During the 12 Days of Zin I looked at a couple of wines from Bella Vineyards & Wine Caves. They were in a word, impressive. So I'm happy to have more offerings from them to look at. While they make a number of other varietals, I'm looking at another one of their Zinfandels today. The 2006 Big River Ranch Zinfandel is made from fruit sourced at in Alexander valley. Big River Ranch is a hillside vineyard that overlooks the Russian River. 14 acres of the Zinfandel vines are 110 years old. 11% Petite Sirah and 4% Syrah were blended in. This wine was aged for 18 months in oak, 20% of it new, with a large percentage of it from Virginia. The suggested retail price for this Zinfandel is $38.
The Big River Ranch Zin is tight out of the bottle and decanting is highly recommended to get the most of out of this wine if you're drinking it now. An hour is what I'd suggest. Once it has opened up, raspberry and black cherry jump out in the nose along with cedar and light bramble notes. An avalanche of berry comes out in the palate along with mocha and more prominent bramble. The finish is long, lingering and lusty, loaded with spice, earth and black tea notes as well as hints of mineral. This Zinfandel has excellent acidity and terrific balance.
What I like best about the Big River Ranch Zinfandel from Bella Vineyards is how layered, lush and complex it is. It has some big fruit notes but it's ultimately a very proportionate wine. Each of the wines I've tasted from this producer has been fantastic. This is definitely a Zinfandel to seek out if you like classically styled versions of the varietal. This wine should have a pretty nice shelf life ahead of it. I expect it to improve over the next 2-3 years and drink well for at least 5 after that.
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