INSIDER’S PICK: 2017 ALFARO FAMILY VINEYARDS OLD VINE ZINFANDEL GIMELLI VINEYARD CIENGA VALLEY $23.99
Zinfandel gained a reputation for making wines that are often ‘super-sized’, full of alcohol and jammy sweetness. The many grocery store labels aren’t doing the reputation any favors either, weighing in routinely at sugar levels 2-3X more than what usually constitutes a ‘dry wine’. Some of that is the nature of the grape, naturally large in size with a dark skin that does well in warm areas, so it can carry a lot of natural sugars when fully ripe. But nurture definitely pushed the grape to the extreme, allowing the grapes to hang longer as well as a lot of large commercial vineyards over-fertilizing to supercharge the growth rate. With more and more older vineyards being looked at more as natural treasures, their sustainability is more of a concern and we see many being converted to more natural or Organic procedures. The difference is striking in the wines, routinely seeing more of the wines land in the lower 14%abv range as well as finishing with a much drier mouthfeel. Producers like Alfaro Family, long time vineyard managers and winemakers in the Santa Cruz Mountains, have been well ahead of this trend and just waiting for everyone else to catch up.
From the first pour, the inky dark Zin bursts with deep raspberry, purple flowers, and dark spices that fill the space around quite beautifully. What’s not there; heat, a heady aroma of booze, or sugary jellied fruits. The palate is even more impressive, backing the fruits with a hint of tart fruit skins and even acidity, making those blackberry tones taste right of the vine versus spread on your morning toast. There’s even a note of dusty tannins that show through on the finish, almost cranberry tart type sensation that lingers to the next sip. Extremely robust yet still very food friendly, this Zin comes from an era when the grape was enjoyed AT the table, not by putting you UNDER it.
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The Best of the Best.
We offering free tastings on these wines in the store every Thursday and Friday, and a 10% discount off the retail price through the duration of the day. Come on by and give them a try!