Viano Vinyards 2010 Zinfandel “Private Stock”

Contra Costa County, CA; 13% ABV
$5 at the Geary Street, San Francisco, store on 20 Jan.  Also at Berkeley.

2010_Viano_ZinLim13 favorably reviewed the 2006 vintage of this wine nearly two years ago, and many others here liked it, so I was eager to try the 2010.  I was not disappointed.

The wine immediately showed ripe fruit of darker boysenberry and black raspberry, with plenty of lively, maybe even zesty, acid and a strong raisin component.  About a half hour after opening the bottle, I thought the raisin taste had declined a lot, but was still there in the background.  After about an hour, the wine, which had been slightly hard and assertive, softened and became more agreeable. To my surprise, it went very well with take-out Chinese ginger beef.

The 2010 strikes me as being very much like Lim13’s review of the 2006, except that this tastes like a younger wine without (what I think of as) the aged complexities he described like cinnamon and smoked meats.  It’s made in a more acid and structured style than a lot of Zin, but I liked it quite a bit for the price. Seedboy remarked today that “historically, it has been a bargain for an uncomplicated, honest Zin. This particular wine has nice fresh fruit flavors, but unfortunately they used some sort of oak additive (there is no way this was barrel-aged, not at this price point, retails for less than $10 a bottle) and the wine would be better off without the oak flavor.”  I didn’t particularly notice an odd oak or pseudo-oak flavor, but I won’t dispute that, either, as I may be less sensitive to wood flavors.


25 thoughts on “Viano Vinyards 2010 Zinfandel “Private Stock”

  1. lim13

    Opened my first bottle of this tonight and I have mixed feelings about it. JWC described this back in February as a “non-fruit bomb style”, but it sure tastes like a fruit bomb to me with tons of sweet fruit…and seriously ripe too. Lots of cooked prune, extract and tannin with a sort of chalky quality in the finish. Nothing subtle here. At the same time, I do like the higher acidity than usual in a Zin and I like the varietal brambleberry character. I also got none of the oak (or oak flavor) that others alluded to…and I’m very oak sensitive. All-in-all, it’s a bit overblown and unbalanced for me. Though I didn’t try them side-by-side, I suspect I’d prefer the 2006 that I reviewed a couple of years ago.

    1. flitcraft

      I tried this some months back when it first appeared and found it kind of ‘meh’–not an over-the-top alcohol and fruit bomb to my taste, on the positive side, but not particularly interesting enough for a re-buy, either. This is still kicking around is at least some GO’s in Seattle in limited amounts. I saw it at Lake City last week, now reduced to $5 from it’s original Washington price point of $6. Still, with the number of other zins on the shelves at similar or slightly higher price-points (mostly untried by me), I wouldn’t rush to buy, myself.

    2. jwc

      Sounds like a lot has changed in 7 months, the bottle I had was nothing like what you are describing. I’m not a fan of over ripe/extracted zins, ie Amador or Lodi geographies come to mind. I realize its not fair to stereotype all producers to this ripe style in those locations, but many are ripe, jammy way over the top IMHO. I was in the Hollywood GO, yesterday and saw the 2010 Viano Zin still on the shelves. Frankly, I thought it was decent, but will not warrant me making a trip back. Too many better alternative here on the west side.

    3. lim13

      Somewhat softer and easier to take on day 2, but now I’m not really fond of the flavor it leaves in my mouth on the finish. It’s hard for me to believe it’s only 13% alc., though there really is no heat on the palate.

  2. jwc

    Cheap oak, with a nasty wood finish on Day 2. Overall a nice simple zin, but there have been far better zin options over the years. For the Bay Area guys, doesn’t Sebastiani or Louis Martini zins sell in regular grocery stores for $7-10? Those seem a much better option than the Viano, just saying…

    1. Darrell

      Jwc, cheap oak sounds like a paradox to me, but after reading SB’s and BW’s evaluations, I just wonder if we all are tasting at least two different wines. Did you get any Zin fruit in the nose? When SB says ” I need more of this” I am in agreement. I wonder why there is this discrepancy as I trust your tastebuds.

      1. jwc

        Darrell, I did like the Viano on the first night, but on Day 2 it had an annoying wood flavor, that I think SB described also in one of his earlier comments, on this zin. I thought the wine was relatively clean, simple, with decent fruit. I’d like it a lot more at $3.99, one of our larger retailers up here, is selling it @ $7.99. With all the WA and Oz wine that’s just rolled in, not sure if I’ll be buying any more. Glad you like it, I may give it another try. Cheers. In reviewing SB notes, looks like initially he experienced the same thing with the offputting oak.
        Appears he picked up some more, and fell in love, so to speak 🙂

      2. Seedboy

        There are all sorts of ways to add oak flavor to a wine without buying oak barrels, which are very expensive and prohibitive if you want to sell a wine at Viano’s intended price point.

  3. Darrell

    Hue: Rhodolite red, no orange
    Tone: medium
    Aroma and Bouquet- Some oak without swirling. Pleasant bramble, berry nose upon swirling with the oak. Later noticed a low raspberry aroma. Med. intensity with no aging bouquet
    Flavor- Med. acid, not excessively tannic. Round, balanced flavors of oak and fruit. Med.- aftertaste. Slight gassiness which first came across as alcoholic burn at the tip of the tongue.

    A sound wine for me, worth the price and can age.

    1. jwc

      The Viano Zin sells for $8 at the winery, so for $6 here in Portland, not a screaming deal. I had this with pizza last night, I do like this style, a non fruit bomb & low alc (@13%) zin. I enjoyed it, had 3 glasses watching the winter Olympics…which with any high alc zin, can be a regrettable choice. Woke up at 6am feeling fine, which I really appreciated. Similiar in style to the NV Dawson Creek zin, which was reduced to $3.99 here in Portland. For a 10 spot, you can buy both and compare them. Nice simple zin, would like it even more @ $4. Do like the ’07 vintage of this better which Fred Meyer was selling for $7 & change. Thumbs Up.

  4. Patrick

    Opened a bottle last night, I got one glass, wife and daughter finished the bottle. This a great wine for the price and is good without air time for surprise company.

  5. Seedboy

    I bought another bottle of this and opened it tonight. It has all the fruit, but the oak is not so forward. I need more of this.

  6. Seedboy

    On the second night, the fruit is still really lovely on this wine and I love its balance. However, that cheap oak flavor is very offputting to me.

    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Thanks for reporting on the second night, and sorry to hear the flavor you dislike is still there. If new arrivals slow down, I’ll likely get another bottle and try to detect what you describe.

    2. jwc

      I had the same experience on the 2nd night, found the oak to be distracting, was wondering if the wood flavor was even oak, Redwood barrels? Website says small oak barrels, so alright already…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s