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02.02.2010

The Best Zinfandels in California: Tasting at ZAP 2010

With a line snaking halfway around the parking lot by 2:00 PM, it might be easy to say that Zinfandel might be one of the more recession proof wines in California. The fact that very good bottles can be had for about $20 certainly means that there's probably a lot more Zinfandel being consumed these days than, say, Meritage blends.

Once inside the annual Zinfandel Advocates and Producers Festival it was clear, however, that far fewer wineries were pouring this year than in the past, though the crowd was no ZAP2010.jpgless lively (I didn't stay until 5 PM when people normally are at their sloppiest and most boisterous).

It's a little bit of a shame, however, as the 2007 and 2008 wines on offer were on the whole, quite good. Both vintages seem characterized by good acidity (especially the 2007s which seemed more perfect in terms of ripeness levels) and my favorite producers' wines were quite uniformly excellent.

I tasted about 220 wines this year, focusing on my usual combination of folks I know well and those I don't, with an effort to try a bunch of the newest members of the ZAP association, who were clearly marked in the tasting booklet.

For those willing to spend between $20 and $35 on a bottle of wine, there are some really killer wines on the market (or soon to be) that are all candidates for bringing anyone who doesn't know much or care much for Zinfandel into the fold.

Without further ado:


WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 9.5
2007 Dashe Cellars "Florence Vineyard" Dry Creek Valley. $32. Click to buy.
2007 Gamba Vineyards and Winery "Estate Old Vine" Russian River Valley. $43. Click to buy.
2001 Moss Creek Winery "Estate" Napa Valley.
2008 Outpost Estate Wines. $??. Click to buy.
2007 Rosenblum Cellars "Maggie's Reserve" Sonoma Valley. $45. Click to buy.
2008 Sandler Wine Company "Sandler Buck Hill Vineyard" Dry Creek Valley. $30. Click to buy.
2007 T-Vine Cellars Napa Valley. $43. Click to buy.
2007 T-Vine Cellars "Brown Vineyard" Napa Valley. $36. Click to buy.
2008 Turley Wine Cellars "Hayne Vineyard" Napa Valley. $75.
2007 Valdez Family Winery "Bottlicelli Rock Pile" Dry Creek Valley. $41. Click to buy.
2007 Valdez Family Winery "Quinn" Dry Creek Valley. $38. Click to buy.


WINES SCORING BETWEEN 9 AND 9.5
2007 Brown Estate "Chaos Theory Red Wine" Napa Valley. $36
2007 Chiarello Family Vineyards "Giana" Napa Valley. $35
2006 D-Cubed Cellars Napa Valley. $27
2006 D-Cubed Cellars Howell Mountain. $37
2007 Dashe Cellars "Todd Brothers Ranch Old Vines" Alexander Valley. $32
2007 Dashe Cellars "Louveau Vineyard" Dry Creek Valley. $32
2007 Fritz Winery "Reserve" Dry Creek Valley. $40
2008 Gamba Vineyards and Winery "Moratto Vineyard" Russian River Valley. $43
2008 Gamba Vineyards and Winery Russian River Valley. $35
2007 Hartford Family Winery "Russian River" Russian River Valley. $35
2007 Hartford Family Winery "Hartford Estate" Russian River Valley. $55
2008 Hartford Family Winery "Highwire Vineyard" Russian River Valley. $55
2007 Mantra Wines Alexander Valley. $30
2007 Mantra Wines "Old Vines Reserve" Alexander Valley. $??
2006 Milliaire Winery "Ghiradelli" Calaveras. $28
2006 Milliaire Winery "Old Vine" Calaveras. $22
2008 Novy Family Wines Russian River Valley. $20
2007 Orin Swift Cellars "Saldo" California. $28
2006 OTTIMINO "Estate" Russian River Valley. $28
2008 Ridge Vineyards "Pagani Ranch" Sonoma Valley. $35
2008 Robert Biale Vineyards "Varozza Vineyard" St. Helena. $40
2007 Rosenblum Cellars "Rockile Road" Sonoma. $35
2007 Saddleback Cellars "Old Vine" Napa Valley. $36
2008 Sandler Wine Company "The Industrial" Dry Creek Valley. $35
2007 Scott Harvey Wines "Vineyard 1869" Amador County. $45
2006 T-Vine Cellars "T Blend" Napa Valley. $40
2008 Turley Wine Cellars "Old Vines" California. $25
2007 Valdez Family Winery "Landy" Russian River Valley. $38
2007 Venge Vineyards "Scout's Honor" Napa Valley. $38
2007 Wilson Winery & Vineyards "Carl's Vineyard" Dry Creek Valley. $32
2007 Woodenhead Vintners "Martinelli Road Vineyard" Russian River. $??


WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 9
2007 Acorn Winery / Alegria Vineyards "Heritage Vines" Alegria Vineyards, Russian River Valley. $35
2008 Baldwin Vineyards "Rattlesnake Ridge" Sonoma Valley. $50
2006 Ballentine Vineyards "Old Vine Estate" Napa Valley. $20
2007 Ballentine Vineyards "Block 9 Reserve Estate" Napa Valley. $27
2006 Ballentine Vineyards "Block 11 Estate" Napa Valley. $25
2007 Bella Vineyards & Wine Caves "Two Patch" Alexander Valley. $38
2006 Bradford Mountain Winery "Grist Vineyard" Dry Creek Valley. $34
2008 Brown Estate Napa Valley. $36
2006 Carol Shelton "Rocky Reserve" Florence Vineyard, Rockpile. $33
2007 Cedarville Vineyard "Estate "El Dorado. $20
2007 Cesar Toxqui Cellars Mendocino. $??
2007 DH Gustafson Family Vineyards "Estate" Dry Creek Valley. $36
2007 Downing Family Vineyards"Fly by Night"Napa Valley. $24
2006 Easton Wines "Rinaldi Vineyard" Fiddletown. $28
2007 Frank Family Vineyards Napa Valley. $37
2006 Franz Hill Vineyard Napa Valley. $32
2007 Fritz Winery "Estate" Dry Creek Valley. $25
2006 Hartford Family Winery "Russian River Valley" Russian River Valley. $35
2006 Hendry "Block 28" Napa Valley. $30
2006 Hendry "Block 7 & 22" Napa Valley. $30
2006 J. Rickards Winery & Vineyards "Ancestors" Alexander Valley. $22
2007 J. Rickards Winery & Vineyards "Ancestor Selection Block" Alexander Valley. $22
2007 Klinker Brick Winery "Old Ghost Old Vine" Lodi. $37
2007 Kokomo Winery "Perotti Vineyard" Dry Creek Valley. $34
2005 Ledson Winery & Vineyards"Old Vine"Russian River Valley. $48
2007 Mauritson Family Vineyard "Rockpile Ridge Vineyard" Rockpile. $35
2006 Milliaire Winery "Clockspring" Amador. $24
2005 Miraflores Winery Sierra Foothills. $22
2007 Miraflores Winery Sierra Foothills. $22
2006 Papapietro Perry "Elsbree Vineyard" Russian River Valley. $37
2005 Proulx Winery "Jack Barrett" Paso Robles. $32
2008 Ridge Vineyards "Lytton Springs" Dry Creek Valley. $35
2008 Ridge Vineyards "Ponzo Vineyard" Russian River Valley. $28
2008 Ridge Vineyards Paso Robles. $30
2008 Ridge Vineyards "Buchignani Ranch" Sonoma. $28
2008 Robert Biale Vineyards "Napa Ranch Vineyard" Napa Valley. $38
2007 Rusina Wines Dry Creek Valley. $30
2007 Rusina Wines Alexander Valley. $28
2006 Sbragia Family Vineyards "Gino's Vineyard" Dry Creek Valley. $28
NV Sextant Wines Central Coast. $49
2006 Storrs Winery "Rusty Ridge" Bay Area. $30
2007 Storrs Winery Central Coast. $20
2007 Storybook Mountain Wines "Mayacamas Range Estate" Napa. $34
2007 Thacher Winery "Triumvurate" Paso Robles. $30
2007 Truchard Vineyards "Estate" Carneros. $25
2007 Wilson Winery & Vineyards "Sawyer Vineyard" Dry Creek Valley. $32
2007 Wilson Winery & Vineyards "Tori's Vineyard" Dry Creek Valley. $44
2007 Woodenhead Vintners "Guido Venturi Vineyard" Mendocino. $??
2006 Woodenhead Vintners "Martinelli Road Vineyard" Russian River. $??

WINES SCORING BETWEEN 8.5 AND 9
2006 Acorn Winery / Alegria Vineyards "Heritage Vines" Alegria Vineyards, Russian River Valley. $35
2008 Bedrock Wine Company "Lorenzo's Heirloon" Dry Creek Valley. $35
2007 Bella Vineyards & Wine Caves "Lily Hill" Dry Creek Valley. $38
2007 Bella Vineyards & Wine Caves "Big River Ranch" Alexander Valley. $38
2006 Benessere "BK Collins Old Vines" Napa. $40
2006 Carol Shelton "Wild Thing" Cox Vineyard, Mendocino County. $24
2007 Carol Shelton "Monga Zin" Lopez Vineyard, Cucamonga Valley. $21
2006 Carol Shelton "Karma Zin" Sonoma County. $33
2007 Claudia Springs Winery "John Ricetti" Redwood Valley. $24
2007 Dancing Lady Wines "Old Vine" Della Costa Family Vineyard, Alexander Valley. $27
2008 Dashe Cellars Dry Creek Valley. $24
2007 Deep Purple Winery Lodi. $??
2006 DH Gustafson Family Vineyards "Mountain Cuvee" Dry Creek Valley. $24
2006 Downing Family Vineyards "Fly by Night" Napa Valley. $24
2006 Easton Wines "Estate" Shenandoah Valley. $32
2005 Easton Wines "Old Vines" Shenandoah Valley. $??
2005 Easton Wines "Estate" Shenandoah Valley. $??
2007 GiaDomella Russian River. $26
2007 Gundlach Bundschu Sonoma Valley. $38
2007 Harney Lane Winery "Old Vine" Lizzy James Vineyard, Lodi. $33
2007 Haywood Estates "Morning Sun" Sonoma Valley. $38
2006 Hendry "Block 7 & 22" Napa Valley. $30
2005 John Tyler Wines "Bacigalupi Vineyards" Russian River. $36
2007 Kokomo Winery "Timber Crest Vineyards" Dry Creek Valley. $32
2007 Kokomo Winery "Mounts Vineyard" Dry Creek Valley. $27
2007 Lava Cap Winery "Spring House" El Dorado. $24
2005 Leonhardt Vineyards "Reserve" Dry Creek Valley. $35
2007 Marr Cellars "Old Vine" Mattern Ranch, Mendocino. $24
2006 Matrix Winery "Francis" Russian River. $28
2007 Mauritson Family Vineyard "Rockpile Cemetery Vineyard" Rockpile. $39
2008 Mauritson Family Vineyard Dry Creek Valley. $27
2007 Mauritson Family Vineyard Mendocino. $18
2006 Miraflores Winery Sierra Foothills. $22
2007 Moss Creek Winery "Over The Top" Wappo Camp. $??
2006 OTTIMINO "Von Weidlich" Russian River Valley. $30
2007 Papapietro Perr "Timbercrest Farms" Dry Creek Valley. $45
2007 Peachy Canyon Winery "Especial" Paso Robles. $40
2007 Pedroncelli Winery "Mother Clone" Dry Creek Valley. $15
2007 Pellegrini Family Vineyards Russian River. $25
2007 Proulx Winery "Reserve" Paso Robles. $42
2007 Puccioni Vineyards "Old Vine" Dry Creek Valley. $28
2008 Ridge Vineyards "East Bench" Dry Creek Valley. $26
2008 Ridge Vineyards "Geyserville" Sonoma County. $35
2008 Ridge Vineyards "Carmichael" Sonoma. $28
2008 Robert Biale Vineyards "Grande Vineyard" Napa Valley. $40
2007 Rosenblum Cellars "Carla's Reserve" Contra Costa County. $30
2007 Rosenblum Cellars Contra Costa County. $30
2007 Rosenblum Cellars Sonoma County. $??
2007 Rusina Wines "Triskelion Red Blend" Dry Creek Valley. $40
2006 Sbragia Family Vineyards "Italo's Vineyard" Alexander Valley. $28
2006 Sbragia Family Vineyards "La Promessa" Dry Creek Valley. $32
2006 Scott Harvey Wines "Old Vine" Amador County. $30
2005 Storrs Winery "Lion Oaks Vineyard" Bay Area. $34
2006 Thacher Winery Paso Robles. $29
2007 Thacher Winery Paso Robles. $29
2006 Tofanelli Family Vineyard "Estate Vineyard" Napa Valley. $36
2002 Truchard Vineyards "Estate" Carneros. n/a
2007 Vino Noceto Winery and Vineyards "OGP" Amador. $28
2007 Wilson Winery & Vineyards "Molly's Vineyard" Dry Creek Valley. $32
2007 Wilson Winery & Vineyards "Ellie's Vineyard" Dry Creek Valley. $32
2007 Woodenhead Vintners "Braccialini Vineyard" Anderson Valley. $??

WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 8.5
2006 Artezin Wines Dry Creek Valley. $25
2007 Artezin Wines Dry Creek Valley. $25
2008 Bedrock Wine Company "Bedrock Heirloom" Sonoma. $35
2006 Bradford Mountain Winery Dry Creek Valley. $28
2006 C.G. Di Arie Vineyard & Winery Shenandoah Valley. $25
2006 Cakebread Cellars "Snow's Lake Vineyard" Red Hills, Lake County. $41
2005 Calcareous Vineyard "Twisted Sisters "Kate's Vineyard, Paso Robles. $26
2007 Charter Oak Winery "Monte Rosso" Sonoma. $42
2008 Easton Wines Amador County. $17
2008 Fontanella Family Wines Mount Veeder. $36
2007 Four Vines "Biker" Paso Robles. $25
2007 HammerSky Vineyards "Estate Reserve" Paso Robles. $39
2008 Hartford Family Winery "Jolene's Vineyard" Russian River Valley. $55
2004 John Tyler Wines "Bacigalupi Vineyards" Russian River. $36
2007 Kenneth Volk Vineyards "Paso Robles" Paso Robles. $28
2007 Klinker Brick Winery "Old Vine" Lodi. $18
2007 Leonhardt Vineyards "Reserve" Dry Creek Valley. $48
2007 Marr Cellars "Old Vine" Mendocino County. $21
2007 OTTIMINO "Zinfinity" Sonoma County. $17
2007 Paso Creek Paso Robles. $17
2007 Rued Winery Dry Creek Valley. $25
2007 Sextant Wines "Holystone" Paso Robles. $27
2008 Sextant Wines Central Coast. $15
2007 SideJob Cellars "C5 Stefani Vineyard" Sonoma County. $30
2006 Starry Night Winery "Tom Feeney Ranch" Russian River Valley. $28
2007 Tin Barn Vineyards "Dalraddy Vineyard" Napa Valley. $27
2007 Tin Barn Vineyards "Gilsson Vineyard" Russian River Valley. $27
2007 Tofanelli Family Vineyard "Estate Vineyard" Napa Valley. $36


