Valley of the Moon Winery - 2005 Zinfandel

The first wine I'm looking at during The 12 Days of Zin is a widely available release from Sonoma County. Valley of The Moon Winery is based in Glen Ellen California. They produce an array of varietal offerings, as well as several proprietary blends. While the winery has been in existence since the late 1800's, a 1997 revitalization and modernization found it recommitted as a current wine making house. The 2005 Valley of the Moon Zinfandel is 95% varietal with 5% Petite Sirah blended in. 36% of the fruit comes from Dry Creek Valley with the remainder coming from Sonoma Valley in general. The wine was aged for 16 months in a combination of French (60%) and American (40%) oak barrels. Just over 10,000 cases of this wine were made and the suggested retail price is $16.

Tons of jammy fruit in the form of blackberry and plum notes fill the nose. I found this wine to be pretty accessible right out of the bottle. That said, 30 minutes in the decanter took it to a more open and expressive place. The palate is filled with an avalanche of sweet berry fruit from the first sip through the finish. Blackberry pie notes in particular come out strongly in the mid-palate. Vanilla, spice and earth are the main components of a finish that's above average in length.

What I like best about this Zinfandel is that is successfully straddles the stylistic line. Up front it's jam laden with tons of fruit but that's balanced by solid acidity and capped with a solid finish. The Petite Sirah that's blended in adds backbone, structure and a dollop of deep, dark fruit undertones.

While this wine retails for $16, it can often be found for a few dollars less. In its price range this is a good wine and nice value, offering solid varietal character and sufficient complexity.

Up Next In the 12 Days of Zin: Barra of Mendocino 2004 Zinfandel

Check out ZAP The Group dedicated to Zinfandel.

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