2010 Le Baron Ranch “Three Sisters” Zinfandel

Sonoma Cty, CA; 14.5% ABV

$10 at the Berkeley, CA store

After three Zins which to me had been fine but not exciting, and given the price on this one, I had high hopes for it.  I was happy with it in some ways and disappointed in others.

On first sniff, this wine’s nose of dark black raspberry, blackberry, and dark aromatic spices clearly (to me) showed it had some Dry Creek Valley grapes.  I started drinking Dry Creek Valley (Dry Creek Vineyard, Rafanellli) and Russian River Valley (Swan, Martinelli) Zinfandels, so, in many ways, this is what I think a Zin is supposed to taste like.  (The Chateau Diana web site lists their  Le Baron Ranch Zin, without vintage specified, as composed of as “62% Russian River Valley, 24% Dry Creek Valley, 14% Alexander Valley.”)

It was okay from the start, but it really hit its stride after an hour in a decanter, showing ripe flavors of tangy blackberry jam, allspice / black pepper, darker purple plum, with fairly strong acid of black and red raspberries.

I also thought it was a very interestingly made Zin.  A lot of Zins are very fruity but not very structured, but this one was tightly restrained and finely structured, especially in its acid. Unfortunately, though, I found the restraint and acid a bit much for accessible drinking last night.  After hitting its stride for a while, it retreated again fairly quickly into less expressive acidity.  I suspect it will drink better after two or three more years of age in cool storage.


9 thoughts on “2010 Le Baron Ranch “Three Sisters” Zinfandel

  1. RockRat

    We tried this a few months ago, and generally agree with what you say about it. I feel the fruit is a little restrained right now, but will come out with aging, as you suggest. For us, though, it wasn’t so much the acid as the oak that was overpowering the fruit — and as someone who generally likes oak more than many here, I don’t say that lightly. However, I expect the oak to mellow and integrate after a few years, and agree it has the structure to age for that time. It’s frustrating to have to cellar a GO wine, but I think this will turn out very well.

    Has anyone tried their Chard? It’s also $7.99 which is about the top end of the range for GO chard. It would have to be darn good.

  2. Rondo

    Agree completely with you on the Beaver Creek Zin.
    According to their website, hand crafted , produced organically and bio-dyanamically from Dry Creek fruit.
    Deep purple color. Nice nose. Full body, polished wine with nice structure. Raspberry,blackberry, flash of vanilla and cocoa; finishes with mint on a long finish with ripe tannins.

    1. GOWineLover

      Yup, the Beaver Creek type of value is what got me so into GO wines in the first place, though there are always duds. Bristol Farms, a high end grocer in Southern CA, is selling the Merlot at $7.99, and if their wine buyers bought in, the wines are definitely worth trying. My favorite GO wine deal was the 2006 Schild Estate Shiraz (newer versions at Costco for $12-15, I think) at $4.99 that ended up #7 on Wine Spectator’s Top 100 list…

  3. GOWineLover

    I highly recommend the 2008 Beaver Creek Vineyards Zinfandel (using Dry Creek fruit) that appeared at Concord, CA, San Ramon, CA and Pleasant Hill, CA within the last few days. Nice effort and a no brainer for $5. Interested to see what folks think. The new release Cosentino Ol’ Red was a major disappointment, the ’05 Cliff Creek Syrah, the exact opposite, a wonderful value at $2.99.

    1. LeftBanker

      How is it that the Beaver Creek Zin hasn’t gotten the full-court press treatment with a front page review? This site is impossible to search to add a comment to something you know is here.

      Having found it now, let me add a +1 for this Zin. (Disclaimer: As I may have made clear previously, I’m not a big fan of big California reds.)

      This is a very well-done big California Zin (and at 14.&% it certainly is big). But not big jammy fruit like some California (oh, let’s say Lodi?, Amador?) zins are. This has a lot of structure and balance to the wine that so many of those lack. Taste of the California chapparel is much more prominent than the taste of bramble fruit or prunes. At the risk of being a bit hyperbolic I’d say give this one a couple or three years and it has the potential to be a classic. A huge bargain.

      We had it with simple grilled burgers last night. Perfect. And a glass each tonight that remained it the bottle (just stuck the cork back in it and left it on the counter). It was better tonight. Beautiful wine. Reminds of the best of dry creeks zins, and there’s some rarefied company in that lot.

      1. BargainWhine Post author

        Hi LeftBanker. It’s odd that despite frequent visits to the Berkeley store especially, I heard about this wine in comments on a different Zin, and in What’s New? long before I saw it myself. I did pick up a bottle this morning in Berkeley, but dluber has claimed it as his to review. Thanks for taking the trouble to track it down on this admittedly cumbersome site.


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