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2002 Storrs Zinfandel, Central Coast, California

It's been months since I had a Storrs wine, the last one (several actually) being a boatload of their Chardonnay which I served at my birthday party in April to everyone's satisfaction. Attending a party with a bunch of other food bloggers in San Francisco last night, I ended up with a glass or two of this and found it, while not the equal of their Chardonnay, definitely worthwhile.

Storrs is a small family run winery that is currently without an estate, having no vineyards to call home, but which makes wine from fruit sourced all over the Santa Cruz Mountains and Central Coast. Owned and operated by Stephen Storrs and his wife Pamela Bianchini-Storrs, the label started small in 1988, but with much acclaim, winning gold medals at the SF Wine Competition for their inaugural Riesling. The Storrs are trained (at UD Davis)in Viticulture and Enology respectively, making for a pretty handy team. They are a pretty small family operation at the moment, but are looking to expand with the purchase of their own estate just as soon as they can find the right piece of land somewhere in the Santa Cruz mountains, which they have staked out as their favorite appellation.

Unfortunately, as I didn't purchase this wine myself, and as it is a new release, I don't know much about the winemaking or where the grapes come from. In past vintages, the Storrs have sourced their Zinfandel grapes from the Rusty Ridge vineyard, a small vineyard (or more accurately, series of small vineyards) with old vines in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The fruit for this wine clearly comes from somewhere south of there, but whether it's Salinas, San Luis Obispo or other environs I do not know. It tastes like it didn't see much new oak, but definitely barrel fermented for a while, clocking in at 13.8% alcohol if my memory serves me correctly.

Tasting Notes:
Bright ruby in color this wine has a succulent nose of chocolate, blackberry bramble and blueberries. The body is just what the nose promised, a lush extracted mélange of chocolate, dark berry jam which finishes with a hint of bergamot and green wood, but without bitterness. This tastes more like a Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel than a Central Coast one, as it is missing the peppery aspects that I normally associate with wines from the coast.

Food Pairing:
This wine will go well with spicy BBQ and most meat dishes, especially grilled meats. I also happen to like drinking Zinfandel with some strong hard cheeses from Europe, like aged Piave or very old Gouda.

Overall Score: 8.5

How Much?: $26-30 I think

This is a brand new release that isn't in many stores yet I would guess, and hasn't even made an appearance online. If you're interested, I'd suggest giving the winery a call at: 831.458.5030

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