A Sneak Peek at Sonoma Wine Country Weekend

Labor Day Weekend in Sonoma County has become a go to destination for Wine Lovers. Over this weekend Sonoma Wine Country Weekend takes place. Throughout the three day event several hundred Sonoma County Wineries pour their wines and 60 local chefs prepare foods to pair with them. The Taste of Sonoma at MacMurray Estate Vineyards and the Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction at Chateau St. Jean are two of the signature events. However smaller lunches, dinners and barbecues are available throughout the weekend. The best part is the entire weekend is for charity. To date more than $20 Million has been raised for local organizations.

I’ve long been a fan of Sonoma County Wines and it was an interest in Zinfandel that first took me to Dry Creek Valley’s Pedroncelli well more than 20 years ago. So it feels wholly appropriate that the sneak preview of this weekend’s wines I received were all Zinfandels, including the current release of Pedroncelli’s Mother Clone. Here’s a quick look at six zinfandels that will be among the bounty of wines poured this weekend. There is a lot of great wine in Sonoma County; Zinfandel is a grape that thrives there at least as well as anywhere else. I’m looking forward to Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, I’ll be there drinking these and more, I hope to see you there!

Pedroncelli 2013 Mother Clone Zinfandel ($18)

This is mostly Zinfandel with a splash (6%) of Petite Sirah blended in. Year after year this is one of the best Zinfandel values you will find on your local store shelf. The 2013 continues that trend. Dark plum, violets and pepper notes are present on the nose. The juicy palate is studded with dark fruit flavors and accompanied by copious spice notes. Bits of earth, black pepper and continuing dark fruit flavors are present on the above average finish. This is textbook Zinfandel, pair it with a wide array of foods. I love it with Sausage pizza in particular.

Sbragia 2012 Gino’s Zinfandel ($34)

In addition to Zinfandel (94%), small amounts of Carignane (4%), and Petite Sirah (2%) are present as well. The fruit was sourced at 3 different vineyards in Dry Creek Valley. Red raspberry, bay leaf and a touch of vanilla present on the nose. The palate is stuffed with sweet red fruits tinged with bits of black fruit. Strawberry and blackberry notes are prominent. Black cherry and hints of bacon fat are present on the finish along with chicory and black pepper. If you’re looking for a BBQ wine, this is it.

Hartford Family Winery 2014 Russian River Valley Zinfandel ($40)

The fruit came from vineyard sites throughout Russian River Valley with an average age of 100 years on them. Blueberry, strawberry and blackberry aromas are present on the nose here. A core of spices emerges prominently on the palate alongside lots of dark fruit flavors and bits of black olive. Black cherries, earth and sweet dark chocolate appear on the solid finish. This is very nice example of Russian River Valley Zinfandel.

Rockpile 2014 Rockpile Ridge Zinfandel ($41)

The Rockpile wines are made by Mauritson Family Winery. This is a single vineyard effort with all of the fruit coming from the namesake vineyard. It’s nearly all Zinfandel (99%) with a splash of Petite Sirah (1%). Sticking your nose in the glass here is just like diving head first into a bowl of fresh red berry fruit. The palate is stuffed with bold, red berry fruit flavors. Bits of compote, chocolate sauce and a host of spices are present on the long finish. This is a big, bold Zinfandel loaded with fruit, but it never strays over the top. Firm acid keeps it all in check.

ACORN 2013 Alegria Vineyards Zinfandel ($45)

As with all the wines ACORN produces, this is a field blend. There’s 78% Zinfandel, 12% Alicante Bouschet, 8% Petite Sirah and the remaining 2% includes some 12 other varieties. Dark fruits such as black raspberry and blackberry lead the nose here. The palate is brimming with juicy, berry fruit flavors such as raspberry as well as plum and blueberry. Black pepper, earth and dusty baker’s chocolate are part of the prodigious finish. At three years old this Zinfandel is a mere bably. It’s certainly delicious now but bottle age will treat it quite well. I’d lay it down for 6 years and drink it In the 5 or 6 years after that. In any case as with all of the ACORN wines this Zinfandel is delightful, delicious and genuine.

Limerick Lane Cellars 2013 1910 Block Zinfandel ($48)

The fruit for this wine is a classic old school Field Blend of Zinfandel and other mixed blacks. Aging took place over 16 months in once used and neutral French oak.  Cherry, spice, violet, and black tea aromas fill the nose. The palate is filled with strawberry, cherry and raspberry flavors as well as a nice complement of spices. The finish here is loaded with spices and wisps of cranberry. What I like most about this Zinfandel is the amazing mouth-feel and texture. It begs you back to the glass for sip after sip.