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2009 Tres Sabores Rutherford Zinfandel

Tres Sabores is a Rutherford producer of Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Petite Sirah. They also produce a Sonoma Mountain Sauvignon Blanc from the Farina Vineyard and, this year, a Chardonnay from that same vineyard. Tres Sabores estate vineyard was purchased by Frog's Leap Winery in 1987 with established Zinfandel vines. Current Tres Sabores’ owner-winemaker Julie Johnson was a co-founder of Frog’s Leap with her then-husband, John Williams, and Larry Turley. The grapes were used in Zinfandel blends. By 2001 though, Johnson was having Zinfandel wines made under the Tres Sabores label.

Tres Sabores Zinfandel is grown on 45-year old vines. The vineyard is on benchland in northwest Rutherford. Julie lives on the property with her family and watches over the certified organic vineyard closely. The property resembles a biodynamic vineyard in that it’s home not just to vines but a harmonious ecosystem of flowers, vegetables, herbs, pomegranates, olives, sheep, guinea hens, etc. I very highly recommend their tasting/tour (by appointment). When I take people there, it's always their favorite visit of the day.

Tres Sabores wines are made with intent to reflect both uniqueness of the vineyard and varietal typicity. Fermentation is done with ambient yeasts when possible. New oak is used with restraint. Fruit is picked when just ripe, leading to complexity rather than high-viscosity and jammy fruit. The grapes for this Zinfandel were harvested in six different passes over a five-week period.

The 2009 Tres Sabores Rutherford Zinfandel is medium-plus intensity ruby in the glass with a nose of mixed black fruit, especially blackberry and black cherry, brambles, peppery oak, spice and herb. The body is medium to medium-plus with moderate, fine-grained tannins that provide welcome texture without impeding flavors. Those include black fruit and a melange of herb and spice, including star anise.

This is an excellent Zinfandel that shows both power and restraint. Accordingly, it can complement a broad range of foods from grilled salmon or roast chicken to venison to grilled ribeye. A juicy burger or slice of pizza would be just fine too. To experience it at its very best, shoot for a serving temperature of 61 - 62 degrees. Highly Recommended.

2009 Tres Sabores Rutherford Zinfandel
2009-Tres-Sabores-ZinRating: Highly Recommended

Drink: Now through 2016
Release Date: Fall, 2008

Closure: Cork
Production: 484 cases
Retail Price: $35.00

Winemaker: Julie Johnson
Blend: Zinfandel
Origin: 100% Rutherford, certified organically grown
Fermentation: Ambient yeast

Aging: 19 months in barrel, 40% new, mostly French but “with a handful of American”

Alcohol: 14.2%

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.