Brutocao Cellars - 2005 Zinfandel & Personal Vineyards Program

Today I'll be looking Brutocao Cellars 2005 Hopland Ranches Zinfandel. But before Personal Vineyardsgetting to that I want to mention a fairly unique program that Brutocao Cellars runs in addition to their world class winery. Personal Vineyards is aimed at those wine lovers who want to become involved in the process. It's a scaleable club that allows you to base your participation in wine-making at a level of commitment that you're comfortable with. After joining you might choose to get down and dirty in every step of the winemaking process or you might just make a few key decisions about your wine. Specific vines will be assigned to you based on the varietals you choose. Ultimately the grapes from those vines will be used to make 16 cases of wine that bear a label you have the ability to design yourself. If you're a wine lover you'll not only gain hands on experience with one of your passions, you'll also have a tangible result in the form of wine you can enjoy for years to come and share with friends and family. The Personal Vineyards website has much more detailed information. You can also contact Leslie Bramwell-Smith the Executive Director of this program by e-mail, or phone 1-866-530-4567. As mentioned, today's wine is their 2005 Zinfandel. The fruit was sourced from  two separate blocks on their Hopland Ranches Estate. 18% of the wine spent 16 months in new oak. 1850 cases of this Zinfandel were produced and the suggested retail price is $22. Zinfandel

The Brutocao Cellars Zinfandel has a huge nose of jammy candied blackberries, black pepper and subtle mocha notes. This is followed by a mid palate with more dark berry fruit. The finish which maintains the dark fruit also features tingly white pepper and earth character. The Brutocao Zinfandel is big, ripe and in your face, but it also has sufficient acidity and balance to make it a wine you can enjoy with a meal. This zinfandel would be an excellent choice with grilled meats, particularly a rack of baby-back ribs.

For close to 10 years, one of my favorite Zinfandel's year in and year out has been Cosentino's CigarZin. So it's certainly a compliment when I say that the 2005 Brutocao Cellars Zinfanel reminds me of CigarZin. As of this writing Brutocao Cellars has also released the 2006 Hopland Ranches Zinfandel. Production in 2006 was just over 3300 cases making it their largest single varietal bottling to date.  Considering the total production for Brutocao Cellars is 12,000 they're clearly vested in this great varietal.

Two days and wines into my week long coverage of Brutocao Cellars, the story of their wines is emerging. These are appealing, food friendly wines which are also fairly priced.

Up Next from Brutocao Cellars: Quadriga, a blend of four Italian Varietals

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