2011 Sonoma Valley "Rossi Ranch" Zinfandel
One of my pet peeves is when a wine is judged on its numbers, without even tasting it. I’ve seen it numerous times at tastings. A wine drinker picks up a bottle and exclaims, “15.3% alcohol? This wine is hot!” He sets the bottle down and walks away. But had he tried it, he may have found it balanced and delicious. Yet, with this wine, I nearly made the same mistake. When I discovered the alcohol was 13.9%, I immediately thought there was no way this wine could be bottled on its own. Generally, Zinfandel needs to be riper than that to make anything interesting. But then I smelled it. “Hmmm... Smells like Rossi.” Next, I tasted it. “Wow! Tastes like Rossi.” The mouthfeel and balance were exquisite. I’d be an idiot to not bottle this wine on its own! It dawned on me what had occurred. As with Papa’s Block, thanks to the October rain, we had achieved physiological maturity at lower sugar. The promised land! It was also a great reminder that wine is so much more than numbers.
Bright medium ruby-garnet. An intoxicating nose of cherries, earth, and what we like to call the Rossi garrigue (the aroma of the native vegetation in and around this organically farmed 101 year-old vineyard). Medium weight in body with flavors of red currants, orange rind, briar, and pepper. Damn this is a pretty wine! Sound acidity and gentle tannins emerge on the persistent finish. While drinkable now, this wine should continue to improve and develop with age. Enjoy from release through 2020. (MRO – 01/17/13)