Angel Vine owners Ed and Laureen Fus moved their family to Oregon in 1997 to pursue their dream of farming a vineyard. The Three Angels Vineyard (named after Laureen and their two daughters) is located in Oregon’s Eola-Amity Hills and produces Pinot Noir used by several local wineries. Ed eventually decided to make his own wine focusing on single vineyard Zinfandel, with grapes sourced from Washington.
The winery recently sent me some samples to taste.
- 2010 Zinfandel Alder Ridge Vineyard – The vineyard is located in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA which is part of the larger Columbia Valley AVA. The majority of the grapes at Alder Ridge were planted in 1997 and 1998. 15.6% ABV and approximately 100 cases produced. Brambly Zinfandel fruit jumps out of the glass. Raspberries, underbrush, briar, pepper, cocoa and wild strawberries. The finish is long and tart. My rating: 90 points.
- 2010 Zinfandel StoneTree Vineyard – StoneTree is a 250 acre vineyard located on the Wahluke Slope. 15.2% ABV and approximately 100 cases produced. Fresh raspberries, pepper and minerals on the nose. Red fruits, cranberry, pomegranate, white pepper and earth on the palate. Rich, spicy and exuberant! My rating: 91 points.
- 2009 Zinfandel Les Collines Vineyard – The Vineyard is located in the Walla Walla Vally AVA and is the coolest of the three. There were 300 cases produced and the wine checks in 14.3% ABV. The wine smells of black fruits and grilled meats. Plums, black cherries and game on the palate. The finish is soft and lush. This wine is definitely the outlier of the three but not necessarily in a bad way. A Washington Zinfandel for Washington Syrah lovers. My rating: 89 points.
Props from this wine consumer to Angel Vine for having the foresight to pursue Washington Zinfandel. Like California, Washington has a climate that is warm enough to produce great Zins. What Washington does not have is the historic old vine Zinfandel vineyards that make those California Zins so special. As the vineyards mature, Angel Vine will be well positioned to champion Washington Zinfandel.
The Alder Ridge and StoneTree retail for $20 and the Les Collines for $22. These wines lack the jammy texture of old vine Zinfandel from California, but are delicious and fairly priced (maybe even under-priced).
Pick up a bottle (or two) and let me know what you think.
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