Tofanelli Family Vineyard - 2005 & 2006 Zinfandels

After a 2 day hiatus the 12 Days of Zin continues. Today's stop during the 12 Days of Zin involves a legendary name in Napa Valley Wine. Tofanelli is a name that wine lovers have seen on bottles for many years. Their reputation as a grower precedes them. Wineries such as Duckhorn, Turley & Spottswoode to name a few have been sourcing premium fruit for vineyard designate wines from the Tofanelli vineyard for many years. In addition to dry famed, organic fruit that they sell to other producers, Tofanelli also makes a limited amount if wine under the Tofanelli Family Vineyard label. Charbono and Zinfandel are their focus. Today I'll look at consecutive vintages of their Zinfandel. The 2005 Tofanelli Family Vineyard Zinfandel is 100% varietal. The wine was aged in French oak for 16 months. 20% of the barrels were new with the balance being between 2 and 4 years old. A mere 499 cases of this Zinfandel were produced and the suggested retail price is $36.

Plum, dark berry and vanilla fill the nose of this wine. From the very first sip zest of orange peel and mocha notes fill the palate. The mid-palate is rich, full and intense loaded with berry fruit, earth and persistent mocha notes. The finish is long and layered with cherry, mineral notes and continued hints of earth. The length is long enough to be noteworthy and impressive. This is a pretty big Zin full of robust flavors. It's balanced by good acidity and stays in check. It's drinking well now but I'd expect it to improve over the next couple of years and drink well for another 5 or so after that.

The 2006 Tofanelli Family Vineyard Zinfandel is 96% Estate Zinfandel and 4% Estate Petite Sirah. The vines for this wine range in age from 21 years (a small percentage) to 78 years old (the majority). The wine was aged in 20% new French oak barrels. 466 cases of this wine were produced and the suggested retail price is $36.

Not surprisingly the 2006 is a bit tighter and more reticent out of the bottle than the 2005. While the 2005 benefited from decanting and really opened up wide, the 2006 really needs the air at this point. Once it has had that opportunity to breathe it shows all the hallmarks and characteristics of the 2005. The orange zest and mocha notes that are so impressive in the 2005 may in fact be a bit more pronounced in the 2006. The finish also features a bit more spice. Once again it's a persistent and impressively long ending to a very enjoyable and layered effort.

What stands out to me more than anything about these two vintages of Zinfandel from Tofanelli is the consistency of style and quality. It's easy to see how a year from now the 2006 will be even closer in profile to what the 2005 is right now. Well made, consistent Zinfandel from Estate fruit that can age is often a wonderful revelation. These two examples from Tofanelli are that.

Up Next: The 12 Days of Zin Continues!

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