Review: Woodford Reserve Distillery Series Double Double Oaked (2018)

Back in 2015, Woodford Reserve launched its Distillery Series, one-off whiskeys that were (and are) only available at the distillery. One of the first whiskeys in this collection was the Woodford Reserve Distillery Series Double Double Oaked, which starts with Woodford Reserve Double Oaked, and finishes it for an additional year in a second, heavily toasted lightly charred new oak barrel.

The original was so popular that Woodford decided to bring it back, so today we look at this second release of Double Double Oaked.

As expected, the nose remains extremely wood-heavy, a burly, oaky lumberyard note that manages to find balance in notes of cloves, menthol, and a hint of dark chocolate. The palate is surprisingly lighter than the nose would indicate, with stronger chocolate notes, some cinnamon, and butterscotch. On the finish, it’s a bit racy, but baking spice and brown sugar notes temper it well.

All told, my tasting notes are similar to the 2015 edition, as is my rating. Definitely one to pick up if your travels take you to Kentucky!

90.4 proof.

A- / $50 (375ml) /

Review: Chisholm Trail/Stölzle Lausitz Jarritos Tequila and Mezcal Glassware

Does glassware make a difference? Whether wine or spirits, you bet it does. And that’s probably why Romeo Hristov has turned his attention to glassware for tequila and mezcal, where aroma plays a key role in a high-end tasting.

Hristov explains:

Since late 2016 Stölzle Lausitz GmbH (a German glass manufacturer that makes, among other items, the Glencairn whisky glasses) and I started the development and testing of new glasses for tequila and mezcal inspired by the drinking jars [jarritos] for pulque and mezcal. The use of this particular drinking vessel for alcoholic beverages from agave (most likely fermented, not distilled) goes back to the fourth century BC, but its shape is remarkably similar to the modern stemless tulip snifters, and offers an interesting blend from tradition and functionality.

These glasses are currently available as high-end hand-blown crystal glasses, but this year Hristov is aiming to bring out a more affordable machine-blown version. He sent a pair of glasses, one for tequila, one for mezcal, for us to check out. I’ve been experimenting with them with a variety of spirits, but primarily am analyzing them in their intended purpose, comparing performance to a standard Glencairn.

Some thoughts follow.

Chisholm Trail/Stölzle Lausitz Jarritos Tequila Glass (narrow mouth) – In tasting the tequila-intended jarrito, I found that a Glencairn focused the aromas more clearly at the top of the glass, though with very high-proof spirits, this can be a negative, as the jarrito allows more alcohol to evaporate more quickly. The glass is more effective with anejo tequilas than blancos (and it works very well with whiskey), as the spicier and sweeter elements of the spirit coalesce more clearly in its broader bowl. In actual use, the jarrito was also more successful at delivering tequila to the right part of the palate, though, and the overall shape of the glass is quite pleasing in the hand. A-

Chisholm Trail/Stölzle Lausitz Jarritos Mezcal Glass (wide mouth) – With mezcal, the wider jarrito first delivers a ton of smoke to the nose, but that blows off quickly, translating to a sweet and expressive palate. I definitely enjoyed drinking mezcal — which is traditionally served in a wide dish of sorts called a copita — more from the jarrito than a Glencairn, as it was more effective at opening up the spirit, allowing it to showcase more of its underlying charms. As with the above, the glass fits very well in the hand, working almost like a tumbler at times. A

prices TBD /

Tasting Report: Bordeaux and Sauternes, 2015 Vintage

2015 Bordeaux is now hitting the market, which means it was time for a legion of winemakers from all of the areas appellations to descend on the U.S. and show off their new releases. For the first time since I’ve been attending this show, I was actually able to sample every wine being poured (with the exception of a single wine which was all gone by the time I got to their booth). As such, I have to consider this my most complete look at a Bordeaux vintage to date.

