We recently had a Zinfandel competition tasting and many wines were tasted to select my entry. Below are a few of the wines and partial notes.
The first entries are those that are not substantially oaked. I enjoy the marraige of oak and Zin, so it doesn't offend me, but others prefer fruit purity.
2000 Brown Estate Napa Valley Zinfandel, $34.99
Filling in the middle is vanilla with a touch of sweetness and chocolate while maintaining the strong fruit. It finishes long with raspberry, pepper spice and coffee.
1999 Ravenswood Dickerson Vineyard Zinfandel, $38.99
It displays a nose of chalk and berries. The initial taste brashly hits the palate with berries then spins into eucalyptus, mint, and pepper spice. A moment before I began thinking this may be a bit too weird, it unveils vibrant black cherry that rings loud and long into and through the finish.
1999 Hartford Fanucchi-Wood Road Vineyard, Russian River Zinfandel, $32
Black cherries greet the initial taste with pepper spice, then hazelnut expanding into a sustantial finish.
1999 Ravenswood Old Hill Sonoma County Zinfandel, $34.99
Ready yourself for booming fruit with breathtaking black pepper, hazelnut and chocolate. The middle is huge with the finish lockstep behind.
And now for some wood. If oak offends you, stay away from these. I absolutely loved the Rosenblum Lyons Vineyard.
1999 Rosenblum Napa Valley Lyons Vineyard Zinfandel, $28.99
This baby really performs in the middle. After a start of rich, sweet raspberry it gives way to a complex, hedonistic middle of port, milk chocolate, vanilla, and pepper.
1999 Downing 'Fly By Night' Oakville Zinfandel, $34.99
Passages of spice, dark berry fruit, coffee, and chocolate play again and again.
1999 Hendry Block 7 Napa Valley Zinfandel $27.99
Dark red raspberry, prune, and oak dominate the nose. Toss in some spice for the start and chocolate for the middle.