Our friends at Wine Chateau sent us a sample of this wine, and by the time it arrived at our door, the folks at Wine Chateau and in the rest of New Jersey had a nasty arrival at their doorstep in Superstorm Sandy. By the time of this writing, it’s good to hear that things are much better over there.
The Rancho Zabaco Sonoma Heritage Vines Zinfandel 2010 (93% Zinfandel, 7% Petite Sirah) was sourced from grapes all over Sonoma in a 2010 growing season that, in Sonoma County, was considered by many the most challenging in generations. It started with record-breaking low temperatures in the spring, late bud break, and 20 days of rain in May (double the historic average). Yields were down, and cool climate varietals fared the best. Despite this, winemaker Eric Cinnamon has nurtured a big, bold Zinfandel.
On the nose, the 2010 Heritage Vines Zinfandel is immediately generous on opening. Zin’s familiar ripe, jammy blackberry is supported by hints of blueberry jam. Licorice notes develop more gradually.
The ripe berry fruit continues through onto the palate, reminding me of what they call in Scandinavia queen jam (a mixture of raspberry and blueberry), licorice, and very subtle hints of toasty oak. Timid palates beware, this Zin packs some heat that at 14.9% alcohol shouldn’t sneak up on anyone.
The overall impression is a big, bold – almost decadent – Zin, and I’d say a classic take on the grape that has become a poster boy for the new world trend towards big wines. It pairs well with rich holiday meals with the plate stacked high with turkey and fixings.
At just under 13 bucks at Wine Chateau, this Zin also has bang for the buck.
About Rancho Zabaco:
The Rancho Zabaco brand is owned by EJ Gallo, the name is derived from Tzabaco Rancho, a historic Mexican land grant, though the brand has no apparent link to this history beyond location. The only red wine winemaker Eric Cinnamon’s team makes is Zinfandel. The winery is located in Modesto, California and was founded in 2001.