Home > Food, Zinfandel > Zin Versus Zin Versus Zin

Zin Versus Zin Versus Zin

Wine Guerrilla Monte Rosso Zinfandel DSC_0328I was in “zin’s mind” this past Father’s day. I don’t know how did that happened, but when I was thinking what bottle to open for dinner, “how about Zinfandel” thought came over. I had no reason to resist, so Zinfandel was it. And by the way – the title of this post sounds a bit antagonistic – but this is not the idea. I just happened to enjoy recently 3 different Zinfandel wines, hence the wording in the title.

Zinfandel is one of the pretty unique grapes – even if we will count Primitivo as Zinfandel (which technically is incorrect – it is only a very close relative), there are only a handful of places where Zinfandel wines are produced. But – the good news is that California, the primary Zinfandel’s habitat, has no shortage of excellent Zinfandel producers.

If you will take a look at my “Happy Father’s Day” picture, you can see two Zinfandels there – and these are the wines I want to talk about. First, a couple of words about producers. Turley Wine Cellars needs no introduction for any Zinfandel aficionado. Turley produces 28 wines, most of the them are Zinfandel with addition of few Petite Sirah and some others, coming from Napa, Sonoma, Lodi, Paso Robles and other primary areas in California. Turley is a “cult” winery, and while their wines can be found in some of the very select wine stores and restaurants, one really have to be on their mailing list to have more universal access to their wines (Turley was the first mailing list I was accepted onto – give me a second and slice of lemon to extinguish smile on my face).

The second producer is called The Wine Guerrilla. While not as well known as Turley, they also produce a full range of Zinfandel wines from the different areas in California. It is interesting to point out that The Wine Guerrilla is the only producer (to the best of my knowledge), which doesn’t make any other wines but Zinfandel. When your slogan is “The Art And Soul of Zinfandel”, I guess this is rather appropriate.

DSC_0640 Turley 2009 PesentiI decanted both Turley and Wine Guerrilla Zinfandel for about 2 hours. Yes, I know this is not typical to use a decanter around Zinfandel, but both wineries make wines rather in restrained style, so I really wanted them to open up. First up – 2009 Turley Pesenti Vineyard Zinfandel Paso Robles (16% ABV). Even after two hours of decanting, the most I got on the nose was a hint of blackberries and some dark chocolate notes. The very first sip of the wine said “I’m big”. The first words which come to mind to describe this wine are “dense”, “firm”, “structured”. On the very firm structure the perfect fruit is weaved (hmm, interesting composition of the sentence – not a typical one for me, but I like it : ) ). More blackberries and dark chocolate on the palate, but also an “old world style” minerality was coming through, and then acidity was all in check. The wine is perfectly balanced, with tannins, alcohol, fruit and acidity being all together, in harmony. Drinkability: 8-

DSC_0638 wine guerillaNow, let’s talk about 2010 Wine Guerrilla Mounts Vineyard Cypress Block Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma (15% ABV, 95% Zinfandel, 5% Petite Sirah, 300 cases produced). The wine showed a lot of dark fruit on the nose, mostly blackberries and cherries. On the palate, the wine was not as structurally dense as Turley, but instead it had layers of fruit with very nice luscious texture – ripe blackberries, cherries and dark chocolate, and a hint of eucalyptus. Very good acidity and overall nice and round wine, excellent balance. Drinkability: 8-

Did you notice a label of another Wine Guerrilla Zinfandel at the beginning of this post? It is there not for the purposes of decoration – it is actually another Wine Guerrilla Zinfandel which I had a week ago. 2010 Wine Guerrilla Monte Rosso Vineyard Block E44 Zinfandel Sonoma Valley (15% ABV, 200 cases produced) was totally unique in its style. To give you an idea, I would call it a Brunello of Zinfandels. After 2+ hours in decanter, the first thing which came to mind after the first sip was “dry”. This wine was soooo dry – uniquely  dry for Zinfandel. It was also very herbaceous for the Zinfandel, with lots of dried herbs aromas, such as sage and oregano. It did show some fruit, but in very restrained, dialed back fashion. Definitely the most food friendly Zinfandel I ever tried, very balanced overall. Drinkability: 8

