A week or so ago, I had a friend come visit me from the Sierra Foothills in Amador county. Knowing that I'm a wine nut, and in exchange for lodging for the weekend, he brought me a little something from up in his neck of the woods: this great example of a foothill Zinfandel from Villa Toscano.
The grapes for this wine come from 100 year old vines in Jim and Sue Fox's vineyard which is nestled in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. This small valley is located between the towns of Jackson and Placerville in the foothills of the Sierras east of Sacramento. These hot dry hills were originally planted with grapes by pioneers who ended their 3,000 mile journeys here, and by prospectors who came later, following the gold rush at the turn of the century.
A dark ruby in the glass, this wine has a lovely nose that at first smells of dried cherries and chocolate liqueur, and over time (24-48 hours) blossoms into ripe plum and loganberry aromas with a touch of vanilla. In the mouth it is extremely smooth with flavors of chocolate, vanilla, blackberries, and dried herbs, with a reasonable but not extraordinary finish.
Because it was open Ruth and I used some of it in a bolognese sauce that she made and then drank the rest of it with the meal. If you still have a NY Times Magazine lying around from several weeks ago there was an article that included this recipe, clip it. It's the best bolognese sauce I've ever had. While a wine that was slightly more tannic might have highlighted the earthiness of the sauce, it was a suitable complement.
Overall Score: 8.5
How much?: $18
This wine can be ordered directly from the winery's site.
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.
Drinking Time Itself: The Champagnes of Anselme Selosse The Great Prosecco Crisis of 2015 Vinography Unboxed: Week of May 17th, 2015 Vinography Images: Up in Flames California's Other Seven Percent Vinography Unboxed: Week of May 10, 2015 Vinography Images: Spring Dreams Tasting One Man's Experience: The Champagnes of Agrapart et Fil Vinography Unboxed: Week of May 4, 2015 Vinography Images: A Shaggy Guardian
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune