Bottle Notes, Zinfandel

Revisiting an Old Favorite – Three Zinfandels from Renwood

Renwood Winery was established in 1993 and is one of the most respected wine producers in the Sierra Foothills, specializing in Zinfandel.

In the early to mid nineties I lived in Sacramento and my passion for Zinfandel was based on trips to wineries like Renwood, Ravenswood and Rafanelli. At the time Scott Harvey was the winemaker and the Zinfandels from the likes of Grandmere and Grandpere Vineyards were some of my very favorites.

Renwood is now under new ownership but the mission is still the same – world class Zinfandel made from some of the finest vineyards in the Sierra Foothills.

Joe Shebl is the current Director of Winemaking and the consulting winemakers include Jeff Cohn and Kent Rosenblum. Renwood now makes upwards of a dozen different Zinfandels.

The reviews below are based on samples provided by the winery.

2011 California Zinfandel – Garnet in color. 14.5% ABV. Vanilla, plum and cherry on the nose. Sweet red fruits, vanilla, brown sugar and just a trace of pepper on the palate. Light acidity and soft tannins. The finish is a little short. This is a wine you could buy by the case. $15 at retail and the winery. My rating: 87 points.

2010 Old Vine Zinfandel – Bright red in color. 15.5% ABV. Cherry, raspberry and pepper on the nose. Palate of juicy red fruits, white pepper, plums, cocoa and licorice. Medium acidity with supple tannins and a long lush finish. Lots to like here. $20 at retail and the winery. My rating: 90 points.

2011 Fiddletown Zinfandel – Purple in color. 14.8% ABV. Rich nose of boysenberry, raspberry, pepper and vanilla. Medium acidity and full bodied. Sweet, jammy red fruits, raspberry compote, cherry liqueur and licorice on the palate. The wine has substantial tannins. Drink over the next 3-5 years. $25 at retail and the winery. My rating: 93 points.

All three wines are absolutely delicious. On top of that they are fairly priced and widely available. Some how it is comforting to know that the wines that fueled my passion for Zinfandel are as good as ever.

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