The Renwood Amador County Old Vine Zinfandel 2011 is 90% Zinfandel, 5% Primitivo (an Italian twin of the Zinfandel grape), 3% Syrah and 2% Barbera sourced from Renwood Estate vineyards and other old vine vineyards in Amador County. Amador County is located east of the Lodi AVA in the Shenandoah Valley of Northern California. Amador County has a long history of winemaking and 100 year old Zinfandel vineyards are not uncommon. The 2011 vintage was difficult with lower than normal yields, but the grapes that made it thru were of good quality. This Zinfandel was aged in oak barrels for 18 months and the alcohol content is a stout 15%.
The color is a dark, barely see-thru purple. The nose is mellow dark berries, hot fudge, vanilla and a hit of exotic spice. This Zin is a mix of smooth and spicy, interesting and complex. It starts with cassis, dark chocolate, blueberry and vanilla. The flavors transition to orange zest, curry spice and mix of raspberry and orange chocolate stick candy. There is enough acidity for the Renwood to pair very well with food and there are so many interesting sub-flavors, that an innovative chef should be inspired to cook-up a creative pairing. The tannins are well-rounded and are integrated into the body of the wine. The finish is bold and lengthy.
The 2011 Renwood Amador County Zinfandel is full of interesting flavors and nuances, this is where “old vines” are allowed to strut their stuff. Old Vine Zinfandel, in the hands of a talented winemaker, display huge bang for the buck. There was a time when under $20 Zinfandel was fruit-forward with a slap of spice, the perfect accompaniment to BBQ, but not the most nuanced wines around. Maybe I just wasn’t paying attention, but all of a sudden I am finding intricate, complicated Zinfandel, like the Renwood Amador County Zinfandel, that are satisfying and delicious, no BBQ needed. The Renwood Amador County Zinfandel is no “porch pounder”, this is a Zinfandel that is worthy of your full attention.