Variety: 100% Zinfandel
Region: Mendocino County, California
Cost: $15 (SRP)
Winemaker’s Notes: Sourced from high-elevation vineyards overlooking the Russian River where grapes ripen evenly and fully, Paul Dolan Vineyards Zinfandel is a lively, concentrated wine tasting of blackberry jam, orange marmalade and a dashing accent of cracked black pepper.
My Review: I think I have more Zinfandel in my house right now than I’ve had in the past three years combined. It’s not that I dislike zinfandel per se, but the pairings it’s good for (bbq, grilled meats, stews, lamb, etc) I either don’t eat that often or have other pairings that I enjoy for them. That, coupled with the penchant for the wine to be a bit hot, and I just don’t buy that much of it.
Maybe it’s because of that lack of self-purchasing that I recently accepted several samples that included zinfandel (and that I’m just not catching up on writing about – being in Iceland for a week has thrown off my whole schedule). I started off with the 2015 Paul Dolan Vineyards Zinfandel – so how did it show?
The wine was a deep red in the glass, and on the nose I initially just picked up an alcohol nose, not unsurprising at 15% alcohol/volume. To be fair, the wine actually opened quickly and the “hot” nose quickly faded to notes of dark fruit, but it’s important to remember to let your zinfandel breathe.
On the palate the wine was dry with notes of leather, black cherries and blackberry, and freshly cracked black pepper on the finish. I didn’t actually pair this wine with anything, instead deciding to enjoy it by itself, but I could see it pairing well with some St Louis-style BBQ ribs or a hearty pasta dish – something saucy to balance out the dryness of the wine.
At $15 I don’t hate the wine. It didn’t blow me away, but neither was it something that I regretted sipping on, and for sub-$20 that means a lot to me. I wouldn’t go so far as to say run out and buy it immediately, but neither would I say run screaming from it if it’s available at a tasting table.
Editor’s Note: I received this wine as a free sample for review.