FOUR AT A TIME (RANDOM GATHERING OF ZINFANDELS, ACT ONE)

In trying to go over wines I have missed reviewing or just wanted a self-refresher, I scooped up 4 Zinfandels that seemed to be languishing a bit on the shelves, the by-product of an overwhelming plethora of cool stuff that has come out in recent weeks.  One of these wines is headed home with me for a dinner of seared duck breast with a pomegranate reduction, some braised cabbage and I have no clue for a vegetable vegetable.

Zincinnati Zinfandel California 2008.  Grade=Outstanding.  A special bottling made specifically for this region with Matt Tramonte and Jen Petrey of Tramonte & Sons Distributing and Rich Parducci of McNab Ridge in Mendocino, this is a terrific medium-bodied Zin with loads of blueberry, black raspberry, sweet spices and white pepper notes.  Jammy and juicy, with terrific balance.

Buehler Zinfandel Napa Valley 2008.  Grade=Outstanding.  Bigger and bolder than the Zincinnati, this full-bodied 100% Zinfandel is aged 11 months in mostly used French and American oak, highlighting spicy black and purple fruits, hints of cinnamon stick, chocolate and cloves.  Well-balanced acidity hides the near 15% alcohol.  Finishes rich and long.

JRE Zinfandel St. Helena 2006.  Grade=Amazing.  Multilayered Napa Zin, blended with 8% Petite Sirah to showcase copious amounts of blackberry and boysenberry jam, sweet baking spices, dark chocolate, sandalwood, tobacco and white and black pepper.  Fills the midpalate with generous helpings of black raspberry, cardamom and black cherry coulis, finishing seductively long.

Maryhill Zinfandel Columbia Valley 2006.  Grade=Outstanding.  Accentuated by a completely different terroir, this 100% Zinfandel is aged in a combination of French and American oak, adding slight Asian spices to its framework of ripe boysenberry and blackberry fruit, hints of black cherries, dark plums, hickory smoke, mineral, red flowers and white cinnamon.  Very nice.

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