One of my favorite dichotomies in California wine is the massive gulf of disparity between Sonoma and Lodi zinfandel. Both areas are well-known for California’s Grape,™ but both areas do it so very differently.
Zins from Lodi tend to be what I think most people get the idea that zinfandel is, which is big, spicy, high in alcohol but not exactly a fruit bomb. Not totally food-friendly unless you’re pairing it with something that can hold its own (a peppered steak, or maybe some pretty heavy curry).
On the flipside, zinfandel from Sonoma tends to be a bit brighter, more supple and refined. Less spicy, lower in alcohol and more food friendly. It can also be, well, pretty boring at times.
The 2008 DCV Zin from Lambert Bridge is definitely not one of the boring Sonoma zinfandels.
85% zinfandel and 15% petite sirah, this blend from Lambert Bridge’s own Winery Ranch Vineyard is an excellent example of the supple, refined side of California zinfandel. The introduction of the petite sirah, however, gives it a bit of an edge that keeps it from being too flabby or uninspired.
The wine is ruby in the center, and a light pink to the glass’s edge. On the nose is a very nice mixture of fruit and texture aromas, where raspberry and espresso mingle with tobacco and a hard-to-define chalkiness that comes off very rustic, very authentic. The wine is medium-bodied, soft and supple in the mouth. The dominant note is black cherry, but more of the chalky rusticness from the nose appears here on the palate.
What you won’t find are rough edges, super-high ABV (14%), or a lot of spice notes. A little rustic, a whole lotta refined, the 2008 Zin from Lambert Bridge is a very good example of what Sonoma has to offer zinfandel fans.