Variety: 100% Zinfandel
Region: Sonoma County, California
Cost: $32 (SRP)
Winemaker’s Notes: Classic Zinfandel bramble and spice on the nose lead to flavors that are layered and rich. Sweet blackberry, herbs, spice, and vanilla precede ample acidity and tannin. Pair with braised meats, BBQ, hearty pasta dishes, and flavorful cheeses or charcuterie plates.
My Review: Oh Zinfandel, you hot little number. So I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t drink a ton of Zinfandel, in part because I felt like there was this competition to see who could make the Zin with the highest alcohol content. Now, how much of this has to do with the grapes growing in the regions and how much of this is influenced by the winemakers, I’m not sure – I do know that I’m not a huge fan of “hot” wines, which has lead me to avoid Zinfandel for a while.
That being said, when offered the chance to try three different Zinfandel wines, I jumped at the chance; I liked to be proven wrong (occasionally).
Before I jump into my thoughts on the 2013 Mill Creek Zinfandel, I do want to share some specifics on it. The wine was aged for 18 months in 30% new French Oak and comes in at 15% alcohol by volume. They made 244 cases (just shy of 3,000 bottles), which I took into account when considering the cost/flavor benefit. Ok, so what did I actually think of the wine?
In the glass the wine was a brick and garnet red. On the nose the wine showed hot at first (not terribly surprising), but it did fade after allowing the wine to open up, so I do recommend giving this wine some time to air, even if you don’t decant it; once it had a chance to open the wine was a bit jammy on the nose. On both the nose and in the mouth I picked up notes of sweet berries and spice, with in the mouth the wine was light, with soft oak on the finish, though still with lots of tannins.
The wine showed a bit hot at first in the mouth, but as with the nose, giving it a little time to open did wonders, so be a bit patient with this.
My wife and I paired the wine with Korean Beef Spiced Ribs, and the sweet berry in the wine did a nice job of balancing against the flavors of the ribs.
I liked the wine, though I didn’t love it. I get the economics of the pricing behind the wine, but I don’t know that I loved it enough to spend the money. If, however, if showed up in my wine rack again, I certainly wouldn’t be disappointed – it’s not the kind of wine I’d give away instead of opening again, which, at the end of the day, isn’t the worst endorsement I’ve ever given a wine.
Editor’s Note: I received this wine as a free sample for review.