91 Points - Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
The husband and wife winemaking team of Michael and Anne Dashe founded Dashe cellars in 1996. With experience around the wine world, including at such estates as Lafite-Rothschild, Ridge, and Cloudy Bay (among others), they decided for their own label to focus on Sonoma County Zinfandel. They believe (correctly, in our view) that Sonoma Zinfandel has a rightful place alongside the great wines of the world, and they prove it with each vintage. With a focus on low intervention winemaking and wines that are refined and balanced, they are way ahead of the trend toward lighter wines, especially in the world of Zinfandel where 16% alcohol fruit-bombs led the way in the early 2000s. Make no mistake, this still has all the fruit and richness you would expect from California, but by picking a little earlier Dashe is able to preserve freshness and the result is impeccable balanced wines.
The 2009 Dashe "Todd Brothers Ranch" Zinfandel, from 50-year-old vines, is deep ruby in color, with black cherry and berry jam, plum, and clove on the nose. The palate packs plenty of black pepper, more black fruit and a wild flower note. The tannins are noticeable but smooth, giving the wine a wonderful grip, with good acidity yielding a bright, spicy finish. This wine accomplishes the remarkable trick of being rich without being overly full-bodied, and its hard to think of any meat dish that this wouldn't work with. A stunning wine.
In 2009 as is our tradition we harvested the Todd Brothers Ranch grapes before any of our other grapes, in early September. The grapes were trucked to the winery in half ton picking bins, and then hand sorted-to remove any materials other than grapes or less than perfect grapes on a conveyor belt on their way to the crusher. We fermented the grapes using our traditional method of native yeast fermentation, using the yeasts on the surface of the grapes to ferment the grape must. This native yeast method maximizes flavor, color, and complexity from the grapes. At dryness, the wine was gently pressed in a membrane press and pumped to traditional 60-gallon French oak barrels.
Varietal: 99% Zinfandel, 1% Petite Syrah
Vineyard: Todd Brothers Ranch
Appellation: Alexander Valley, Sonoma County
Cooperage: Barrel Aged over 14 months French Oak
Production: 774 cases
In 1996, the husband and wife winemaking team of Michael and Anne Dashe founded Dashe Cellars. Focused on crafting exceptional single-vineyard wines, Dashe Cellars blends the two winemaker’s combined 40-plus years of experience at such noted wineries as Château Lafite-Rothschild, Château La Dominique, Ridge Vineyards, Cloudy Bay, Far Niente, Chappellet, and Schramsberg Wine Cellars. Drawing on this wealth of experience, the Dashes create vineyard-focused wines that capture the complexity and character of top vineyards throughout Sonoma County and beyond. To learn more visit Dashe Cellars at www.dashecellars.com.