Friday, October 18, 2013

*** Windsor Russian River Zinfandel, 2006, Sonoma County, CA - Review and Rating

The Windsor Russian River Zinfandel, 2006, Sonoma County, CA, is another work in progress from the 2006 Chez Ray vintage. The entire vintage was fermented cool, using Assmanshausen yeast - which is not an atypical yeast for zinfandel. The grapes came from Brehm Vineyards.

In our first tasting of the 2005 Windsor Russian River Zinfandel, Sonoma County, CA, here are our notes: fruit up front and tannins on side (*), dry, rich, high alcohol (80), soft tannin, lean fruit, high acids, hot alcohol, neutral, good.

Here's how the 2006 Windsor Russian River Zinfandel fares, in July, 2008...

Color is a light red, almost bordering on deep pink. Aromas are medium strength, ruddy, with a hint of charcoal among the alcoholic fumes. A bit ragged.

On the palate, there is first note of a quick sweet fruit, rapidly overtaken by an alcoholic hot-shot across the palate, finishing in a somewhat acidic, fruity bite. Using the Spirit of Wine scale, I'm going with two stars, with a plus for potential. In its current form, it is a bit too "hot" to seek out aggressively in the future. I will try a 48-hour decanting stint, though, to see if mellowing is in order.

It is interesting to note the similarity in descriptions for 2005 and 2006 vintages, despite dramatic differences in the yeasts and temperatures used for fermentation. As many others have said in many better ways, it comes back to the principle that great wines start with great grapes. And, while the same grapes may yield different wines, mediocre grapes will never yield transcendent wines.

After 48 hours decanting: richer, rounding, bit of dark chocolate feel. Mellowing helps. Based on this experience, this should be good for aging. Moving to three stars out of five based on these positive future prospects.

Updated review, five years later, now seven years from vintage date, October, 2013:  Light brick orange red in the glass.  Dry nose, more dry earth than fruit.  Seems like it will be taut and stingy with fruit.  Red berries on the palate, bright, tight, yet with an underlying fruitiness and earthiness.  Sweet, dry and red at the same time.  Intriguing.  Easy three stars.


  1. Ummm. Sounds good! Of course, I'm partial to Sonoma.

  2. Yes - I've heard there's some pretty good wine out there!