So after years away, I’ve been asked by BargainWhine if I’d like to come back and help him shoulder some of the burden of drinking all of this wine and saying a few things about it. Since I’ve come back to the great Pacific NW, I moved into a house less than a mile from our local GO. That left me with few (good) excuses, so here I am. Amazing what lim13 and BargainWhine have done with the place! Without any further grandstanding I’ll just continue on to a wine that has already been reviewed, screwing up the format of commenting on previously reviewed bottles right off the bat. Be gentle with me, I haven’t written tasting notes in years…
Walking into me local store, I went right back to my old habits of judging a book by its cover (or a wine by its package.) The Reserve Lot 11 struck me as a handsome, heavyweight bottle with a label that didn’t scream “I can be a winery owner, winemaker and graphic designer if I want, how hard can it be?” Seems like many of the offerings in my local store (Bend, OR) didn’t match those criteria, so I was left a fairly easy choice of what I was bringing home. Helps that the wife was making chili, as I couldn’t imagine a better pairing than a fruit-bomb zin. Consulting my phone, I saw that lim13 had previously reviewed this bottle, and his notes sounded like the wine would do the job nicely.
After opening the bottle I was happy to see a composite cork closing the wine. Seems like I have found more than my fair share of corked bottles in GO over the years, and composite is often a safe bet thanks to the handling procedures in its production. The wine pours a deep garnet color, but very clear as is pretty indicative of zinfandel. Cherry cough syrup, black licorice and mint dominate the nose. After an hour or so of breathing, the harshness of the cough syrup mellows back into more cooked cherries and blackberries. Mouthfeel is a bit thin, but the alcohol helps buoy it back toward pleasant. Young berry fruit up front gives way to chocolatey tannins in the finish with a bit more astringence than I’m typically looking for. You can definitely get a metallic hit in the aftertaste that I see in many zins, high alcohol or not. There is also the berry sweetness of good chocolate hanging around the finish, helping you go back to the glass and start the process over.
All that said, the review boils down to one thing: Would I buy it again? And the answer is yes. I think there’s enough depth in this that it more than justifies the $8 or so that I spent on it. Let me know if you think I’m way off base, and I’ll probably also comment later on how it went with dinner, or if it improves (or crashes into mediocrity) after being open for a few hours.