Bottle Notes, Zinfandel

Zinfandel of the Month – 2008 A. Rafanelli Zinfandel

Zinfandel of the Month is a regular feature on Zinfandel Chronicles. Keep in mind that although the Zinfandel of the Month might be an older bottle, the current vintage will be one you can find at retail or via the mailing list.

The December Zinfandel of the Month is the 2008 A. Rafanelli 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.

It has been almost a half year since I featured an older bottle from the cellar for my Zinfandel of the Month. Most Zinfandels are best consumed in the first few years after they are released, but a select few including Rafanelli, Ridge and Williams Selyem really blossom with 5-7 years of bottle age.

Bright crimson in color. 14.8% ABV. Savory nose of red and black fruits, pepper and wet pavement. Medium body with juicy acidity. Perfect balance. Blackberry, black cherry, boysenberry and black pepper on the palate. The finish is long and spicy. One of the few Zins I trust in my cellar to show well for up to 10 years. In a great spot right now. Drink over the next 1-2 years.

My rating: 92 points.

$42 at the winery.

I’ve previously posted on Rafanelli in What’s Your Price for Zin?

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. The tasting room is open by appointment and is always worth a visit to try the new releases.

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