As mentioned in our previous article, one of the benefits of staying at the Briar Cottage is that it made it that much easier to get to our scheduled visit with Mazzocco Sonoma winemaker, Antoine Favero. All it took was a short stroll over to the Mazzocco tasting room.
We were a little early, so Mazzocco’s tasting room attendant, Simon, got us started. His knowledge of the wines along with his droll humor helped to make the experience especially memorable. All of the wines described below except for the last two are single vineyard as designated in their names. Our visit was right after the 2023 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. Mazzocco-Sonoma, as usual, won an amazing number of medals, as indicated below – some noted are from the 2022 competition.
2020 Stuhlmuller Reserve Chardonnay – 100% Chardonnay from the flats of the southwestern edge of the Alexander Valley AVA, near the Chalk Hill and the Russian River Valley appellation boundaries. This wine spent 22 months in French Oak and had a bouquet of fragrant white peach with notes of banana and apricot. Gold Medal winner at the 2023 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.
2019 Aguilera Zinfandel – 79% Zinfandel, 21% Primitivo from the valley floor of the Dry Creek Valley AVA, next to Unti winery off Dry Creek Road. Fruit forward and very approachable with ripe raspberry notes from the Primitivo. Gold Medal winner at the 2022 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.
2019 Stone Zinfandel – 100% Zinfandel from a vineyard at 350 feet elevation of the Alexander Valley AVA next to the Frances Ford Coppola winery in Geyserville, off Highway 101. Pretty cranberry juice color, red berry and currant notes and a medium finish.
2019 Sullivan Zinfandel – 96% Zinfandel, 4% Petite Sirah – at 300-350 elevation, this 7 ½ acre vineyard from the Dry Creek Valley AVA is within view of the Mazzocco Sonoma winery. With dark red, blackberry notes and a medium to long finish, this wine was awarded a Double Gold Medal at the 2022 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
2019 Thomas Reserve Zinfandel – 96% Zinfandel, 4% Petite Sirah from the acclaimed Rockpile AVA, near Lake Sonoma at about 1,300 feet elevation. Deep garnet color, intense plum flavor. Very lush and fruit forward with a long finish. Gold Medal winner at the 2022 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.
2020 Pomo Reserve Zinfandel – 93% Zinfandel, 7% Petite Sirah also from the Rockpile AVA, this vineyard is named for indigenous people. Huge notes of red berry and bing cherry, along with jam and a touch of chocolate. Still young but very good structure and an elegant finish. Gold Medal winner at the 2023 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.
2020 Juan Rodriguez Reserve – 90% Zinfandel, 6% Primitivo, 4% Petite Sirah from the Dry Creek Valley AVA. One of the Los Tres Amigos Special Reserve bottlings. This one is named for Mazzocco’s vineyard manager. Only 3 barrels (75 cases) were produced of this truly special occasion wine. Smooth, full, rich with jammy notes and deep dark fruit.
2020 Caz – 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 50% Zinfandel, a blend of fruit from several Dry Creek Valley vineyards. These two varietals complement each other very nicely, working in harmony to produce a rich well-balanced wine. Gold Medal winner at the 2023 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.
As always, Antoine’s wines are full-bodied and delicious, certain to please all levels of wine drinkers. Speaking of Antoine, somewhere in the middle of the tasting, he joined us. In the middle of catching up on matters both personal and wine-related, he got a certain gleam in his eyes. “What are you doing tomorrow afternoon?” he asked.
‘Nothing”, we replied.
Truthfully, we actually did have the next day’s afternoon open, although we might have changed our plans regardless if we had any.
1400 Lytton Springs Rd
Healdsburg, CA 95448
To be continued…
Michael and Karen Perlis have been pursuing their passion for wine for more than 30 years. They have had the good fortune of having numerous mentors to show them the way and after a couple of decades of learning about wine, attending events, visiting wineries and vineyards, and tasting as much wine as they possibly could, they had the amazing luck to meet Eve Bushman. Michael and Karen do their best to bring as much information as possible about wine to Eve’s Wine 101 faithful readers.