I like Ridge and I like a Black Chicken

2004 Birgit Braunstein Rot Leithaberg - Austria, Burgenland, Neusiedlersee-Hügelland, Leithaberg (10/21/2013)
This wasn’t quite what I was expecting, but I still liked it. It is 75 percent blaufrankisch and 25 percent zweigelt. I thought it would be more like pinot noir, but I think I confused blaufrankisch with St. Laurent. This was a lot like cabernet franc. In fact, the nose had a mild diaper poo smell like hipster Loire cabernet franc.
The palate was a tart cranberry with some chocolate. It was elegant with a good finish. I don’t get the sense with will continue to improve. A Winemonger import.

2011 Robert Biale Zinfandel Black Chicken - USA, California, Napa Valley, Oak Knoll (10/21/2013)
Tasted blind. This got my vote for best wine of the night in the blind tasting. Big, yes, but it had a nice core of acidity to balance it out. More red fruits on the nose and palate. Some nice spices. A nice finish added some elegance, although it would be a stretch to call it an elegant wine. I think this wine will age nicely for at least another decade.

2002 Ridge Syrah II Lytton Estate - USA, California, Sonoma County, Dry Creek Valley (10/19/2013)
This is a good syrah. It’s in a nice place right now. The nose is spicy and meaty. More spice and dark fruits on the palate. Good finish. Them boys at Ridge sem to know what they’re doing.

2005 Zepaltas Chardonnay Russian River Valley - USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley (10/19/2013)
This wine has lots of acid but not much else. Either I caught it in a dumb phase and drank too soon or I drank it about two years too late. Not your typical California chardonnay. There was some mild citrus flavor on the palate. I think I’d like to check this out in another vintage. I got this when I helped a fellow wine geek score some 2005 Pontet-Canet at a great price out of the bowels of Costco.

2006 Ridge Zinfandel Carmichael - USA, California, Sonoma County, Alexander Valley (10/11/2013)
This is showing well and was popular with the wine tasting group. I brought it as a bonus wine to drink after the formal tasting.

It’s more restrained with good balance. Definitely not over the top. Nice darker fruits on the nose and the palate. More claret like than brambly. Good finish. This would pair well with a lot of beef dishes.

The oak was slightly intrusive. I think it might integrate better with more age. This has got several years to go.

2010 Four Vines Zinfandel Truant Old Vine - USA, California (10/11/2013)
This was a warm up served non-blind before the wines that were served blind. It’s in a good spot now. Not complex but it had good zinfandel flavor. Dark fruits. Some nice acidity and a good finish. It’s not too big to go with a nice steak. A good QPR. Others in the wine group liked it, too.

2011 A. Rafanelli Zinfandel - USA, California, Sonoma County, Dry Creek Valley (10/11/2013)
Tasted blind. I didn’t like it, although many others in the wine group liked it. This may be the kind of wine that improves with time.

It was big and disjointed. The opposite of elegant. Short finish. Ripe, darker fruits. I was surprised to see it was made by a respected vineyard. If I had a bottle of this I’d hold it for five years to see if the rough edges smooth out.

2011 Frog’s Leap Zinfandel - USA, California, Napa Valley (10/11/2013)
I tasted this blind and if I had it blind in something other than a zinfandel tasting I might not have known it was zinfandel. Some spice on the nose but it was fairly generic tasting. It was restrained, but also bland. The Four Vines bottle was better and less than half the price.

2011 Gamba Zinfandel Family Ranches Russian River Valley Cuvee - USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley (10/11/2013)
This was big and more fruit forward but I still liked it. I voted it my second favorite wine of the night in the blind tasting.

It seemed like it had more red fruit than dark fruit. The nose had a little bit of spice. It had a good finish.

This would seem to be more of a grilled meat/casserole type of wine. I don’t get the sense it’s a long-term ager.

2005 Domaine Christian Moreau Père et Fils Chablis - France, Burgundy, Chablis (10/3/2013)
Nice minerality and good length. It seemed riper than the 12.5 percent alcohol listed on the bottle, but I could still tell it was Chablis. It didn’t have that mildly stinging acidity on my tongue like crisp Chablis does sometimes. A little bit of lemon zest and white fruits on the nose. More green apple on the palate. I was happy when I drank it and even happier when I saw on CellarTracker! I paid $17 for it from K&L Wines. This has got at least a few years to go.

Great lineup Steve - thanks!

The Ridge Syrah was outstanding.

Didn’t try the Rafanelli 11 but the 09 a couple of years ago was very good.

Very nice tasting, Steve, and terrific notes. I agree, them Ridge boys seem to be on to something.

Zweigelt is a cross of blaufrankisch and St. Laurent.

Zweigelt reminds me of dark spicy syrah.

The blaufrankisch I’ve had didn’t impress me.

They sure drink a lot of white wine in Austria though, Gruner Veltliner is like a national treasure which they are VERY proud of.

“syrah II”??

Is there a “Syrah I” as well?

Could not read a word. Photo got in the way.

Thanks to everyone for the nice comments.

Ron, which browser are you using?

There is. I’m sure cepage is online somewhere.

Thanks to everyone for the nice comments.

Ron, which browser are you using?[/quote

Read as photo as dark hair with a sleeveless black top

Hi Steve,
Sorry the Chard was a bummer. We had it out of Magnum the other day (the last bottle in existence-to my knowledge.) It showed nicely (though a bit rich for my tastes), but I could see a 750ml maybe being a bit past its prime. That was my first go at Chardonnay. I feel I have come a long way with Chard since then. Please give us another shot with more recent vintages (I love our 11s right now)

I’m sure I’d like your wine in other vintages. It was nice to meet you when you did a tasting for Siduri/Novy at the winery.