WINES SCORING BETWEEN 8 AND 8.5
2007 Alderbrook Winery "Old Vine" Dry Creek Valley. $19
2006 Amapola Creek Vineyards & Winery "Monte Rosso" Sonoma Valley. $40
2007 Amapola Creek Vineyards & Winery "Vina Antiquas" Sonoma Valley. $40
2007 Amphora Winery Dry Creek Valley. $26
2006 Barnard Griffin Winery Columbia Gorge, Washington. $25
2007 Bogle Winery "Old Vine "California. $11
2006 Calcareous Vineyard "Calcareous Vineyard" Kate's Westside Vineyard, Paso Robles. $26
2007 Claudia Springs Winery "Nate's Vineyard" Redwood Valley. $24
2007 Dono dal Cielo Vineyard Sierra Foothills. $28
2007 Hendry "HRW" Napa Valley. $15
2003 John Tyler Wines "Bacigalupi Vineyards" Russian River. $36
2007 Lang Wines "Oakmont Vineyards" Amador County. $19
2006 Martorana Family Winery Dry Creek Valley. $??
2007 Opolo Vineyards "Mountain" Paso Robles. $28
2006 Peju Winery Napa Valley. $28
2007 Sextant Wines "Wheelhouse" Paso Robles. $20
2007 Sextant Wines "Genoa Blend" Central Coast. $79
2008 SideJob Cellars "C5 Stefani Vineyard" Sonoma County. $30
2008 SideJob Cellars Sonoma County. $15
2007 Stephen & Walker Winery Dry Creek Valley. $39


WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 8
2008 Artezin Wines California. $18
2007 Brazin Cellars Dry Creek Valley. $16.99
2006 Brutocao Cellars "Estate" Hopland Ranches, Mendocino. $22
2007 Gregory Graham Wines "Crimson Hill" Red Hills, Lake County. $24
2007 M2 Wines "Soucie Vineyard Old Vine" Lodi. $28
2008 Macchia Winery "Serious" Old Vine, Lodi. $50
2007 Mariah Vineyards Mendocino. $??


WINES SCORING BETWEEN 7.5 AND 8
2007 Bartholomew Park Winery Sonoma Valley. $38
2007 Guglielmo Winery "Private Reserve Estate" Santa Clara Valley. $18
2007 Scott Harvey Wines "InZinerator" California. $18

WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 7.5
2006 Amphora Winery Sonoma Valley. $40
2007 Rombauer Vineyards Sierra Foothills. $29

WINES SCORING BETWEEN 7 AND 7.5
2007 Amphora Winery, Dry Creek Valley. $40

WINES WITH A SCORE BELOW 7
2008 Peirano Winery "The Immortal" Lodi. $13 Score: 7
2007 Ironstone Vineyards "Rous Vineyard" Amador. $?? Score: 6.75
2007 J Dusi Wines "Dante Dusi Vineyard" Paso Robles. $32 Score: 6.75

Comments (27)

Rich Thomas wrote:
02.02.10 at 9:11 PM

With all the high scores you would think you were part of the SF Chronicle judging this year were 4913 wines were given 84% medals- 16.5% gold, 38% silver, and 30% bronze. Gee, only 16% of the wines in the country aren't any good. Is that why all of the wineries enter? It is better than Christmas for gifts.

Alder wrote:
02.03.10 at 6:57 AM

Rich,

The difference between me and one of those competitions is that I self select -- skipping the wines that I KNOW will be crap. The competition, on the other hand gives those wines medals.

Scott Harvey wrote:
02.03.10 at 8:07 AM

Sure appreciate being reviewed. The Vineyard 1869 is what I used call Grandpere until that trademark was sold to another winery. The second wine labeled as Old Vine Reserve is my Grandfather's vineyard. Been making wine from both of them since the 70's.

02.03.10 at 3:32 PM

Thanks for coming by our table. Glad you enjoyed the 2002 Zinfandel, as well as the 07. Just wanted to show that some zins can age.

Dennis wrote:
02.03.10 at 3:59 PM

Not knowing what your taste preferences are, what can readers "know" about the wines you've listed and their characteristics? What attracts you to the Turley Hayne Vineyard wine, for example? Or the Klinker Brick? Without descriptions, what is the purpose of this list, apart from posting your personal preferences???

