WTN: Scary zin!

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WTN: Scary zin!

Postby Otto » Tue Jun 25, 2013 3:50 pm

US wines are so rare in this corner of northern Europe that, in the name of science, I buy a bottle of every single one that becomes available (except the one time we got a "cult" - I couldn't afford that). Our most recent arrival is a Sbragia Family Vineyards Zinfandel "La Promessa" 2009 from Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma.

The question first: Everything I read about this bottle before opening it spoke of it being very true to the Dry Creek Valley style of Zinfandel. I have no idea what that style is. And with so few US bottles available here, I don't think I will ever be able to find out empirically, so can some explain theoretically what this means?

And then my impressions: Yikes! As one who loves Beaujolais and the Loire I perhaps shouldn't have bought - not even in the of science - an unfortified wine that has 16% abv. It is very spicy, oaky and has much berry aromas. Once it warms up from the cellar temperature of 15° C the alcohol becomes off-puttingly obvious. For such high alcohol the palate is amazingly harmonious: much fruit, much ripeness, fairly low acidity and tannins, and only a bit of heat on the finish. More palatable to one of my tastes than the numbers on the tech sheet suggested, but not one that I want to drink more than a small glass of. I think I'll stick to Ridge for Zin from now on.
I don't drink wine because of religious reasons ... only for other reasons.
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Re: WTN: Scary zin!

Postby Mark Lipton » Tue Jun 25, 2013 3:59 pm

Otto,
If you have access to Ridge wines, the Lytton Springs bottling contains Dry Creek Valley Zin (along with 4-5 other grapes in the field blend). The spice and berries part is indeed DCV, but the oak is of course the winemaker's imprint. Low acidity and high alcohol is the current style for Zin, though the pendulum may be swinging back in the other direction. For some less offensive examples of DCV Zin, look to Dashe and Nalle (and Dry Creek Vineyards mayhap), none of which I expect will be found within 1000 km of Alko. If you can travel to Germany in late July, I will hand carry a bottle or two for you. Short of that, you'll have to wait for one of us to visit your fair land.

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Re: WTN: Scary zin!

Postby Shaji M » Tue Jun 25, 2013 4:29 pm

Otto,
As Mark mentioned, Dry Creek Zins are known for being spicy and with berry notes..notable raspberries. In Dry Creek, the wine making style can range from being subtle (as subtle as Zin can manage) and complex to wines that should only be used as jet fuel. I haven't had the Sbagria, but I would add Unti and Mauritson to the list of good DVC Zins. Odds are good that you won't find them in Finland :(
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Re: WTN: Scary zin!

Postby Bob Henrick » Tue Jun 25, 2013 6:13 pm

Otto,

Ed Sbragia was for many years the head winemaker for Beringer wines. I don't know when it happened, but obviously at some point he left Beringer wines. In my mind Sbragia was responsible for putting Beringer on the map. He was surely responsible for the upscale wines at Beringer such as the reserve cabs and reserve chards. I believe He also was the one responsible for the Knights Valley cabernet sauvignon. The KV cab was as close to a reserve wine as one could get without the price. Sadly the price rose and the quality fell beginning with the 1995 vintage, which was the last one I bought in any number. Actually every time I tried a 95, I wished I had not invested. I've tasted some in recent years and they seem to have risen in quality, but IMO not to the $25 level they sell at. Note I said they sell, just not to me.
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Yup....

Postby TomHill » Tue Jun 25, 2013 7:13 pm

Mark Lipton wrote:Otto,
If you have access to Ridge wines, the Lytton Springs bottling contains Dry Creek Valley Zin (along with 4-5 other grapes in the field blend). The spice and berries part is indeed DCV, but the oak is of course the winemaker's imprint. Low acidity and high alcohol is the current style for Zin, though the pendulum may be swinging back in the other direction. For some less offensive examples of DCV Zin, look to Dashe and Nalle (and Dry Creek Vineyards mayhap), none of which I expect will be found within 1000 km of Alko. If you can travel to Germany in late July, I will hand carry a bottle or two for you. Short of that, you'll have to wait for one of us to visit your fair land.
Mark Lipton


Mark's pretty much dead-on here, Otto.
The Sbragia is hardly what I'd characterize as quintessential DCV Zin. Too big & overripe.
To me, DCV Zin is bright/zippy/loaded w/ raspberries/very spicy...and can be North of 15% alc, but not usually.
Even a maker of big Zins, like MikeOfficer/Carlisle, can make a big Zin that reflects DCV.
Ridge/Nalle/Dashe (not the l'Infant Terribles, though) are good choices. Even better, and much more available in your neck
of the woods, would be the DryCreekVnyd HeriitageClone Zin. Reasonably priced as well and pretty much quintessential Zin.
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Re: WTN: Scary zin!

Postby Brian K Miller » Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:50 am

I like Quivera, which seems to be quite light, almost elegant, even, for DCV Zins.

Dry Creek is one of my favorite places on earth, though. For cycling espscially.
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