Monday, October 28, 2019

The Federalist Zinfandel: A Triad of Styles and Regions

We have written about The Federalist Wines in the past and now their portfolio includes three Zinfandel wines from popular California appellations - AVA's mostly dominated by old-vine zinfandel.  And with Halloween approaching, we sampled these wines with three versions of the popular Snickers bars.

The Federalist 2016 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel ($17.99)
According to the Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley, "though Dry Creek Valley grows more than than 30 different grape varieties, at the heart of our appellation is zinfandel. Dry Creek Valley’s AVA, just 16 miles long and two miles wide, is home to one of the densest concentrations of old vine zinfandel in the world". The vineyard for these grapes resides in the southern edge of Dry Creek Valley just a mile from the Russian River. The river provides cooling morning fog which extends the growing season by slowly maturing the grapes.  The wine provides toasted chewy fruit, firm tannins, slight white pepper and a tad of heat from the 15.5% abv. The standard Snickers bar provided a nice companion taming the tannins.

The Federalist 2016 Lodi Zinfandel ($17.99)
The Lodi AVA provides some of the oldest Zinfandel plantings with some considered to be Ancient Vineyards. Within this appellation, there is also an interesting east-west dichotomy within the Mokelumne River sub-AVA. The east side contains lower water tables which along with the sandier soils equate to smaller berries and clusters. On the other hand, west of Hwy. 99 the vineyards are sandy loam with generous amounts of finely crushed granite washed down from the Sierra Nevadas. This translates to darker, firmer, zestier, flavorful east side red wines in contrast to the softer, rounder, less aggressively flavored west side wines. I'm not sure from what side the grapes for this wine were grown, but its character suggests the west side as it is creamy and round with firm but very approachable tannins. The peanut butter Snickers complements the wine by providing a little more texture.

The Federalist 2016 Bourbon Barrel Aged Zinfandel ($21.99)
The Mendocino County appellation is located due north of Sonoma and is part of the larger North Coast AVA that spreads northward from San Francisco Bay. According to Mendocino Winegrowers, "Mendocino's Zinfandels are known for their rich, dark color scheme, medium to high tannin levels and a higher alcohol content...". The grapes in this wine were aged six months in American Oak barrels then an additional six months in used bourbon barrels. This process provides just a subtle hint of bourbon and heat - slight vanilla and caramel that blends nicely with an almond Snickers. The finish is tannin structure is solid yet very approachable.

Disclosure: We received samples from Terlato Wines in order to share our opinion about their products, but this isn’t a sponsored post.

No comments: