Del Carlo Winery - 2005 Old Vine Zinfandel

The next stop for the 12 Days of Zin, takes me back to Dry Creek Valley. At three years old the Del Carlo Winery is a fairly new operation. However the two families involved in it (Del Carlo & Teldeschi) have deep roots in Sonoma County. Different branches of the family have been winemakers, growers, farmers and/or residents of the Dry Creek Valley dating as far back as 1929. And in fact some of the Zinfandel vines they still farm and get fruit from are over 100 years old. They're not joking when they say "Old Vine." The 2005 Del Carlo Winery Old Vine Zinfandel is 89 percent varietal with the balance being Petite Sirah. 20% of the wine spent 10 months in New American oak. It was then bottle aged for an additional year before release. 294 cases of this Zin were produced. This release sells for $32.

Plum and vanilla notes fill the nose of this Dry Creek Zinfandel. Taking the first sip, blackberry, earthy bramble and persistent but subtle vanilla emerged. While this wine is engaging from the get go, decanting helps and is recommended. White pepper floats through the entire palate along with present but much more subtle nutmeg notes. Mocha and cherry notes become prominent on the mid-palate and carry through the long finish with features continued spice characteristics and an underbelly of earth that emerges as the wine opens up. This wine is balanced by firm acidity and will be an excellent match for a wide array of foods.

After this wine had been open for a full 24 hours I went back and tasted it again. Beyond holding up, it had improved and become even more expressive. This Zinfandel from Del Carlo is well structured and should improve over the next couple years and drink well for another 3-4 after that.

Up Next: The 12 Days of Zin Continues!

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