Looking at 2015 as a whole, it’s a mixed year with some very bright spots and a whole lot of middling wines. If any region stands out, it’s Margaux, which had the overall strongest showing of the bunch, with three wines showing very well already. Two particular reds stood out in my tasting: Château Léoville Poyferré from Saint-Julien and Château Pichon Baron from Pauillac, both of which exude that intense, classic Bordeaux earthiness, but which are well balanced and already drinking well. On the sweet wine front, Château Doisy Daëne from the Barsac region is also a standout.

Complete (yet brief) notes on all wines tasted follow.

2015 Bordeaux Tasting Report

White Wines

2015 Château de Chantegrive Graves Blanc – bright and lemony. A-

2015 Château Carbonnieux Pessac-léognan Blanc – a slight vegetal note, lemon edges. B+
2015 Domaine de Chevalier Pessac-léognan Blanc – some nuttiness, rich finish. A-
2015 Chateau de Fieuzal Pessac-léognan Blanc – slightly muddy, but with solid fruit. B+
2015 Chateau de France Pessac-léognan Blanc – undistinguished. B
2015 Château Larrivet-Haut-Brion Pessac-léognan Blanc – very herbal, almost vegetal. B
2015 Château Latour-Martillac Pessac-léognan Blanc – very high acid, lots of tropical notes, New World style. B+
2015 Chateau La Louviere Pessac-léognan Blanc – slightly doughy. B
2015 Chateau Malartic-Lagraviere Pessac-léognan Blanc – simple, light peach notes. B
2015 Chateau Olivier Pessac-léognan Blanc – very perfumed, high in acid with lots of fruit. A-
2015 Château Pape Clément Pessac-léognan Blanc – cherry, moderate herbal profile. B
2015 Château Smith Haut-Lafitte Pessac-léognan Blanc – rather plain, undistinguished. B+

Red Wines

2015 Château de Chantegrive Graves Rouge – heavy cinnamon and nutmeg notes; unusual. B+

2015 Château Carbonnieux Pessac-léognan Rouge – nutty with bacon notes. B
2015 Chateau les Carmes Haut-Brion Rouge – lighter style, some vanilla and wood notes. B+
2015 Domaine de Chevalier Pessac-léognan Rouge – pungent and ripe, lots of spices. B+
2015 Chateau de Fieuzal Pessac-léognan Rouge – gritty, bacony with dusky spices. B
2015 Chateau de France Pessac-léognan Rouge – thin, quiet. B
2015 Chateau Haut-Bailly Pessac-léognan Rouge – fruity, lighter body, fragrant finish. B+
2015 Château Larrivet-Haut-Brion Pessac-léognan Rouge – thick berry notes, bursting with fruit. B+
2015 Château Latour-Martillac Pessac-léognan Rouge – high acid, some vegetal character. B
2015 Chateau La Louviere Pessac-léognan Rouge – engaging, plump and spicy. A-
2015 Chateau Malartic-Lagraviere Pessac-léognan Rouge – thinner, some nuttiness. B
2015 Chateau Olivier Pessac-léognan Rouge – pencil lead and some dried berry notes. B+
2015 Château Pape Clément Pessac-léognan Rouge – tough, some vegetal character. B-
2015 Château Smith Haut-Lafitte Pessac-léognan Rouge – highly spiced, bold fruit profile. A-

