Review: 2014 1000 Stories Bourbon Barrel Aged Zinfandel

Our third bourbon-barrel aged wine comes from Fetzer, which recently launched a new label: 1000 Stories. Unlike previous bottlings from Mondavi and Apothic, this is a straight zinfandel instead of a cabernet sauvignon or a blend (respectively). Need deets? Says Fetzer: The wine (sourced from Mendocino) is “aged in a combination of new bourbon barrels from Independent Stave Company, and old bourbon barrels from famed distilleries such as Heaven Hill and Four Roses.”

A didn’t have high hopes considering how rocky a start this category has gotten off to, but this is  a wine that comes off quite a bit better than expected. It’s extremely sweet from the get-go, but this is tempered by some big berry notes — blackberry and blueberry, plus ample milk chocolate, vanilla, and some tea leaf. Mild hints of coffee arrive on the finish, adding a layer of complexity I didn’t expect to find. That said, allow me to reiterate that this wine is a true sugar bomb, all jam and juicy raisins overwhelming a finish that may very well come across as simply too much. Those looking for nuance will need to apply elsewhere… but those looking for a well-made curiosity may get something out of it.

I’m not saying whiskey barrel-finished wines are going to be a great thing, or even a good thing… but if you are going to give one a try, 1000 Stories, for now, is the bottle to grab.

B / $15 / 1000storieswines.com

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