The StoryThe Klinker Brick Old Vine Zinfandel 2016 is sourced from 16 “old vine” vineyards in the Mokelumne delta region of Lodi, California. Klinker Brick is family-owned and they are 5th generation fruit growers and have produced Klinker Brick wines since 2000. You hear about old vines when talking about Zinfandel on a regular basis, but there are no legal standards for what age an old vine vineyard has to be. Klinker Brick Old Vine Zin is taken from vineyards aged from 55 years to 120 years. That seems legit to me.This is Klinker Brick's second line Zinfandel label. They have the Old Ghost Zinfandel which is sourced from a single 90-year-old vineyard and is priced about 3 times higher. Older vineyards naturally have smaller yields than vineyards in their prime years, the smaller the yield the fewer grapes to go around and the higher the price. The way to get all the good qualities the old vine vineyards provide at a lower cost is to use smaller portions of grapes from multiple vineyards. By the way, grapes from the same vineyard as the Old Ghost Zinfandel are also included in this bottling.This Zinfandel is produced the traditional way, oak barrel fermentation, then the grape juice and skins are cold-soaked for 24 hours and then undergo maceration for 7 days. Maceration extracts color, tannins, and aroma from the grapes and allows the structure of the wine to develop and enriches the body of the wine. This Zinfandel is aged for 15 months in American oak barrels and then the various vineyard lots are blended to achieve the final product. The alcohol content is a sturdy 15.4%. The Tasting NotesThe color is a barely see-thru, concentrated black cherry red. The nose is extracted red berries, toasted vanilla, baking spice, chocolate milk, orange zest, raspberry, and pomegranate. This is a Zinfandel with a soft mouthfeel and a mix of rounded and edgy flavors. It starts with rounded black cherry, black pepper, dark chocolate, slightly sharp spice, and plum. The mid-palate adds licorice, cold coffee, and cherry. The tannins are soft and sweet and the acidity allows the flavors to unfold. The finish is large and long.The Summary The Klinker Brick Old Vine Zinfandel 2016 is an excellent, classy Zinfandel. In this price range, there are many “brand” wines, and that isn't a bad thing. The rise of brand wines (meaning the label is part of a large wine conglomerate and not associated with a particular winery) has improved the overall quality of “cheap wine” while keeping prices down. But the Klinker Brick is a genuine Winery offering and typically the 2nd tier wine has many of the characteristics of the top-line wine but at great savings. This is a delicious Zinfandel that was produced with all the production techniques the winemaker deemed necessary, no shortcuts, nothing to speed up the process. Just old-school Lodi Zinfandel.
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