The Federalist Dry Creek Zinfandel 2016 is 98% Zinfandel and 2% Carignane primarily sourced from Orsi vineyards in the southern end of Dry Creek Valley about a mile from the Russian River. The Zinfandel grapes came from 6 separate blocks of the vineyard and were fermented separately. The 6 lots were then blended and then aged in oak barrels for 16 months, 20% new oak the rest used barrels. Dry Creek Valley has a climate that is similar to the Bordeaux region in France. It has the classic wine grape growing conditions, warm, but not too hot days, a wide differential between daytime and nighttime temperatures, along with morning fog that limits the amount of time the heat of the sun gets to interact with the grapes. The grapes thrive in the heat up then cool down cycle. Dry Creek is the home of upscale Sonoma Zinfandel and the Federalist sells (according to a search of the web) between $17 and $25. Dry Creek is known for an elegant, balanced style of Zinfandel, a more subdued style than those found in Lodi if you are more familiar with those value-priced ZIns. Estate grown Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley can sell in the $30 to $50 range, so while the grapes didn’t come from Terlato’s estate they came from a very high-end vineyard at a relatively reasonable price. The alcohol content is a ripe 15.5%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is a fairly see-thru raspberry jelly red. The nose is delicious, meaty and smokey, with baking spices, chocolate, ripe red berries, black pepper, spicy and lightly herbal. This is a large, but well-balanced Zinfandel, ripe, fresh fruit, with enough of a rough edge to keep things interesting. It tastes of blackberry, licorice, plum, and soft spice. The mid-palate adds chocolate powder, a slight tug from the tannins, orange zest, and late slap of vanilla. This is a wine that engages your palate, you will sensations on the back of your palate, the roof of your mouth, it packs a punch. The finish is soft but lasts.
- The Federalist Dry Creek Zinfandel 2016 is a very solid Zin, a nice combination of elegance and rustic, which is how I like my Zins.
- With all the under $15, Lodi Zinfandel on the wine shop shelves a $25 Zin might sound expensive. But Lodi and Dry Creek are different enough to not really compete against each other.