93 Insider Points
92 Points - Wine Enthusiast
There’s nothing quite like a well made single vineyard Zinfandel from northern Sonoma county. You find such focus and depth in these wines, and 2013 turned out to be a great year for elegant, well structured Zin. This wine is ripe and well matured, with plums, black cherries and a platform of spices including nutmeg and cardamom. The texture is soft and lush with chewy tannins and a long, smooth finish, drinking in its prime. Enjoy now through 2022. - DZ Aug 2017
Dry Creek Valley
40% new, 60% 2 year old
You'll want to sit for this one!
This Gold Medal winner comes from an all-time Member favorite producer. And who can blame our Members? Ottimino only makes Zinfandel, and they make it absolutely perfectly. This Zin-exclusive estate doesn’t make much of it, either, which makes Ottimino’s cult status even more unlikely. Plus, this single-vineyard offering represents a crazy discount--crazy considering we’ve never had any trouble selling Ottimino Zins!
So juicy and overflowing with fresh, ripe berries—this single-vineyard Zin is the adult equivalent of Hawaiian Punch, offering up an assortment of luscious, jammy fruits including boysenberry, pomegranate and spicy blackberries bursting with goodness. Let’s not forget, however, that this is Dry Creek Zin, which means the wine is also perfectly balanced and never over the top. A finish of firm tannic structure and a subtle toasty note from aging in French oak makes this Zin a great match for foods, especially those dishes laden with spice.
Reasons why we love it:
- The Zinfandel comes from Dry Creek Valley, an appellation known for its lusty, brawny fruit. The Biglieri Vineyard is home to a host of old vines that cling to the vineyard’s loamy, rocky soil. Biglieri sits on the very eastern edge of the appellation, just a yard or two of the Russian River AVA. This is a cool spot compared to other sites in Dry Creek but is nonetheless significantly warmer than the Russian River, and the wines made from Biglieri show a beguiling balance between brawn and elegance.
- Just how old are these vines? Pio Biglieri planted this site back in 1959, and amazingly, he owned and farmed the place himself all the way up to 2005. While Biglieri still oversees all aspects of grape growing here, the day-to-day work is done by Harold Hoskins, a well-known Zin grower who actually lives on the edge of this vineyard and is, by now, as attached to this land as its namesake.
Black plum and pomegranate interlace with white pepper and cedar from the French oak. The wine’s entry introduces a complex array of flavors, adding boysenberry and vanilla to the mix. An expansive mid-palate leads to a lingering finish. The balance of this quintessential Zinfandel allows great versatility with food, and its deceptive heartiness will reward experiments with exotic pairings.
Octogenarian Pio Biglieri trusts his neighbor Harold Hoskins to tend the vines with a meticulous touch and hands-off approach. As the harvest date nears Harold thins the crop cluster by cluster, retaining only the most evenly colored and ripened fruit. On picking day, additional clusters are eliminated through hand sorting. Given Zinfandel’s propensity for uneven ripening, it is always incredible when Biglieri’s Zinfandel hits the crush pad looking better than everything else.
Hand-harvested fruit was crushed and cold-extracted three days with vigorous irrigations, coaxing color and tannin early in the fermentation. The pumpover rate was decreased after peak fermentation, and the new wine pressed off at dryness to avoid excess tannin. The wine was aged entirely in French oak for twenty-one months with 40% new oak, as befits our claret style of Zinfandel. No fining was required at bottling.
The first vintage for Brad Alper's Ottimino Vineyard was in 2004, making this the inaugural release from the “home ranch.” The vineyard, planted on land that previously nurtured Ottimino Christiani’s apple orchard, is located on the same ridgeline as Von Weidlich and Rancho Bello Vineyards, and Ottimino Vineyard shares their Goldridge soil structure and temperate climatic traits.
The vineyard rows run nearly north and south, providing proper exposure during the long summer days. The vines are trained to a vertical cordon, allowing the clusters optimal access to dappled sunlight and gentle, cooling breezes. Budwood was sourced from benchmark old vine Zinfandel vineyards, and two blocks feature the Mendocino and Bradford Mountain selections. A smaller block, planted a few years earlier, contains the Costa Magna selection and stock from the Von Weidlich and Rancho Bello vineyards, which extends the historical lineage of the area’s Zinfandel. The rootstock is the vigorous, disease-resistant St. George, which minimizes virus potential and aids vine growth under our dry-farmed conditions. Like all of Ottimino's vineyards, the vines are cropped for low yields to achieve unique flavors and unparalleled quality.
Full-flavored meals such as spaghetti bolognese, pepperoni pizza, braised beef short ribs.