Audrey Frick of JebDunnuck.com
"I was fortunate to be able to taste many wines from the 2019 vintage for this report. Though the vintage was not without its own challenges due to the Kincade fire, the county’s harvest was 92% complete when the fire began on October 23" Read the article
Single Vineyard Syrah
Domaine des Chirats
95 The 2019 Syrah Domaine des Chirats comes from the Rockpile Vineyard and has very soft floral aromas of lavender, baked earth, and sweet smoke. The palate is ripe and inviting, with boysenberry and turned earth, and the wine displays a building structure on the finish that would welcome another year or two in bottle before drinking. Drink 2023-2032.
92 The 2019 Syrah Buffalo Hill Rockpile is savory and resinous on the nose, with cedar, thyme, and dried plum. Up-front black and blue fruits quickly give way to a gripping structure and notes of leather and turned earth. Drink 2024-2030.
92 The 2019 Syrah So Serine is highly aromatic with menthol, blackberry confit, and scorched earth. Full-bodied and structured, with ripe black plum, tea leaf, and baking spice, drink this 2024-2034.
Zio Tony Ranch
91 The 2019 Syrah Zio Tony Ranch has an inky appearance and aromas of boysenberry, tobacco, and cracked pepper. It delivers full-bodied richness as well as notes of black plum, espresso, and leather. Drink it over the next 6-8 years.
Single Vineyard Rhônes
Old Kraft Petite Sirah
91 The 2019 Petite Sirah Old Kraft Vineyard is packed with blue and black fruit as well as lifted menthol. The palate is full and ripe with gamey richness, and its tannic structure comes through on the finish. Drink 2023-2028.
Single Vineyard Zinfandel
Sweetwater Springs 'Isabel'
94 The aromas of the 2019 Zinfandel Sweetwater Springs Vineyard Isabel move in a more savory direction, with scorched earth, inky plum, and lavender. The palate is full and generous, offering black fruit, dark chocolate, and graphite. Drink over the next 6-8 years.
93 The 2019 Zinfandel Iron Hill Vineyard brings more intensity, moving into purple fruits, with black raspberry preserve, vanilla, and lavender candy. The palate is full of more crushed purple flowers, cocoa powder, and a touch of blue fruit. Warming but balanced, it should be drunk over the next 6-8 years.
91 The nose of the 2019 Zinfandel Rinaldi Vineyard is ripe with macerated strawberries and cream as well as licorice spice. The palate is fresh and medium-bodied, with red plum, dusty earth, and dried flowers. This is a charming wine to drink now or over the coming 4-5 years.
90 The 2019 Zinfandel Orcio comes from the Rinaldi Vineyard in Amador County and I believe is 100% Zinfandel [JC: it is!]. It has a big, sweet nose of red plums, dried strawberries, cigar, toasted spices, and candied violets. These all carry over to the palate, where the wine is medium to full-bodied, nicely textured, and balanced, with light tannins. It's a charming, satisfying, complex Zinfandel to enjoy over the coming 4-6 years.
St. Peter's Church
90 The nose of the 2019 Zinfandel Iron Hill Vineyard is ripe with macerated strawberries and cream as well as licorice spice. The palate is fresh and medium-bodied, with red plum, dusty earth, and dried flowers. This is a charming wine to drink now or over the coming 4-5 years.
Smoke & Mirrors
90 The 2019 Smoke & Mirrors is a blend of 37% Petite Sirah, 35% Syrah, and 28% Zinfandel and reveals lifted notes of crushed blackberry, lavender, and thyme. The palate is full and rounded, with blackberry liqueur and sweet cocoa. Drink now or over the next 5 years.
The Growing Season
In general, it was a long growing season with a cool spring and rains that came during flowering, slowing down the otherwise warm summer that followed and providing ideal conditions at harvest.
photo credit: JebDunnuck.com
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