2015 Chateau Beau-Sejour Becot Saint-Emilion Grand Cru – weedy and heavy with vegetation, intense tannins. B-
2015 Château Canon Saint-Emilion Grand Cru – undercooked, vegetal. B-
2015 Château Canon-La-Gaffelière Saint-Emilion Grand Cru – expressive berry notes atop layers of earth. A-
2015 Chateau La Couspaude Saint-Emilion Grand Cru – funky, big barnyard character. C+
2015 Chateau Dassault Saint-Emilion Grand Cru – balanced, notes of spice, fruit, and wet earth. A-
2015 Chateau La Dominique Saint-Emilion Grand Cru – somewhat tight, has promise over time. B+
2015 Clos Fourtet Saint-Émilion Grand Cru – lively, with notes of cloves, lots of fruit. A-
2015 Château La Gaffelière Saint-Émilion Grand Cru – dusty, short on the palate, green notes. C+
2015 Château Grand Mayne Saint-Émilion Grand Cru – thin, uninspired, weedy. C+
2015 Chateau Larcis Ducasse Saint-Emilion Grand Cru – fresh and balanced, fruity, herbal, and lightly earthy. A-
2015 Chateau Pavie Macquin Saint-Emilion Grand Cru – surprising, big blueberry and cocoa powder notes, tight with acidity. A-
2015 Chateau Villemaurine Saint-Emilion Grand Cru – heavy earth, quite tannic. B-
2015 Chateau Valandraud Saint-Emilion Grand Cru – a thick wine, with cassis, wet earth, and tobacco notes. A-
[get more 2015 Saint-Emilion wine reviews here]

2015 Château Beauregard Pomerol – restrained, meaty and leathery notes beneath a dusky fruitiness. B+
2015 Château La Cabanne Pomerol – a bit watery, dry earth notes. B-
2015 Château Clinet Pomerol – herbal edge, wet earth and dried spices. B-
2015 Château Gazin Pomerol – bold earth, tannic. B
2015 Château Rouget Pomerol – chewy fruit, bright and fresh. A-

2015 Château Clarke Listrac-Médoc – heavily floral, but a bit of wet dog in the mix, too. B
2015 Château Fourcas Hosten Listrac-Médoc – a ton of grip, slate notes. B

2015 Château Chasse-Spleen Moulis-en-Médoc – austere and a bit dusty, green and short. B
2015 Château Maucaillou Moulis-en-Médoc – strongly beefy, wet earth. B-
2015 Château Poujeaux Moulis-en-Médoc – quite dusty, heavily earthy. B-

2015 Château Beaumont Haut-Médoc – floral notes atop light fruit. B+
2015 Château de Camensac Haut-Médoc – blackberry and tar, graphite notes. B
2015 Château Cantemerle Haut-Médoc – brighter fruit, with a medicinal edge. B
2015 Château Citran Haut-Médoc – very tannic, tar and dried fruit; currant notes. B+
2015 Château Coufran Haut-Médoc – unusual, with black fruits, tobacco, and eucalyptus notes. B+
2015 Château La Lagune Haut-Médoc – gentle earth, lots of dried fruits and savory spices. B+
2015 Château La Tour Carnet Haut-Médoc – a wonderful fruitiness, blueberry heavy, with some spice. A-

2015 Château La Tour de By Médoc – bold fruit, some eucalyptus, herbs. A-

2015 Château Brane-Cantenac Margaux – tight, a bit rubbery, with some spice on the finish. B+
2015 Château Cantenac Brown Margaux – heavy acidity, earthy tannin and vegetal notes. B-
2015 Château Dauzac Margaux – bold fruit with notes of earth and spice, lingering almond notes. A-
2015 Château Durfort-Vivens Margaux – chewy and expressive, blackberries and spice. A-
2015 Château Ferriere Margaux – wet earth notes linger, some greenery. B
2015 Château Giscours Margaux – balanced, with a tart, dried fruit edge; floral at times. A-
2015 Château Kirwan Margaux – some slate notes, floral elements, with a long finish of dried fruit. B+
2015 Château Lascombes Margaux – heavily trannic, some spice. B
2015 Château Malescot Saint-Exupery Margaux – big tobacco notes, learthery, with lingering dried fruit notes. B+
2015 Château Marquis de Terme Margaux – cherry, plus some spice; quite tannic. B
2015 Château Prieure-Lichine Margaux – boldly fruity, fresh and ready to go but uncomplex. B+
2015 Château Rauzan-Segla Margaux – bold strawberry and blueberry character. A-
2015 Château Siran Margaux – tight and earthy. B-
2015 Château du Tertre Margaux – leather, pungent with green notes; some underlying fruit. B