So I have to confess that I have one regret in regards to three wines I presented to you today. One, but big regret – I really want to taste these wines 10 years down the road! No, decanting didn’t do them any justice. These wines have to mature first, and then they will give you an ultimate pleasure. They were great and very enjoyable wines now, but they would become something much much bigger – if I would only have some spares…

Before we part, I want to share a few pictures from the Father’s day. Few weeks ago, my cousin got for me a new charcoal grill which is called “mangal” and it is mostly intended for making a kabob, but of course can be used as generic charcoal grill. Here are few pictures for you – with the warning – it might make you hungry…

Ribs and chicken

Ribs and chicken

just chicken

just chicken

just ribs

just ribs

That’s all I have for you for now. Ahh, before I will forget – don’t miss the WTSO Cheapskate Wednesday tomorrow, June 19th. Expected to appear are Benziger Pinot Noir, Rioja DOC Crianza, Provenance Merlot, Pomo Nation Cabernet, Expo Cabernet and Edenhall Shiraz, of course in addition to many many other wines. Cheers!

Disclaimer: The Wine Guerrilla wines were provided courtesy of Wine Guerrilla. But of course all opinions are my own.

  1. June 18, 2013 at 11:08 am

    The wine and food looks delicious! Sounds like a great Father’s Day.

    • talkavino
      June 18, 2013 at 11:16 am

      thank you! yes, it was : )

  2. June 18, 2013 at 11:32 am

    I think you know that I really like my Zins with quite a bit of age on them (just got some older Rosenblums) so it is nice to hear that you (at least for a moment) were contemplating that as well! Sounds like you have a very generous cousin!

    Looking to buy anything tomorrow? I know it is a favorite event of yours.

    • talkavino
      June 18, 2013 at 11:46 am

      I like aged wines in general, and these Zinfandels were clearly in the need of quite time.
      As as Cheapskate is concerned, I’m completely out of space, so I might get something, but this will have to be something super-interesting,…

  3. June 18, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    Very nice and interesting reviews, Anatoli. And wonderful food too: I am definitely hungry now! 🙂

    • talkavino
      June 18, 2013 at 9:43 pm

      Those were interesting wine. I would be curious to see your review of this Monte Rosso Zinfandel which we had together.

      • June 18, 2013 at 10:16 pm

        Ha! Unfortunately I am “afraid” 🙂 we will have to taste again, as that night I only had one glass after… many more glasses of beer, wine and vodka that we had had beforehand and I did not take any notes. What I *seem* to remember though is that it had herbal aromas (just like you said in your review) and still fairly green tannins, but again, I would like to taste it again when I am sober 😉 and can focus on it! 🙂

        • talkavino
          June 18, 2013 at 10:46 pm

          oh well… I hear you – but that was my only bottle 🙂 That’s okay – will find something else to taste : )

        • June 18, 2013 at 11:21 pm

          Ooops… I’m sure we will!!! 😀

  4. June 19, 2013 at 7:36 am

    I love a god Zin. Of the 3 you mention, Turley is the only one I have had. I agree, it neded to open up a bit, but still very drinkable. By the way, how many wines do you keep in your cellar? Do you belong to wine clubs?

    • talkavino
      June 19, 2013 at 8:20 am

      My cellar consists of random wine fridges and boxes, I guess I have about 350 bottles all together. As far as wine clubs are concerned, I guess we need to differentiate between wine clubs ( where wine is sent to you automatically) and mailing lists (where you get an opportunity to order wines according to your allocation). So for the wine clubs I belong only to one (Field Recordings). I’m on a few mailing lists, like Turley, and I’m on a few waiting lists for the mailing lists – Carlisle and Cayuse are my dream destinations : )

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