In speaking to my wife about this wine over dinner, I explained that this was perhaps in my estimation this Zinfandel is the most Zin-tastic one that I've encountered this year. Now before you dismiss that statement, consider how much Zinfandel that has passed over this palate and into my gullet and many others which I've swirled, sniffed, and sipped. I've tasted many, many Zinfandel's over the years from some of the "best" producers from the likes of Lodi, Dry Creek Valley and Sonoma. So with that said I hereby pronounce that this is the very "best" Zinfandel of the year!
This Zinfandel is from the wonderful folks at Leonesse Cellars in the Temecula Valley or as the name Leonesse means the"Village of Dreams". They are really making some very good wines and in the case of the their 2006 Vineyard Selection Zinfandel, Galway Vineyard it is not just good it's meet the criteria to be called great. The tasting room is very large, but comfortable and nicely appointed. The view from the tasting is very nice, I would say it's probably the best view in the valley.
During the tasting earlier in the year, I came across a few wines I really liked, with them coming from the Vineyard Selections and Signature Selections, which have higher prices points. But the one I want to review once more with a refocused review is the Leonesse Cellars, VS 2006 Zinfandel, Galway Vineyard.
First Swirl: In the glass this wine displays as a clear, medium ruby-garnet color standing in the glass, (lacking some extraction normally found many Zinfandels) which is not a bad thing either, I believe in their effort to make a less super-ripe and jammy wine, that knocks you over the head, instead they produced a wine that's nothing short of finesse!
First Sniff: this wine exudes an effortless plethora of ripe berry aromas, with a slight smokey sage aroma in the background. Even after the wine is gone from my glass, I'm still nosing it to absorb ever last molecule of aromas that I can take in. This wine had me at first sniff.
First Sip: Blackberry, and whole plum flavors wash across the palate in a large wave of nuanced fruit and the carry through of a long, white pepper, and with lean blackberry on a crisp, but well focused finish.
Composition: 100% Zinfandel, , 2006 Galway Vineyards, aged 19 months in French and American Barriques aged in 55% French oak and 45 % American oak and is 100% estate picked fruit, according to Billy Bower, Vineyard Manager. The alcohol is 15.3 % and some of you may think oh boy big "fruit-bomb", but I'm telling you it's nothing like that. Instead you have a "layer-cake" of rich, ripe nuanced fruit so telling of what Zinfandel should be.
Other wines of note: Their 2004 Cinsaut Dessert Wine (Ruby Port Style) and 2006 Vineyard Selection Syrah, Vista Del Monte and their 2006 Merlot from the Los Caballos Vineyard all three of this wines are in a word, yum!
Wine Maker Notes: According to the wine-maker this wine, "offers intense aromas of blackberry, cinnamon and cedar. Layers of ripe blackberry and black licorice along with a soft, supple tannins, lead into a velvet like finish." Aged for 19 months in small French and American oak barrels
About the owners: According to Kathy Sullivan of Wine Trail Traveler, "As a dream of the owners, the winery was appropriately named Leonesse. In Scottish leonesse means “the village of dreams.” The two couples who own and operate Leonesse Cellars, Gary and Lana Winder with Mike and Lisa Rennie, began their dreams of owning a winery in the late 1990’s. The winery opened in 2003 and the first vintage was a Cabernet Sauvignon in 2002. Today the winery produces 30,000 cases. Tim Kramer, winemaker, prides himself on the quality of his red wines. They built the large, elegant tasting room in 2006. The restaurant opened in 2007 and is open on a seasonal basis. In 2009, the restaurant will reopen in May.
Bottom Line: A very focused, balanced and quaff-able wine sure to please any palate or guest who may drop by for dinner. What I would call a casual food friendly wine; best paired with just about any food group which may interest you.
A good value $27.00 each for wine club members, but at $36.00 for the non-member price this wine is not a QPR winner one may hope it could be. But that said it's in my opinion that this wine is worth becoming a member to get this wine at the discounted price. So if they have any of this wonderful wine left over, I would definitely get a case or two.
Building upon what I said before the focus of Leonesse Cellars and their attention to quality vs. quantity in their wine making practices are what's missing from some of the other wineries I visited in Temecula. If you are ever in the Temecula Valley wine tasting make sure you go by for a visit and be sure to tell them the Cuvée Corner Wine Blog sent ya! Until next time, Cheers everyone!