2015 Château Beychevelle Saint-Julien – expressively fruity, with a big berry character balanced by grippy tannins; lots of promise here. A-
2015 Château Branaire-Ducru Saint-Julien – boldly earthy, some oxidized notes. B-
2015 Château Gloria Saint-Julien – undistinguished. B
2015 Château Gruaud Larose Saint-Julien – light body, with lush fruit and some spices. B+
2015 Château Lagrange Saint-Julien – very dry, intense herbal and leather notes. B
2015 Château Langoa Barton Saint-Julien – some astringency; tobacco and vegetal flavors. B-
2015 Château Léoville Barton Saint-Julien – slightly thin, a bit green and gummy. B-
2015 Château Léoville Poyferré Saint-Julien – quite dense, expressive, fully of flowers, dry berries, some earth; beautiful balance, perhaps the best wine of the tasting. A
2015 Château Saint-Pierre Saint-Julien – very earthy, with pungent vegetal notes. B-
2015 Château Talbot Saint-Julien – dry and restrained. B

2015 Château d’Armailhac Pauillac – cherry and ample blackberry notes, some spices. A-
2015 Château Clerc Milon Pauillac – very acidic, almost oxidized, heavy dust. B
2015 Château Grand-Puy-Ducasse Pauillac – very dry, tannic; still developing. B
2015 Château Haut-Bages Libéral Pauillac – thinner, but an exuberant fruitiness shows through. B-
2015 Château Lynch-Bages Pauillac – lots of depth, earthy but rounded with fresh tobacco and some leather. A-
2015 Château Lynch-Moussas Pauillac – loads of earth and grippy tannins, developing. B
2015 Château Pichon Baron Pauillac – lots of depth, huge spice and leather notes; excellent balance. A
2015 Château Pichon-Longueville Pauillac – big cassis notes, tobacco; quite dry. B+

2015 Château Cos Labory Saint-Estèphe – some green notes, lots of earth. B
2015 Château Lafon-Rochet Saint-Estèphe – expressive, boldly spicy; some nutty notes. A-
2015 Château Ormes de Pez Saint-Estèphe – quite fruity; blueberries and strawberries galore. B+
2015 Château de Pez Saint-Estèphe – lots of earth and some acid, which brightens up the body. B+
2015 Château Phélan Ségur Saint-Estèphe – dry, earthy; quite tight, needs lots of time. B

Sweet Wines

2015 Château Coutet Sauternes-Barsac – highly acidic, bold lemon and lime. B+
2015 Château Doisy Daëne Barsac – heavy honey and spice notes, enchanting fruit. A
2015 Château de Fargues Sauternes – well honeyed, with tropical notes. B+
2015 Château Guiraud Sauternes – peach heavy, with a rustic edge; a bit vegetal. B
2015 Château Haut-Peyraguey Sauternes – simple structure, herbal edge. B+
2015 Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey Sauternes – brighter, with lemon notes. A-
2015 Château Suduiraut Sauternes – ruddy, with dark honey notes and some nuts. A-

Review: Brewery Ommegang 20th Anniversary Ale

Cooperstown, New York-based Brewery Ommegang has been in the business of making Belgian-style beers for two decades now, and to mark the milestone they released their 20th Anniversary Ale late last year. It’s a Belgian dark ale aged for more than five months in Buffalo Trace bourbon barrels. While bourbon barrel aging is a booming trend among brewers, it’s not something typically seen with Belgian-style beers. We couldn’t resist picking one of these up over the holidays, and our tasting notes follow.

The beer pours a very dark amber color with a light head. The nose is mild but complex with caramel, chocolate, and plenty of dark dried fruit. The body is big and silky. It’s not overly sweet on the palate, which can be a problem for some barrel-aged beers, and there’s minimal bitterness. A bit of spice is present among the beer’s variety of flavors: apricot, cherry, cream soda, and juicy raisin notes. The bourbon barrel aging serves to tie all of that together with a generous sorghum and vanilla sweetness that hangs on well after the other flavors have faded. All in all, 20th Anniversary Ale is a fitting celebration for Brewery Ommegang. Here’s to 20 more years!

