Sonoma Cty, CA; 14.5% ABV
$10 at the Berkeley, CA store
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.