Bella Vineyards - Two 2006 Zinfandels

Today the 12 Days of Zin returns for another stop in Sonoma's Dry Creek Valley. There are many regions in California that make top shelf Zinfandel. Some of them turn out Zinfandel as good as those from the Dry Creek Region. It's hard to argue though that any region is consistently turning out better Zins than the best of what Dry Creek has to offer. Today I'll be looking at two releases from Bella Vineyards. Bella is a small family run operation situated right in the middle of the Dry Creek Valley. While they make several other releases, Zinfandel is at the heart of what they do. The 2006 Bella Vineyards Two Patch Zinfandel is 100% varietal with the fruit being sourced from two vineyard sites in the Alexander Valley. One vineyard features century old vines while the other features vines over 50 years in age. This Zin was aged for fourteen months in a combination of French and American oak. 800 cases of this offering were produced and the suggested retail price is $35.

The Two Patch Zinfandel from Bella Vineyards shows at it's best right now after a solid hour in the decanter. Once it does open up the nose is filled with plum, fig and a potpourri of spice notes. The palate is loaded with blackberry jam and mocha notes throughout. A ton of nutmeg and pie crust spice notes come out on the finish along with plenty of earth as well as mineral notes. That finish is long, lingering and quite expressive. Good acidity and excellent balance stand out, making this an excellent accompaniment for a wide range of foods. After this Zinfandel had been open for a full 24 hours I tasted it again. Not only had it held up, but it had improved markedly from the day before.

The Bella Vineyards 2006 Lilly Hill Estate Zinfandel is 85% varietal and 15% Syrah. All of the fruit is from Dry Creek Valley. The wine was aged in a combination of French and American oak for 16 months. Approximately 20% of the barrels were new. This is a limited production Zinfandel with a suggested retail price of $36.

The Lilly Hill Estate Zinfandel is a bit more immediately accessible at the moment than the Two Patch. That said an hour in the decanter still does wonders to nudge along this wines expressive nature. Dark fruits such as plum and blackberry dominate this Zinfandels nose. Baker's chocolate, dry blackberry fruit and vanilla spice notes fill the palate of this wine. This Zin is rich and full throughout with tremendous mouth feel, good acidity and impeccable balance. The excellent, persistent finish lingers for a substantial length of time with sweet berry and light earth notes starring. While this wine is drinking well now I'd expect it to improve over the next 3-5 years and drink well for several more after that.

Both of these Zinfandels from Bella Vineyards are very impressive. They showcase the best of what Sonoma County Zin can offer. They do so for reasonable prices compared to the quality and longevity they offer.

Next month I'll be looking at two more Zinfandels from Bella Vineyards. Based on the quality of these two, my mouth is already watering.

And Thus, The 12 Days of Zin Concludes.

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