Bruce Patch, the self-proclaimed “Defender of Old Vine Zinfandel”, matches his talents in both winemaking and marketing to create a unique way of presenting wine. Brian selects Zin grapes from Sonoma County and then produces single-vineyard wines. The entire line-up of screw-capped Zins cost between $15 to $40 per bottle, with wine club members gaining an additional 30% off. And something that I’m usually not swayed at all by: They are decorated with some of the most beautiful labels I’ve ever seen by Topanga Canyon artist, Sean Cleall.
Bruce found me via this site and sent me two of his wines to review. Not knowing anything about either one, as I refuse to Google someone else’s tasting notes to prevent mine from being subjective, (or read the back label) I chose to start with the lighter Zin, based on the difference in alcohol content:
2009 Clopton Vineyard
Russian River Valley, Sonoma County
Color – Opaque, deep purple with a ruby edge.
Aroma – Dark chocolate, smoke/toast/cigar combination, dark blueberry, plum, black pepper, something vegetal, hint of mint.
Taste – Mixed fruit jam, balanced tannin, pepper, sweetened chocolate, chewy, great viscosity, very smooth.
Finish – Medium to long length.
Minutes later – More spice coming through!
Conclusion – The fruit and tannins are so balanced it’s ready to drink now, made me crave roasted beef or a filet with Béarnaise and chocolate pecan pie. 90 Eve points.
Now, a peak at the back label to learn: A blend of 100+ year old Zinfandel and Alacante Bouchet. Unfiltered and unfined. 120 cases.
2009 Forchini Vineyards Old Vine
Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County
Color – Opaque, dark garnet-ruby, deep purple edge.
Aroma – Cherry, boysenberry, wet asphalt blowing off to cigar.
Taste – Jalapeno fruit jelly, juicy, green and black peppercorns, tannic.
Finish – Medium length.
Minutes later – It was so jam packed that I needed a slice of toast!
Conclusion – Expecting this to be stronger of the two, I was surprised. The alcohol, yes, fruit denser, yes, but the overall taste was more fruit-forward to me. 87 Eve points.
Looking now at the back label: …100 year-old vines. A blend of Zinfandel, 2% Petite Sirah, 2% Carignon, 1% Alacante Bouchet. Unfiltered and unfined.
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