Bottle Notes, Zinfandel

2004 A. Rafanelli Zinfandel – Bottle Notes

2004 A. Rafinelli Zinfandel

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

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6 thoughts on “2004 A. Rafanelli Zinfandel – Bottle Notes

    1. Tim Fish of the WS said the 09 had brett issues and scored it 83 points. I have not opened a bottle yet but clearly this bottle of 04 was totally clean.

  1. Tom, I’ve had an ’05 and two ’06 Rafanelli Zins in the last couple of years and they were all great. My friend gave me or shared all three bottles so I know nothing of their provenance but Rafanelli has become a favorite DCV Zin.

    1. That is my experience as well. Some tasters are more sensitive to brett but I’ve yet to hear this as an issue from anyone else except the Wine Spectator. You probably remember when Laube went after Montelena for brett?

  2. Tom: I’ve had several bottles of the 09 and had never detected any brett and found them to be excellent and consistent with past vintages. For this reason, I got my feathers a little ruffled by TF’s 83 rating and also by his explanation that he offered you on Twitter. Sooooo … preparing to “rebut” this criticism, I opened an 09 just the other night. This time, in fact, I do think I detected brett. Was it just the power of suggestion? It certainly was not nearly as powerful as often encountered in Bordeaux or CdP wines, but I thought I could indeed detect it. I found the bottle was still enjoyable to drink, but, again, perhaps because of the power of suggestion, maybe not quite as good as I had remembered past bottles of the 09. Coincidentally, though, on the night before I opened the 09, I was at a friend’s house when he opened a bottle of the 2010 Zin and I was able to try it for the first time as I haven’t tapped into any of mine yet. Not the slightest hint of brett. Who knows what to make of all this. But I sure haven’t been deterred from buying Rafanelli Zin.

    1. I drink wines like Pegau and Beaucastel which are notorious for brett. I’m pretty sure the 09 Zinfandel will to my liking either way. Like you I am still a buyer.

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