Alder wrote:
02.03.10 at 4:23 PM

Dennis,

Just like ANY numerical score from a critic, such lists are mostly useful to people who DO know what my taste preferences are. For those, perhaps like yourself, just stumbling across this blog for the first time, this list may very well be totally useless. Please steer yourself to my wine reviews for something a little more illuminating and helpful.

I produce these lists because they are very good ways of sorting out wines from a large field for myself, as well as a way of getting a handle on a vintage. At a tasting like this I have two choices: either make well composed, accurate tasting notes for probably 40 to 50 wines, maximum, or taste 200+ wines but only score them. I choose the latter because that is a better education for my palate, and a better gauge of the industry.

Blake Gray wrote:
02.03.10 at 6:11 PM

I'm not sure why I'm appointing myself to defend the Chronicle Wine Competition, but I was a judge there, so here goes:

A bronze medal means the wine was considered not-undrinkable by a majority of judges. It's probably the equivalent of Alder's score around 8.0. One judge might have advocated for it, but if two judges liked it a lot, it would probably get a silver. I voted "gold" for some wines that got bronze, so IMHO there are some very good bronzes, and I'm sure every judge feels that way. At the same time, there are wines I thought were offensive that got a bronze anyway, and I'm sure every judge feels that way too. This is why you never see wineries boasting about bronze medals.

I think 16% of the wines submitted being considered undrinkable -- no medal -- by a majority of judges is probably about right. Wineries do some level of self-selection too. If they know the wine is foul, hopefully they will not enter it.

I don't think you should judge a wine competition by its level of bronzes; you need to look at the award that really matters, the gold. Is 16.5% high? I don't know, it depends on your standards. But that's the number to judge.

As for whether wine competitions or individuals are better judges, I'd say the answer is yes. I've posted my own ratings and comments on ZAP and none of my favorite wines were the same as Alder's. Was one of us wrong? Is Robert Parker always right? Does everyone have the same favorite movie? Why don't you all realize "Repo Man" was brilliant?

Personal tastes differ, and not just in wine.

Robbie C. wrote:
02.03.10 at 9:00 PM

Again, I sure wish I could have been there. You sure made it through quite a few wines!

I was a little surprised that Rombauer didn't show better. I was also surprised to see that there was Washington Zin on the list. I used to live in Washington...the zins aren't bad, but there aren't many of them.

Ridge wines are among my favorites and it seems that you did a good job rating them. They are so consistent. The last year that I was at the ZAP fest was the year that Paul Draper made the ZAP Heritage Vines Zin. I ordered a bunch or it and Ridge made a mistake and sent me double my order.

I was not surprised that the Outpost showed well. The last year I went, they showed up and all they had was a barrel sample. It was definitely my favorite that year.

I'm sure glad to be able to read this even though I couldn't be there. It allows me to keep up with what some of the big names are. Thanks Alder!

Rogerwine wrote:
02.04.10 at 9:55 AM

Having not smoked anything before or during the ZAP tasting, I am wondering what you were smoking? Could not disagree more on your preferences !!

Alder wrote:
02.04.10 at 11:45 AM

Roger,

That's what makes the world go round. You should never trust my taste in Zinfandel, then. But don't imply that my preferences are anything but preferences. "what were you smoking?" makes it seem like yours are superior to mine, and that is the sort of snobbery that makes the wine world suck.

Mike wrote:
02.05.10 at 12:25 PM

Having been at ZAP as well, I have to say that I am in major disagreement with these ratings. I am glad to see that you state that these scores are purely YOUR PREFERENCE. It would be a shame to give a great wine a bad rap based on personal preferences. Furthermore, many of the wines in the 7 and 8 point catagory are great wines, and frankly in some cases, definately made better than SOME of the 9 to 9.5 rated wines. I guess that is just "my personal preference."

