Sonoma County, CA; 14.5% ABV
“sustainably farmed and produced”
“blended with a small amount of Petite Sirah”
$7 at the Geary Street, San Francisco, store on 20 Jan. $19 on their web site (w/o 10% case discount) Also at the Richmond, CA, store.
Right away, I liked the label and bottle of this wine, and its color though the bottle. When I looked up the producer’s web site, their story was very interesting. A couple bought many acres of land in Sonoma County between Alexander Valley and Dry Creek Valley and decided to plant vineyards on a hilltop. That sounds like a great location to grow Zinfandel! This vintage, however, “was a challenging one with a second year of drought and a hard frost during the spring. These factors forced a smaller yield but with hand sorting, good quality of fruit.” so I was a little worried about what was actually in the bottle.
The wine pours a lighter purplish red, and starts a bit thin and tart, but with tight complexities and tannins that promise more with air. Because of unusual circumstances last night, I can’t really say how much air it needs, but I’d guess about 60 – 90 minutes, and it holds up very nicely after that. The Petite Sirah is immediately evident, with flavors of dark blackberry, other black fruit, and a little chocolate. The tannic finish is probably also due mostly to the PS. (For a wine to have a varietal name in CA, that varietal must be at least 75%.) The Zin gives flavors of black raspberry and darker red cherries, and the wine has nice complexities of rose hips, red delicious apple skin, and dark earth and spice. Their notes are: “dark garnet hues and aromas of earth and blue fruit. Tart spice and berry flavors are bright in the mid palate with a nice long finish.” I believe the difficult vintage shows in the overall lighter body than most Zin – PS blends; its elegant character more resembles a nice Merlot, again except for that tannic finish. I found this interesting and tasty wine for the money. If this is what King Mtn Vineyards did with a challenging vintage, I look forward to a good one, although it would likely not show up at the GO. I hope they will be okay though the severe drought we’re having now.