90 Points - California State Fair
Sandole is our favorite kind of winery—small, family-owned, and based on Estate vineyards. They make just two wines, a Pinot Noir from their home ranch in the Russian River Valley, and today's offering, a Zinfandel from a tiny vineyard still within the Russian River appellation, but further north where warmer temperatures help the Zinfandel to ripen to it's full potential. The northern edge of the Russian River Valley, close to the southern part of Dry Creek is ideal in this respect, resulting in balanced yet powerful Zinfandel.
The 2008 Sandole RRV Zinfandel is medium garnet in color with the powerful fruit aromas you would expect from Zinfandel: cherry, blackberry, and even cranberry, along with a hint of toasty oak. The palate shows more berry and cherry flavors, joined by vanilla and baking spice. Medium bodied with good acidity, this classic Zinfandel ably balances powerful fruit with elegant structure. Perfect as grilling season really gets under way!
For over 100 years the Elsbree Family has farmed their mountainside ranch overlooking the Russian River Valley. Many of our distinguishing zinfandel aromas developed from their panoramic vineyard. The vines are perched in the rocky northeastern corner of the valley with a sunny view of the Russian River.
To aid retention of natural fruit aromas every handpicked berry was carefully sorted and promptly de-stemmed into stainless steel for a five day cold-soak. It was aged in thirty-five percent new oak which helped to contribute exotic spices, superb concentration, and a youthful acidity to the wines creamy oak finish. This well-balanced structure will allow the wine to be enjoyed over the next five to ten years. An elegant zinfandel exhibiting the briary black fruit, blueberry and ripe strawberry notes typical of the region. A small addition of Petite Sirah rounded-out the mid-palate structure, enhancing warm cloves and pepper from the mature zinfandel fruit.
Composition: 98% Zinfandel, 2% Petite Sirah
Appelation: Russian River Valley
Harvest Date: September 04, 2008
Total Acidity: 0.54
Cooperage: Aged in 35% new Appalachian Oak and 65% used French Oak
Release Date: May, 11 2010
Oehlman family history in the bay area goes back well over a century with emigration from Germany to San Francisco in 1872. Sailing through the bay as ship's riggers they viewed a picturesque landscape on the port side, drawing them north to the rolling hills of Sonoma County. The family prospered in the Russian River Valley, embracing plentiful opportunities for new farming and ranching.
Living in the Vine Hill District of Russian River Valley they developed an appreciation for sustainable farming techniques of prunes, apples and grapes. This three fruit mixture dominated the ranch in 1894 when a combination of phylloxera and prohibition knocked out many of the grape vines by the mid 1920s. In 1987 a grape resurgence began with a new six acre parcel of Pinot Noir terraced into the south-east hillside overlooking the valley.
More at www.sandolewines.com