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2009 JC Cellars Iron Hill Vineyard Zinfandel Sonoma Valley

Jeff Cohn, proprietor and winemaker at JC Cellars, has been making Zinfandel for nearly two decades. He’s made many excellent and high-scoring Zins under his own label and at Rosenblum (which he left in 2006). However, Cohn is a Rhone-variety guy at heart. His love of those wines dates back to his days as an enology student.

Cohn refers to the 2009 Iron Hill Vineyard as the Cote-Rotie of Zinfandel. That fits. Tasting the wine with him, hallmark aromas of Northern Rhone Syrah were obvious at first sniff: wild game, rosemary-like herb, earthy spices. The palate carried on the illusion, or allusion.

The power of suggestion is strong though. So, I bought a bottle — okay, two, I wanted to drink one — and poured the wine blind for a small panel of skilled tasters. I gave no hints as to what the wine was or where it was from. “Mourvedre, maybe Southern France?” asked one. “Could be Northern Rhone, Crozes-Hermitage?” offered another. When I eventually confessed that the wine was not French, there was more guessing which culminated with, “Oh, my God. It’s not Zinfandel is it?” Yes. Yes it is.

I had poured this wine after we’d tasted several very good Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, all California wines. So the fact that this wine immediately took everyone’s minds to France is telling. As is the fact that it was also everyone’s favorite glass of the day.

The 2009 JC Cellars Iron Hill Vineyard Zinfandel is dark ruby and very generous aromatically. It offers a range of brambly berry fruits, leather, game, rosemary and cedar forest, white pepper and baking spice. The palate is medium-plus in body with light to moderate, fully integrated tannins. There are rich flavors of sweet oak, dark fruit, blueberry, raisin, cured black olives and spice. The finish is medium-plus. Drink now through 2017. Highly Recommended+.

2009 JC Cellars Iron Hill Vineyard Zinfandel Sonoma Valley
wines-09_Iron_Hill_Zin-0.0.250Rating: Highly Recommended+
Drink: Now through 2017
Closure: Cork
Production: 225 cases
Retail Price: $35.00

Winemaker: Jeff Cohn
Origin: Iron Hill Vineyard, Sonoma Valley
Alcohol: 14.8%

Service Recommendations
Decanting: Not required
Temperature: 60º - 64º F
Food Pairings: Lamb tagine or merquez with couscous

The wine above was purchased for review.

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This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2012 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.