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As is tradition on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, Rich & Dana hosted the group for the annual Zinfandel retrospective, this day for the 35th time. Now a 5-year blind retrospective, we enjoyed a few warmups, nonblind, along with light hors d'oeuvres before the blind flight of 2008s. One of the regular couples had to cancel at the last minute, which is always good news for Domino & I since we get the call to fill-in. We had 11 tasters for this event.

I. Warmups - nonblind
  • 2010 Lewis Cellars Sauvignon Blanc - USA, California, Napa Valley
    Pale color. Aromas of citrus, orchard fruits and fruit cup syrup- this definitely has a tropical edge to it. Softened acidity with flavors of tropical fruit syrup and grass. (89 pts.)

  • 2011 Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé - South Africa, Coastal Region, Stellenbosch
    Notes of strawberry, rose petals and red fruit. Subtle. Flavors of red fruit on the palate with decent acidity and a pleasant finish. (88 pts.)

  • 2003 Ridge Lytton Springs - USA, California, Sonoma County, Dry Creek Valley
    Crimson core with a lighter meniscus. Opens with prune/raisin qualities, along with red berries, currants and white pepper. At first a bit light on the palate. Features flavors of pepper, spices, plum and red fruit with raisiny overtones. A bit light and ripe- especially compared to the Geyserville, although this did gain some weight and seem less ripe as the bottled was emptied. (88 pts.)

  • 2003 Ridge Geyserville - USA, California, Sonoma County
    Deep garnet color with aromas of berries, green pepper, black fruit and spice. Medium- to full-bodied with flavors of red currants, spice, plum and underbrush. Long finish. (92 pts.)

II. Zins
  • 2008 Robert Biale Zinfandel Valsecchi - USA, California, Sonoma County
    Light ruby purple color with notes of boysenberry, bright red fruit, and candied cherries. The candied quality softens, leaving lovely, bright red fruit and evergreen qualities. Medium-bodied, with red fruit, boysenberry and raspberry flavors with a spicy finish. The fruit remains bright and lively.

    My #2, Domino #3
    Group #5, 53 pts (91 pts.)

  • 2008 Ridge Lytton Springs - USA, California, Sonoma County, Dry Creek Valley
    Deep crimson color. Notes of spice, red fruit, black fruit, perfumed florals and baking spices- cinnamon and nutmeg. Full-bodied with sweet tannin and flavors of raspberry and cherry turning to dark fruit as the wine breathes.

    My #3, Domino #4
    Group #4, 52 pts (91 pts.)

  • 2008 Seghesio Family Vineyards Zinfandel Home Ranch - USA, California, Sonoma County, Alexander Valley
    Crimson color. Aromas of underbrush, white perpper and black fruits developing a lovely floral, perfumed quality with air. On the lighter side of full-bodied with red fruit, raspberry, pepper and spice flavors. Long, balanced finish.

    My #1, Domino #1
    Group #1, 29 pts (91+ pts.)

  • 2008 Seghesio Family Vineyards Zinfandel Rockpile - USA, California, Sonoma County, Rockpile
    Crimson red color. Notes of dill, red fruits, spice and clove. Develops notes of pine needles and meat. Medium-bodied with plenty of dark fruit and pepper on the palate, but seems a bit disjointed.

    My #5, Domino #2
    Group #2, 37 pts (89 pts.)

  • 2008 Ridge Geyserville - USA, California, Sonoma County
    Inky crimson color. Notes of currants, black fruit, pepper and spices and perfumed florals. Evergreen notes emerge with air, and it develops a ripe, almost raisiny quality. Medium-bodied with sweet red fruit, candied cherry and raspberry at first, turning dark and ripe. Finsihes nicely, but the ripeness that emerged bothered me a bit.

    My #4, Domino's #5
    Group #3, 45 pts (89-90 pts.)

  • 2008 Michael-David Vineyards Zinfandel Earthquake - USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Crimson color with aromas of beef bouillon cubes, meat, black fruit and white pepper, turning dark and pruny. Medium-bodied with dark fruit, buillon and raisin flavors. If you like 'em big and ripe, this is your kind of wine.

    My #6, Domino #8
    Group #8, 66 pts (87 pts.)

  • 2008 The Other Guys Zinfandel Plungerhead Lodi - USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Good color with aromas of evergreens and raw meat turning dark and raisiny. Surprisingly light-bodied, with flavors of red fruit, turning to black fruit, plum and prunes. A bit simple and "generic."

    My #7, Domino #6
    Group #7, 61 pts (86 pts.)

  • 2008 Orin Swift Zinfandel Saldo - USA, California
    Red color. Aromas of dark fruit with a subtle bouillon note underneath. Medium-bodied, with dark fruit, pepper and spice notes and a long finish. Falls apart in the glass, turning sour and quite acidic.

    My #8, Domino #7
    Group #6, 53 pts
    (tied w/the Biale, but this had zero 1st place votes whereas the Biale received one 1st place vote) (85 pts.)

III. Nonblind dinner & dessert wines
Served with R&D's traditional dinner of barbequed brisket and slaw.

  • 1993 Ravenswood Zinfandel Old Hill - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Valley
    Sadly, this one was over the hill- beef bouillon cubes, dried prune and black fruit qualities.

  • 2008 Chateau Montelena Zinfandel Estate - USA, California, Napa Valley
    Notes of cherry, raspberry and red fruit with subtle spice undertones. Medium-bodied with red fruit and white pepper flavors. Nce finish. (89 pts.)

  • 2008 Carlisle Zinfandel Papera Ranch - USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
    Deep crimson color, decanted briefly for sediment and served about three hours later. Notes of dark fruit, pepper, black raspberry and boysenberry. Lovely fruit on the palate- ripe and sweet, but not overly so one way or the other. Vanilla, pepper, spice and underbrush notes adding complexity. Nicely balanced from the attack through the long finish. (93 pts.)

  • 2008 Aldo e Riccardo Seghesio Barolo - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo
    Garnet color with aromas of pepper, spice, red fruit, lavender, rose petals and hints of tar. Lovely palate with flavors of tar, roses and red fruit with a long finish. (92 pts.)

  • 2008 Chehalem Pinot Noir Ridgecrest RR - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Ribbon Ridge
    Ruby color with earthy red fruit and cherry notes and a nice underlying funky note. Balanced and elegant- dark fruit, cherry and earth qualities. Finishes nicely. (90-91 pts.)

  • 2009 K Vintners Syrah The Beautiful - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley
    Dark, inky color with notes of incense, black fruit, violets, blueberries and lavender. Full-bodied with firm, sweet tannins that support an abundance of fruit. Incense and blue fruit qualities on the long finish. (93+ pts.)

  • 2008 Renwood Zinfandel Fiddletown - USA, California, Sierra Foothills, Fiddletown
    Elegant. Florals, black raspberry and boysenberry aromas. Red and black fruit flavors with a long, balanced finish highlighted by spice and raspberry notes. (92 pts.)

  • 2000 Chateau Dereszla Tokaji Muskotály Late Harvest - Hungary, Hegyalja, Tokaji
    Deep amber color. Notes of honey, mango, pineapple and tropical fruit. Palate follows the bouquet; good underlying acidity and a long finish. (90-91 pts.)

  • 2001 Long Vineyards Johannisberg Riesling Botrytis - USA, California, Napa Valley
    Light golden yellow color. Pineapple, peach and stone fruit notes with flavors of tropical fruit, honey and marmalade and apricot jam. Long finish. (92 pts.)

Thanks to R&D for another fun tasting and to all for their contributions of wine, conversation & friendship.

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