11.5% abv.

A- / $20 per 750ml bottle /

Review: Copper Fox Peachwood American Single Malt

Many craft distillers today are producing good (if young) whiskey. Unfortunately, too many are bringing nothing that’s really new to the market and asking a hefty premium over quality bottles from the bigger distilleries. It’s perhaps the biggest challenge of America’s craft whiskey movement: to create not just good whiskey but good whiskey that’s also unique.

Creativity is something not lacking at Copper Fox Distillery in Sperryville, Virginia. As an early East Coast pioneer of American single malt, its founder, Rick Wasmund, took lessons from Scottish tradition (they’re the first distillery in North America to install a malt floor and kiln) and combined them with completely original techniques like the use of different fruitwood smoke in their malt. The latest addition to their line-up, Peachwood American Single Malt, is perhaps their most unique endeavor to date, relying on peachwood as both a smoking medium during kiln drying and as a maturing catalyst inside the barrels. Surprisingly, much of the process behind the single malt is spelled out on the label, from the type of still used to the barrel entry proof to the ppm (parts per million) of Virginia peachwood smoke used in the malting. It’s clearly something different, but how does it taste?

On the nose, Peachwood American Single Malt is like a candied campfire. It’s sweet with a blend of toasted grain, ripe peach, and mesquite aromas. On the palate, the whisky showcases a great balance of sweet and savory with vanilla, clove, and citrus complemented by toasted oak, a briny smokiness, and gentle heat. The peachwood is less of a factor on the palate than on the nose, which is probably for the best, but it seems to have created some welcome, honeyed citrus notes not found in the distillery’s standard single malt offering. The finish is slightly drying, but still manages to carry those complex initial flavors for a decent length until they erode into smoke and caramel sweetness. It’s a well-made and extremely interesting single malt — and it’s just what the craft whiskey world could use a little more of.

96 proof.

A / $54 /

Review: Not Your Father’s Bourbon

After giving alcoholic root beer, ginger ale, and cream soda a spin, the “Not Your Father’s” brand has moved on up to hard spirits. Its first product in the category is an obvious one: Not Your Father’s Bourbon, a flavored bourbon which claims “a touch of vanilla” as its only adulterant.

Let’s give it a shot.

The nose is plenty sweet, with notes of sugar cookies, ample vanilla, and hints of cinnamon red hot candies. It’s whiskey, to be sure, but particularly bourbonish notes are elusive; though the hint of caramel corn and some rustic burlap notes at least nod in that direction.

The palate is well-sweetened although, perhaps, it is indeed “not too sweet” as the label indicates. For those with a distinct sugar fixation, NYFB will hit the spot with a candylike vanilla hit, a light note of milk chocolate, cinnamon, and a more evident popcorn note. The finish is on the racy side, again calling back more to cinnamon than vanilla, though both linger on the tongue.

It’s perfectly acceptable for a flavored whiskey, nothing to write home about but harmless, at least as a mixer, though one has to wonder: What was wrong with your father’s bourbon? It wasn’t sweet enough? Hands down I prefer my bourbon with less sweetness than this, as sugar tends to overpower the more delicate flavors that the whiskey might possess.

The back label of the bottle asks, “Why do flavored whiskeys always taste more like the flavor than the actual whiskey?”

To which I reply, “Why flavor the whiskey at all?”

86 proof.

B- / $25 /

Tasting Report: ZAP Zinfandel Experience 2018

First, some housekeeping. ZAP is shorthand for Zinfandel Advocates & Producers, and around these parts they’re best known for a massive showcase of zinfandel wines that happens in January of each year. That showcase is currently called the Zinfandel Experience (though there are additional events), but most attendees just shorthand it as ZAP.

ZAP had a bad reputation for many years — attendees drawn by the cheap tickets and easy-drinking, higher-alcohol wine would come in droves, packing San Francisco’s massive waterfront event halls, drinking literally until they were sick. It was commonly said that you weren’t really experiencing ZAP until someone was throwing up over directly into San Francisco Bay. My last ZAP attendance was way back in 2010.

