1. Teira: A new wnry for me. Dan & Alexis Donahoe. She is the daughter of FrankWoods, founder of Clos du Bois. Dan is the founder of FreeFlowWines, that provides premium wine on tap from a keg to restaurants. Their winemaker is BillKnuttle, formerly w/ DryCreekVnyds.
2. Biale: It had been over 5 yrs or so since I'd tried any of the Biale Zins, so thought it was time to revisit them. I have, of course, followed the Biale Zins from the very start. I sort of quit trying them as their prices started to escalate sharply. But I bit the bullet and bought these three to try.
I originally was attracted to the Biale Zins because of their intensity and extract. Classic big/bold Zins.
I was quite surprised by these three Biales. They were lighter than I recall in the past. They seem to have gone the way EhrenJordan took Turley...cut back on the extract, letting the vnyd/terroir be more clearly expressed, but still hefty alcohol levels. And like the Turleys, they seemed to carry their alcohol levels well and not seem particularly hot/fumey.
I liked all three of the Biales. They seemed a bit on the pricey side for what they are. They didn't seem
to have the lush/round/supple character of before and I was rather struck by the hard/angular tannins they showed on the palate. Perhaps it's just a matter of them needing more age.
3. vonWeidlich: This is a very old Zin vnyd just NE of Occidental on OccidentalRidgeRd. Owned by the late Robert Weidlich (the "von" is his self-annointed connection to German nobility as I understand). Back in the early '70's, Ridge made some superb Occidental Zins from Robert's vnyd. PaulDraper finally gave up on the vnyd as it was too difficult to get the grapes to ripen properly. He recalls onetime going up to the vnyd to pick up their bins of grapes and seeing Robert out there tossing handfulls of C&H on the bins of grapes.
EricSussman probably made the best of the Zins from vonWeidlich (Ottomino also makes a Zin). He lost those grapes after the '07 vintage when BradAlper/Ottomino took over the farming of that vnyd. He has since had access to those grapes again w/ the '11 vintage and, I understand, is farming that vnyd now.
This '11 is an incredible Zin, very unlike other Calif Zins. It was given to my group to try by a good
SantaFe wine friend. It has a very high acidity you would expect from Occidental Zin and will probably age exceptionally well. I was a bit disappointed by how far along the '04 was in its aging curve.
4. DryCreekVnyds: Another very strong HeritageVines Zin from DCV. For a sub-$20 Zin, this wine is, yr in & yr out, my go-to inexpensive Zin. Their high-end Zins are the OldVine, the BeesonRanch, and SomersRanch. The latter two are always my favorite. The OldVine, in the past, has tended to have more oak and not the fruit intensity of the Beeson/Somers. This '12 version struck me as the best OV Zin I've yet had...less overt oak, more dusty/OV character, a bit more fruit. I think TimBell is doing a great job w/ their Zins.