The Fifty Best, rating the finest in wines and spirits, has for the first time shined its spotlight on Zinfandel from California. The Fifty Best recently hosted a tasting where 25 recent release wines were evaluated for the distinguished “Best California Zinfandel" awards for 2016.
Using professional criteria, The Fifty Best's panel of judges blind-tasted the wines and rated them individually on a 1-5 point scoring system, with 5 being the best. After tallying the scores, medals were awarded based on the judges' impressions. The complete results, along with tasting notes, can be viewed by clicking here
Double Gold Medal Winner - Mustang Springs 2013 Zinfandel
Produced from hand-harvested Zinfandel grapes (95%) from Mustard Springs Ranch, and Petite Sirah (5%) from Solano Farms, this wine was aged in a combination of French, Hungarian and American oak barrels for 14 months following fermentation.
Aroma: Plum, concentrated cherry, raspberry, blackberry, blueberry, blackcurrant, dried cherry, cola, cocoa, chocolate, spicy, black pepper, anise, mint, menthol, leather, mineral, woody, dusky, earthy, port-like.
Palate: Strawberry, black plum, black cherry, blackberry, blueberry, red stone fruit, stewed plums, plummy, jammy, violet, floral, black pepper, licorice, dark chocolate, smoke, port-like, balanced, great body.
Finish: Berry, long lasting spice, flavorful, pleasant, medium tannins, well balanced, jammy, creamy softness.
Double Gold Medal Winner - Snow 2013 Zinfandel
Hand sorted Zinfandel grapes from a 30-year-old vineyard in the northern area of the Adelaida District were blended with 4% Petite Sirah. After fermentation the wine was aged in French and Hungarian oak barrels for 14 months prior to bottling.
Aroma: Dark plum, cherry, black cherry, strawberry, black raspberry, dark berry, black fruit, currant, jammy, prune, rose, sweet herbs, herbal, mint, cinnamon, chocolate, cocoa, creamy, toasted oak, smoke, dusky, big zin nose.
Palate: Plum, jammy raspberry, blackberry, cranberry, currant, cherry, dried cherry, raisin, spice, pepper, mineral, clay, intense, bold flavor, soft tannins, very pleasant.
Finish: Cherry, white pepper spicy, toasted oak, strong tannins, hint of smoke, dinner wine.
Gold Medal Winner - Mustard Creek 2013 Zinfandel
Produced from hand-harvested Zinfandel grapes (95%) from Mustard Springs Ranch and Petite Sirah (5%) from Solano Farms, this wine was aged in a combination of French, Hungarian and American oak barrels for 14 months following fermentation.
Aroma: Cherry, dark cherry, raspberry, blackberry, dried fruit, floral, rose, violet, vegetal, black olive, herbal, soft vanilla, black pepper, cola, cigar box, oak.
Palate: Cherry, black cherry, cherry vanilla, dark plum, dark berry, blackberry, old vine fruit, raisin, spice, black pepper, licorice, toast, dry sherry, smoke, earthy.
Finish: Plum, raspberry, cherry, luxurious fruit, warm spice, pepper, BBQ, earthy, great finish.
Gold Medal Winner - Westside 2013 Zinfandel
This wine is a blend (77$ Zinfandel, 13% Petite Sirah, 6% Alicante Bouschet, 3% Syrah, 1% Tanat) sourced from vineyards on the west side of Paso Robles (primarily the Peachy Canyon Estate). Following fermentation, the wine was aged in a combination of French, American and Hungarian oak barrels for 16 months before bottling.
Aroma: Raspberry, black cherry, black plum, deep briar fruit, grape compote, fig, dried cherry, floral, herb, oak spice, pepper, cocoa, coffee, earthy, clean, elegant.
Palate: Red and black plums, cherry, big red berry, raspberry, sweet black fruit, baked cherry, raisin, dried fruit, bay leaf, basil, mint, cocoa, wood, toasted flavors, smoke, port-like, smooth, balanced and structured, firm rich tannins.
Finish: Cherry, plum, raspberry, cocoa, light spice, flavorful, medium acidity, nice balance, varietally correct.
Siver Medal Winner - Clevenger 2013 Zinfandel
This wine was made from 96% Zinfandel and 4% Petite Sirah sourced primarily from the Clevenger Vineyard, located in the southern foothills of the Santa Lucia Mountains. Following harvest and fermentation, the wine was aged in French oak barriques and puncheons for 14 months before bottling.
Aroma: Raspberry, strawberry, cherry, cranberry, blackberry, boysenberry, blueberry, black fruit, citrus, currant, dried fruit, blossoms, baking spice, nutmeg, herbal, sage, cocoa, dusty tobacco, beautiful nose.
Palate: Raspberry, cherry, juicy ripe berry, blackberry, big berry fruit, plum, fruit punch, raisin, light spice, black pepper, creamy, soft mineral, mostly meaty, balanced.
Finish: Cherry, raspberry, cranberry, berry, dark plum, cherry cola, light spice, anise, cocoa, oak, barrel, grainy tannins, nice, smooth.