Things have changed in recent years, for the better. The show is smaller now, tickets are more expensive (keeping out those looking for a cheap buzz), and the event is complemented by a number of booths offering substantial, delightful foods designed to pair with Zin. While ZAP used to have a reputation for jamming a lot of low-end wines into the show, this year’s event was chock full of top bottlings, which really surprised me. Some of my favorites hailed from Dashe and Howell Mountain Winery, but I want to give special notice to Day, a new winery run by Ehren Jordan, formerly of Turley, and a sister winery of Failla.

Complete notes on everything tasted — watch for those library wines in the mix — follow.

2018 ZAP Zinfandel Experience Complete Tasting Report

2016 Bedrock Zinfandel Schmidt Road – very astringent. C
2016 Bedrock Zinfandel Esola Vineyard – concentrated, edgy. B+
2016 Bedrock Zinfandel Limerick Lane Vineyard – a bit sweeter, with some green notes. B

2016 Dashe Cellars Les Enfants Terribles Cuvee – made with carbonic maceration techniques; quote heavy with fruit. B
2014 Dashe Cellars Zinfandel Louvau Vineyard Block 2 – intricate with cola and tea leaf, a slight tobacco note. A
2015 Dashe Cellars Zinfandel DCV – more floral. A-
2015 Dashe Cellars Zinfandel Todd Brothers Ranch – very dry, austere. A-
2014 Dashe Cellars Zinfandel Todd Brothers Ranch – similar, more floral. A-
2015 Dashe Cellars The Comet – a blend; a bit over-dulled by earth. B

2016 Day Zinfandel Sonoma County – very fresh and concentrated, heavy with fruit and jam. A-
2015 Day Zinfandel Grist Vineyard – bold body with a stronger wood influence, racy acidity. A-
2015 Day Zinfandel El Diablo Vineyard Russian River Valley
– fresh, some eucalyptus, loads of spices. A-
2015 Day Zinfandel Audrey Russian River Valley
– a barrel selection of El Diablo; quite similar, with more of an oak influence, slightly herbacious. A-

2015 Dry Creek Valley V7 Estate Zinfandel – intense eucalyptus, blackberry notes. A-
2015 Dry Creek Valley Spencer’s Hill Vineyard Zinfandel – spicy, but otherwise quite straightforward. B

2011 Hartford Russian River Valley Old Vine Zinfandel Hartford Vineyard – a hint of earth, ample baking spice. B+
2012 Hartford Russian River Valley Old Vine Zinfandel Highwire Vineyard – still lively, with cedar box and a slight ash note. B+
2015 Hartford Russian River Valley Old Vine Zinfandel Highwire Vineyard 
– still quite tannin, lots of earthy notes. B+
2016 Hartford Russian River Valley Old Vine Zinfandel
– lush, with strawberry and blackberry notes, some figs; a lot going on here. A-
2014 Hartford Russian River Valley Old Vine Zinfandel Jolene’s Vineyard
– some eucalyptus, blackberry bramble notes. A-
2012 Hartford Russian River Valley Old Vine Zinfandel Jolene’s Vineyard
– austere, with tannic grip. B+

2014 Howell Mountain Old Vine Zinfandel – very fragrant and floral, loads of fruit here. A-
2015 Howell Mountain Beatty Ranch Zinfandel – intense, freshly fruity with an edge of cola. A-

2015 Limerick Lane Zinfandel Russian River Valley – very heavy blackberry notes, figs, quite unique. A
2015 Limerick Lane Zinfandel 1901 Block – similar notes, but higher in acid, less body. A-
2015 Limerick Lane Zinfandel Rocky Knoll
– a fruit bomb, with grippy cocoa powder and baking spice notes. B+
2015 Limerick Lane Zinfandel “1023”
– a zin/syrah/grenache blend; a bit doughy, lots of slate and pepper. B

