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February 14, 2018 Wine Pick of the Week

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2016 Heritage Zinfandel Picmonkey

2016 Heritage Vines Zinfandel


Dry Creek Vineyard

Sonoma County

Alcohol: 14.5%

Suggested Retail: $24

“What’s a bramble? Do you know? Some Zinfandel wines are identified as brambly and your reviewer has used that word himself to describe a certain style. In fact, that was the first word that came to his lips when he tasted this week’s ‘Pick,’ the 2016 Heritage Vines Zinfandel from Dry Creek Vineyard.

“The Oxford Dictionary of Current English says bramble is a noun referring to a wild thorny shrub, esp. the blackberry. Well, that sounds reasonable, but another oft-used descriptor of Zins is jammy. Would that include blackberry jam? Here’s where things could get confusing. He always thought brambly evoked a quality that was little spicy and maybe even feral—that might jibe with the  'wild thorny shrub' idea.  Jammy, on the other hand, is often used to describe big, sweet and high alcohol wines—a style that’s become popular with some consumers in recent years. Taste California Travel tends to like the brambly style of Zinfandel, dislike the jammy style.

“Dry Creek Vineyard’s 2016 Heritage Vines Zinfandel contains 79% Zinfandel, 20% Petite Sirah and 1% Primitivo, a close cousin to Zin. This wine spent 14 months in oak ageing. Roughly one-quarter of those oak barrels were of new oak (New oak barrels do more than just contain the wine, they impart flavor characteristics). We found this Zin to remind us of raspberries and, yes, blackberries too. Other aspects included a slight licorice-like quality, a little dark chocolate and a whiff of white pepper. There’s also a toastiness in the background, likely from the oak influence. This Zin provides a full feel in the mouth and shows a good acidity that balances its richness. Though a point or so higher in alcohol than many of our favorite Zins of years past, this one is reminiscent of what attracted us to good Zinfandel in the first place.

“Would anyone pour himself a glass of this Zinfandel and start describing it as in the above paragraph? Only if he were a wine writer and felt it part of his job . . . or, if he were a real nerd. Wine should just be enjoyed more than analyzed. When it shows some complexity of flavors, yet presents itself in an overall harmonious package, that’s a good thing. This week’s ‘Pick’ is in that category.

Food Affinity: “Could be a good pairing with many full-flavored dishes. Almost any grilled or barbecued red meat would work--We think beef ribs, powerfully seasoned with a dry rub and slow-cooked in a Weber or similar equipment would be a treat.”


Editor’s Note:   Wines reviewed in Taste California Travel are encountered by our staff in several ways. They can be discovered at trade tastings or visits to wineries. They may also be purchased by staff members for their own tables or be those sent by wineries for possible review. This is an editorial feature, not advertising, and appearance cannot be secured by payment. More information can be had by contacting This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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