Alberto Rafanelli, an Italian immigrant, first founded A. Rafanelli Winery in the early 1900’s. It wasn’t until the early 70’s that Alberto’s son, Americo, came out with the present day label and started selling the wine commercially. David and Patty Rafanelli now run the winery and a 4th generation Rafanelli, their daughter Shelly, is the winemaker. The winery is perhaps best known for their Zinfandel but also produces Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, with all the fruit sourced from their vineyard in Dry Creek Valley.
The wine is light purple, almost crimson, in color. Great nose of briar, raspberry and blackberry. Gobs of fruit on the palate. The wine almost seems light on its feet at 14.7% ABV. Lavender, pepper and a touch of vanilla. Terrific balance and acidity. Rafanelli is one of those wineries that rarely fails to live up to its reputation, and their wine always ages well.
I have read notes of recent vintages having brettanomyces issues. I have not dipped into my stash of 08-10 but it is safe to say the 04 I tasted tonight does not have any “brett” present.
Rafanelli is very traditional in how they run the winery. If you want to join the mailing list you need to send them a letter. They do not correspond via email, but will likely answer the phone if you give them a call. The extra effort required to acquire the wine is worth it.
My rating: 93 points