Greg wrote:
02.05.10 at 1:21 PM

Alder, this is following up on your reply to Dennis. That you elect to taste broadly to assess the vintage is obviously your prerogative. But posting a list of scores for every wine without notes where the wines were tasted at a rate of 1 per minute is irresponsible. A reader would be credulous to place any significance on criticism following this methodology.

Dennis wrote:
02.05.10 at 2:59 PM

I had a look at some of your reviews of various wines (and more lists featuring names of wines with merely a numerical score and no text to describe what you found that makes a wine worthy of a 9/10 score). I must confess, I am still at a loss as to how to make any real sense of your ZAP list. Because you rated an Errazuriz Single Vineyard Shiraz as a "9," how can I more easily understand your preferences in Zinfandel? You're rating a Giacomo Conterno bottling of Barolo "Monfortino" identically to a Rosenblum "Maggie's Reserve" Zinfandel...both are "around 9.5," but I've tasted those wines and they're radically different. I'm not sure I would put the two in the same company or class, frankly. So, once again--without illuminating prose to describe a wine, isn't such a list of 200 wines useless to most of your readers? Or is it just me? What am I missing?

Alder wrote:
02.05.10 at 3:42 PM

Greg,

Where you been? I've been doing this for six years at pretty every major wine tasting I go to (about 10 a year). But that makes up a miniscule percentage of the content here on vinography which is focused on detailed, specific, personal, passionate stories about wines, which are really the only way to understand and appreciate them. All 'yall are reacting to my scores here like this is the way I always review wine. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I suggest you and any other readers who are inclined to chime in with their outrage at seeing 200+ scores here in a row read my post about how I rate and review wines: http://www.vinography.com/archives/2005/11/how_i_rate_and_review_wine.html

And then go read one of my normal wine reviews.

Alder wrote:
02.05.10 at 3:45 PM

Mike,

Congratulations on achieving the ultimate objective of a wine lover: knowing your own preferences. That's all that we got, and the better you know what they are, then the less time you spend in your life with bad wine in your mouth.

Alder wrote:
02.05.10 at 3:54 PM

Dennis,

Sounds to me like your problem is with numerical scores, not with me. How do you tell the difference between a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc rated 90 by Parker and an old school Nero d'Avola rated 91 by the same man? And maybe you find tasting notes more helpful than I do, but they're not much help in the prior situation either. Both of those wines are radically different. But can they be equally good? Sure.

You need to read what a critic has to say, try the wines they recommend, and decide whether you trust them, and in which categories of wine. That's as true for me as it is for any other person who rates and reviews wines.

As I said to another commenter above I don't think my lists of scores are particularly useful to anyone who doesn't know my palate and agree with me. It may shock some of the other snide commenters on this thread to know it, but there are one or two of my readers who fit that description.

But let me go further and say that I don't pretend that ANYTHING I write is particularly useful to anyone. I write about what I like, period. And if people don't agree with me, I really could care less. I'm certainly not trying to sell it to anyone.

Thanks for taking the time to comment and for keeping your tone respectful.

jason Carey DWS wrote:
02.05.10 at 4:11 PM

Interesting that you prefer the Florence Dashe to the Louvau and Todd Brothers. I always love the other two more than the Florence. I always find the Florence a little to soft and prefer the Structure of the other two. I especially always love the Louvau.

Dennis wrote:
02.05.10 at 4:55 PM

I'm not sure one can compare a NZ Sauvignon to a Nero d'Avola...Yes, knowing the palate preferences or biases of a critic is/are useful. But Parker writes descriptions of the wines he tastes, for the most part, so a reader can have, at least, some idea of the style and character of the wine he's assessing. When you post merely a score, a reader cannot determine what it was about the wine that enchanted or displeased you...do you taste and rate for "the moment" (is the wine enjoyable now?) or do you factor in possible additional development? Is the Zinfandel light or full-bodied? Spicy? Raisin-like? Jammy? Oaky? High in acidity or flat? That's why posting merely a numerical score of how "excited" about a wine you were is really only useful to you for your own reference. For me as a lurker on your blog, without some clues, I can know virtually nothing about the wines.