2015 Mazzocco Briar Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley – blueberry pie, cocoa, ripe fruit. B+
2015 Mazzocco Verano Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley – similar, with some herbal notes, more restraint. B+
 Mazzocco Maple Reserve Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley – more nuanced, with fresh herbs and some cola notes. B+

2016 Quivira Black Boar Zinfandel (barrel sample) – bold, heavy with cocoa. B
2015 Quivira Black Boar Zinfandel – underdeveloped. B-
2015 Quivira Anderson Ranch
Zinfandel – lots of fruit, but unfocused beyond that. B-

2016 Ridge Zinfandel Jimsomare (barrel sample) – elegant and very floral, orange flowers and incense. A-
2016 Ridge Demostene Ranch – a blend; quite light, with a strange caramel note. B-
2016 Ridge Zinfandel Carmichael (barrel sample) – cherry, tar, meaty notes; some graphite. B+
2016 Ridge Zinfandel Mazzoni Home Ranch (barrel sample)
– better balance, lots of meat on the back end. B+
2016 Ridge Zinfandel Buchignani Ranch
– a bit tight, pencil lead notes. B+
2016 Ridge Zinfandel East Bench
– very restrained with tons of graphite, brambles. B+

2013 Robert Biale Zinfandel R.W. Moore Vineyard – iconic styling, jammy but also a bit thin. B+
2016 Robert Biale Zinfandel Old Kraft Vineyard 
– lighter in style, veering toward spice; balanced. A-
2016 Robert Biale Black Chicken Zinfandel
– very concentrated chocolate and spice notes. A-

2014 Rock Wall Zinfandel Jessie’s Vineyard – intense chocolate, coffee notes. B+
2014 Rock Wall Zinfandel Pearl Hart Reserve – similar as the above, more leathery. B
2016 Rock Wall Zinfandel Monte Rosso Vineyard
– brambly, with blueberry notes. B
2010 Rock Wall Zinfandel Monte Rosso Vineyard
– mellowing well, showing acidity and a gentler fruit profile. A-

2016 Seghesio Sonoma Zinfandel – hugely spicy, lots of pepper. B+
2015 Seghesio Rockpile Vineyard Zinfandel – lots of cocoa, spice, lightly sweet. B+
2015 Seghesio Cortina Zinfandel – ample spice, lots of grip here. B+
2015 Seghesio Old Vine Zinfandel – bold blueberry and chocolate notes. B+
2015 Seghesio Home Ranch Zinfandel – the best for last, with notes of pencil lead, toasty wood, and coal, balancing the fruit. A-

2005 Tres Sabores Estate Zinfandel – fresh and lively, plenty of acidity. A-
2010 Tres Sabores Estate Zinfandel – mostly dry, dense earth notes. A-
2015 Tres Sabores Rutherford Perspective Zinfandel
– similarly dry, but a bit undercooked. B+
2014 Tres Sabores ¿Por Que No? Napa Valley Red Wine Blend
– a big odd, gamy. B

2016 Turley Juvenile Zinfandel – bold cocoa notes, balanced with spices. A-
2016 Turley Whitney Tennessee ZInfandel
– great balance, racy with acid, solid tannins. B+
2016 Turley Rattesnake Ridge Vineyard ZInfandel
– meaty but balanced with notes of dried fruit. B+
2016 Turley Hayne Vineyard Zinfandel (barrel sample)
– heavy herbs, some Jolly Rancher notes. B+
2006 Turley Hayne Vineyard Zinfandel – a bit Port-like, with a touch of oxidation; austere and engaging. A-

2015 Wilson Monte Rosso Reserve Zinfandel – huge blueberry notes, with tons of fruit, tea leaf, and a long, semi-sweet finish. B+
2014 Wilson Kenneth Carl Zinfandel – chewy and brambly, with blueberry and some gentle nuttiness. A-
2015 Wilson Rockpile Zinfandel – cocoa heavy, with lots of mixed berry notes. B+