The 2010 R & B Swingsville Contra Costa Zinfandel is 91% Zinfandel (sourced from a single vineyard in the Contra Costa AVA), 5% Barbera (sourced from the same vineyard) and 4% Petite Sirah (sourced from a vineyard in Napa Valley). Contra Costa is located in the northern section of the Central Coast AVA, near the outlying suburbs of San Francisco. Contra Costa is one of the oldest grape growing regions in California and produced some of the best grapes until Prohibition put most of the wineries and vineyards out of business. R & B Cellars is a family owned winery operating on Alameda Island on the East Bay near Berkeley, California. The owners and winemakers, Kevin and Barbara Brown are also jazz musicians, he plays piano, she sings. The wine was aged in new French and American oak barrels for a time. This is a fairly small production wine, 4500 cases and retails for $15, but can be found on sale from $10 to $15. The alcohol content is 14.8%.
The color is a shiny, see-thru cherry red. The nose is mix of red berries and spice. It starts with a rich, tart cherries, raspberry, a touch of Snickers chocolate and cinnamon spice. The flavors are bright and refreshing. The mid palate shows a slap of Altoid’s spice and smooth red plums. The tannins are soft and sweet and do not get in the way. The finish starts strong and slowly melts away.
I think I get the Swingsville, jazz part of this Zinfandel. It is a little leaner, a bit more elegant than most of the Zinfandels in this price range and while it is a wonderful wine for sipping while conversing with friends, it can get down and dirty when paired with a slab of BBQ ribs. The 2010 R & B Swingsville Zinfandel hits all of the right notes.