Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Rocking Horse Zinfandel, 2001 Monte Rosso Vineyard, Sonoma County

This Zin was reccomended to me by a friend of mine and I was eager to try it. Monte Rosso Vineyard is famous for the Zins and Cabs that it produces from its red volcanic soils. The vineyard is 249 acres and sits on the hillside of Moon Mountain in Sonoma. 115 acres is Cab, 75.5 Zin, and the rest is Merlot, Syrah, Petite Verdot, Malbec, Petite Sirah, Semillon, and Folle Blance. The elevation varies from 700 to 1240 ft which keeps it above the fog line. It also gets cooling breezes from the San Pablo Bay. There are 13 wineries that source from the vineyard including Sbragia, Rosenblum Cellars, Arrowwood, Louis M. Martini, Rancho Zabaco (Gallo), and Robert Biale and ofcourse Rocking Horse.

Rocking Horse is made at a custom crush facility in Napa so that the wines can remain affordable according to the owners Jeff and Nancy Doran, who plan on building a winery when they reach 10,000 cases. They are currently at 8000 cases producing Napa Cab and Merlot, and the Monte Rosso Zin. This Zin was ages for 24 Months in French Oak.

Color: Dark red, clean opaque, thin legs creaping up the side of the glass immediatly as it is poured. (High Alcohol. 15.9%)

Nose: Beautiful nose. Some floral lavender with licorice and Eucalypt characters and lots of dark berries and cherry. The oak shows vanilla, spice and sweet tobacco. As the wine opens up more chocolate is prevalent and reminding me of chocolate covered cherries and sweet marzipan.

Palate: The wine started out a bit too soft but with the help of a steak kept getting bigger and more full bodied. Oak on the finish and soft tannins. Long fruity finish with the alcohol warming but well balanced. The wines acidity is getting softer showing its 6 years but still strong enough to keep that fruit lively. Doesn't have a really hot brambly zin flavor that I often find. It is more elegant.

Overall: I really liked this Zin and it kept getting better and better. Even though it was almost 16% alcohol it had a nice elegance to it, maybe because of its age. I do think that if drunk this time last year the palate would have been a bit fuller bodied. I can't wait to try the 2002 when it becomes available in GA. For the $16 I paid for this wine it is a great value. I give it a B+

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Bueno!, Malbec-Cabernet, Mendoza, Argentina

This is a new wine that is hitting the Atlanta area to meet some of the demand for affordable reds form South America. I met Keith who happens to be the person bringing it into the U.S. and decided why not give it a try. The wine is 60% Malbec and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, it is non-vintage, and only cost me $6.00. Bueno! describes the wine well. It has a lot of fruit on the nose and palate. The wine finishes quickly leaving some warming alcohol but not overpowering. It is a light bodied wine and easily paired with food. I had it with a big bowl of Spaghetti with meat sauce. Not Bad, a definite good value for $6.00.

I give it a B.

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Zenato, Ripassa Valpolicella Speriore 2003

Wow! Great Wine! I bought this wine for $25 and went back to buy another couple of bottles. This is a real value. It comes from the Valpolicella region around Verona Italy. At least 70% of the wine is Corvina according to DOC law and also includes the lesser known Rondinella grapes. The region also produces potent Amarone wines that are higher in alcohol and made from partially dried grapes. This wine is in the Ripasso style which means that the wine is re-fermented on the pressed grape skins giving the wine more body and concentration of flavors.
Color: Very dark, long thick legs with a dark burgundy edge.
Nose: Beautiful raspberry and blueberry notes combined with a strong chocolate mocha aroma. The presence of oak is noticeable giving wafts of vanilla and hazelnuts.
Palate: Big body covering the whole palate, soft tannin with a good acidity giving a long finish lasting well over a minute. The finish also brings more tart fruits and a hint of oak.
Overall: Great wine. I had this with a lamb roast and it complimented it beautifully. I don't think this wine will peak for another 5 years.
I give it an A.

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