruit that it is certain to tempt hasty drinking, but this is serious wine to cellar away for an ...Read More »
90 points Wine & Spirits: "From nine acres of benchland soil west of the town of Napa, these blocks were planted to clone 2 zinfandel in 1975 and 1995. Aged for 15 months in French oak, this has the richness of a full-bodied claret, supple, heady and black. The dark fruitiness of cloud-ear mushrooms combines with a touch of volatility in the finish, a brisk, earthy zin to decant for braised lamb." (2/2015) 90 points Wine Enthusiast: "This opens with herbaceous dollops of thyme and fresh-dug earth and evolves slowly in the glass, revealing juicy black plum and berry. Medium in weight and density, it's soft and ...Read More »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* This serious and concentrated wine has plenty of ripe fruit aromas and flavors, with a smooth texture, and lingering fruitiness on the finish. It resembles black plums and cloves in flavor, and has excellent balance and depth." (12/2015) Wine Spectator: "Offers zesty flavors of bright cherry, smoky herb and lots of cracked pepper. Packs in a lot of character. Drink now through 2018. 11,475 cases made." (6/2015)
A classic old vine Russian River Valley Zinfandel made from a vineyard planted in the early 1920s, which would have made the vines just about "old vine" 45 years later when Joe Swan made his first vintage--of Zinfandel. The winery's tasting note for the 2012: "Blackberry, white pepper floral hints, bit of lushness. Complex balanced, elegant. A classic old style zinfandel made with new age sensibilities. And, it is under 13% alcohol!"
94 points Vinous: "Black cherry, violet, lavender, blueberry and spice notes give the 2014 Zinfandel Papera Ranch much of its distinctive cool, bracing personality. The acids are bright, but not at all intrusive. This is another striking Zinfandel from Carlisle. There is wonderful depth and pliancy here. (AG)" (3/2017) 91-93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "I’ll just briefly summarize the 2014s. It was the earliest vintage ever for Mike Officer and probably he’ll beat that early harvest record in 2015. In this case, he was finished by October 6, which was a first, and it will be interesting to see if he eclipses ...Read More »
Robert Parker called the Martinelli family "one of the great families of Northern California, and of course, one of the highest quality producers." Vigneto di Evo is a blend of multiple vineyard sites farmed by the estate. From the winery: "The 2013 Vigneto di Evo Zinfandel has aromas of dark red fruit, Bing cherries, and hints of conifer and rose petal. The palate is medium weight with flavors of sour cherry, raspberry, and red plum skin, with a slightly earthy/mineral finish."
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "A tang of black cherry and citrus elevates the palate of this light-bodied wine, which is soft and well integrated in terms of oak and tannin. With 10% Petite Sirah and 8% Carignane, it's strong in leather and black pepper, with a lean, juicy finish." (6/2016)
Inventory: San Francisco
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "One of Marietta’s most serious wines is their 2014 Angeli Cuvée, a Zinfandel-dominated blend with Petite Sirah and Carignan. They make about 2,000 cases of this Sonoma wine. It is a delicious fruit-forward wine with loads of raspberry, black cherry and roasted Provençal herbs. It is Mediterranean in style with medium to full body and a whopper at 15.3% natural alcohol, but there is not a trace of heat. It is fruit-driven, spicy, earthy and hedonistic. Drink it over the next 3-4 years. (RP)" (10/2016)
95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Another fabulous wine, although there’s not much of it, is the 2014 Zinfandel Gnarly Vine Monte Rosso Vineyard from this fabulous first-growth vineyard in Sonoma. This is a blend of 97% Zinfandel and 3% Petite Sirah aged in 66% new French oak, 16% new American oak and the rest used. Only 500 cases were made of this whopper, which is full-bodied, has great intensity with a stunning nose of black fruits, pepper, Mediterranean herbs and spice. Good natural acidity gives focus and vibrancy to this wine that comes from vines as old as 120 years. This is a ful ...Read More »
95 points Wine & Spirits: "For the third year in a row, Adrian Manspeaker and Micah Wirth’s zin from Grist Vineyard is a spellbinding wine. Planted in 1974, this hillside vineyard isn’t old in the context of California zin, but the vines are mature enough to translate the site’s iron-rich volcanic soil into zinfandel with remarkable purity and sheer exuberance. Its red plum and floral white peach flavors are so immediate and succulent, you might worry that the wine is going to drip down your chin. There’s a lacy transparency here that’s extraordinary, the tannins structuring the w ...Read More »
90 points Connoisseurs Guide: "Simply put, this is a very good wine that will appeal both to seasoned Zinfandel fans and relative newcomers alike. It starts out with an attractive nose of well-defined, ripe berry fruit that jumps to the fore in its like-minded flavors and never lets up. It is pleasantly rounded in feel and its scant suggestions of finishing heat are buffered by fruity substance to spare, and, if one might ask for a little more complexity, this is a deep and eminently satisfying, tasty Zin that excels at the price and wins high praise for out-and-out value." (9/2016) K&L Notes: 76%... Read More »