Steve Howe wrote:
02.05.10 at 5:03 PM

Well, you certainly proved that people have different tastes in wine. Of course, we already knew that.

Relax and enjoy a glass of the wine that you like!

Note: I attended ZAP as well and it was interested comparing your experiences with mine. Thank you.

rogerwine wrote:
02.08.10 at 2:38 PM

You may have 6 years of doing this, but you have not held a position of responsibility in the the wine industry and it shows. Doing a sip. spit, dash tasting of 220 young Zins, one of the most subjective type of tasting known to man, and then giving effectively negative point scores to a number of them, instead of a list of favorites, is extremely irresponsible. After 30 + years of positions of responsibility and education in the wine business, I certainly do know what makes the wine industry "suck" and its the self applied arrogance of people like yourself, that also treat the industry as some sort of pseudo art-form that they can exploit at will. This too will pass!!

Alder wrote:
02.08.10 at 2:57 PM

Roger,

Thanks for your comments.

For someone who you think has so little existing or potential impact on the wine industry, you certainly are expressing a great deal of consternation about me and my little list of scores.

I recommend looking into the tasting methods of Robert Parker, most retailers, and every major wine competition in the world, which are pretty much exactly like the time I spent at this tasting. I'm not saying it's the best way to taste or review wine, far from it, but continuing to castigate me for it like it's some aberrant practice is ridiculous.

Thomas wrote:
02.10.10 at 10:42 AM

I'm not surprised to see the T-vine jazz towards the top of the list. They make great wines! Thanks for the review as I didn't make it out to the tasting this time around.

02.21.10 at 8:08 AM

Alder,

Thanks for coming by to taste our Puccioni 2007 Old Vine Zinfandel. Glad that you enjoyed the wine. I know you really liked a few of our other vintages too.

I thought the ZAP event was great this year BTW. It was not as crowded and everyone seem to be having a nice time, and there were no over imbibers at the end as there has been in years past. A very nice event.

Regarding scores - they are nice - but wine is to be enjoyed and experienced. Just like what you like on your hamburger, everyone likes different things. The most important thing is to know what you like and have confidence in it.

Thanks

JRW wrote:
07.25.10 at 5:20 AM

Thanks for the exciting Zinfandel wine list.... does any one know how the following Zinfandel wines have scored?

- Wandering Bear Zinfandel Rose
- Delicato Family Vineyards Zinfandel Rose

Or where they have been reviewed and covered?

Thanks

Old Vine Zin wrote:
11.21.10 at 8:05 AM

This little list has proved itself invaluable this year. I've found some hidden gems that otherwise may have slipped through the cracks -- the Novy being a prime example.

Looking forward to the new list after the upcoming 2011 ZAP festival.

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Most Recent Entries

Vinography Unboxed: Week of July 14, 2014 Vinography Images: Solar Powered Dot Wine and the Fear of Change Annual Napa Wine Library Tasting: August 10, Napa Vinography Unboxed: Week of July 7, 2014 Vinography Images: The Berry 2014 West Sonoma Coast Wine Festival: August 2-3, Sebastopol, CA Drew Wines, Mendocino, CA: Recent Releases Vinography Images: Pocket of Sun Vinography Unboxed: Week of June 29, 2014

Favorite Posts From the Archives

Masuizumi Junmai Daiginjo, Toyama Prefecture Wine.Com Gives Retailers (and Consumers) the Finger 1961 Hospices de Beaune Emile Chandesais, Burgundy Wine Over Time The Better Half of My Palate 1999 Királyudvar "Lapis" Tokaji Furmint, Hungary What's Allowed in Your Wine and Winemaking Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Appreciating Wine in Context The Soul vs. The Market 1989 Fiorano Botte 48 Semillion,Italy

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Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud Adventures on the Wine Route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson The World's Greatest Wine Estates by Robert M. Parker, Jr.