Graymont Estate 2013 Russian River Valley Old Vine Zinfandel

Russian River Valley AVA, CA
$7 at the Long Beach, CA, store on 2 June

Suckered by20160612_185514 the nice label, RRV AVA, cellaring and bottling in Napa and the fact I was grilling and hadn’t had a good Old Vine Zin in a while, I picked up this bottle without any research.

Aerated into the glass, this wine (somehow) first came off as extremely flavorless, poorly structured, and hot, which at 16% ABV is somewhat understandable. Something obviously dulled my palate initially, and it was an odd sensation to get little nose out of the wine freshly poured and tasted shortly thereafter. The wine has nice, bright fruit on the nose and flavors typical of an old vine zin with jammy berry overtones dominating the palate with a very luscious mouthfeel until the hit of alcohol overwhelms through the finish. 2.5-3 hours in, this wine really sorted itself out nicely, and it came together with less of the sharp delineation between the mid-palate and finish I experienced shortly after opening. 4 hours in, it started to fall apart a bit, with some of the nice ripe flavors muting themselves, so I stoppered the rest of the bottle for the next night.

The achilles heel for me, however, and something that overshadowed some of the wine’s positive assets, is the amount of oak used, something that came through predominantly even on night 2 as I returned to it again. This isn’t a terrible effort by any means, but if you’re sensitive to oak, this is likely not a wine you would enjoy. The wine had fallen apart for me by night 3 and any structure was pretty much gone.

Overall, I was torn on this one. On one hand, you have a wine with some nice characteristics for a 16% ABV Old Vine Zin, and wonderful, elegant front end mouthfeel once it has been open a while, but betrayed by its finishing characteristics (harsh) and a lot of wood. For my tastes, mostly due to the tough structure, it’s not a repeat buy.

For sleuths, there is very little info online on this wine short of some comments in the What’s New section of this site. It turns out that it falls under the Smith-Anderson Wine Group umbrella, who makes Havens wine that has appeared at GO here and there, and Stonehedge, which I recognize as a pretty decent QPR wine carried at Trader Joes and Big Lots over the years: http://www.sa-napavalley.com/index.html

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7 thoughts on “Graymont Estate 2013 Russian River Valley Old Vine Zinfandel

  1. seedboy

    This weekend Richmond had a Sonoma Mountain appellation zin from this label. Good workmanlike effort, balanced, not jammy, I’d probably buy another bottle of this.

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine

      After I was unenthused (apparently not a word) about the Alexander Valley and Russian River Valley Zins from Greymont, I decided to skip the current Sonoma Mountain offering. However, your comment makes me reconsider.

      Reply
    2. JoelA

      I second SB’s comment on the Sonoma MountaIn. When first opened it had a tarry component but that disappeared after a short while. Alcohol level is a lower 14.5%.

      Reply
  2. JoelA

    I also agree. Lots of fine zin flavors but too much alcohol and oak.

    P.S. Alexander Valley can produce some excellent zinfandels, starting with the Ridge Geyserville

    Reply
  3. Seedboy

    I’ve not tried the chard. Alexander Valley is an odd place for zins, some of them seem more claret-like. Was Sausal the label? I think Silver Oak bought that vineyard to expand its empire of mediocrity.

    Reply
  4. BargainWhine

    I had a similar reaction to this wine. While there was some nice Russian River character to the fruit, I thought that especially with more air it was overwhelmed by cheap oak product. And that 16% alcohol definitely packed a punch.

    Several months ago, there was a Greymont Alexander Valley Zinfandel. It didn’t get my common complaint about “cheap oak product,” but to me it didn’t taste that much like Zinfandel, either. After not liking either Zin that well, I decided not to try the Greymont Chardonnay. But… has anyone tried it?

    Reply

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