Friday, November 24, 2017

A Tale of Two Zins for National Zinfandel Day

Wednesday November 15th was National Zinfandel Day and we received two Zinfandel wines for the occasion. They are from two different geographic locations in California, Mendocino in the coastal north and Lodi in the Central Valley. Both share a Mediterranean climate with warm days and cool nights associated with breezes that provide both regions with a "reliable, natural air conditioning throughout the growing season". They both also share a large preponderance of small family vineyards, in many cases multi-generational.

In Lodi, the 2013 D'Art Lodi Zinfandel ($26, 14% abv) is sourced from grapes grown in the Mokelumne River sub-AVA on an 86 year old vineyard that was planted in sandy loam soils. This soil type helps provide a boldness to the wine that accompanies the jammy berry and fig flavors. The nose seems a tad hot, but the peppery finish is very smooth with enough tannins to lift the palate off the fruit characters.

On the other hand, the 2016 Artezin Mendocino Zinfandel ($18, 14.5% abv) is a blend of 85% Zinfandel, 10% Petite Sirah, & 5% Carignan, This is a Hess Collection brand intended to "honor the art of making Zinfandel from old vine plantings and work with family owned farms throughout Mendocino and Sonoma Counties". Many of these family farms are featured in the website's Meet the Farmers section which includes Paul Dolan and his bio-dynamic The Dark Horse Ranch. And the blend composition is reminiscent of the early Italian immigrants who grew grapes for home wine-making and blended these varietal wines to achieve robustness. The Artezin is robust as well with a dried cherry aroma, a pleasant peppery and fig palate, and a subtle peppery but smooth finish. Plenty of acids too. Nicely done for both of these wines and cheers to National Zinfandel Day.

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