Log In / Join Now

Great Zinfandel From a Special Site

Photo by: Greg Gorman

Posted: Dec 18, 2006 12:00pm ET

Zinfanatics, and even those who aren't, would do well to try a pair of Zins from Haywood.

The label dropped off the radar of most wine lovers as production decreased due to financial problems, but Haywood's Zinfandels have always been classy, distinctive, balanced and reasonably priced.

A friend, Dennis Bowker, planted the vineyard in the 1980s, and it was fun to see how he determined that Zinfandel would excel on this site in southern Sonoma Valley.

Bowker is no longer a vineyard manager, but these wines remain a tribute to his ability to match the right grape to the right soil.

These two delicious Zinfandels I'm recommending come from the same Los Chamizal Vineyard.

The first, 2004 Haywood Sonoma Valley Los Chamizal Vineyard ($20, 205 cases), is made in a ripe, zesty style, with layers of dusty blackberry, blueberry and wild berry, which are fresh and vibrant, ending with a dash of spice.

The 2004 Rocky Terrace Los Chamizal Vineyard ($35, 1,207 cases) comes from a rockier, higher point in the vineyard. It exhibits ripe blackberry, cherry and wild berry flavors, and a mix of sage, underbrush and brambly, dusty berry.

It's a great Zinfandel vineyard that routinely produces excellent wine.

Chris Hilliard
Minnesota —  December 18, 2006 5:08pm ET
Thank you for doing a little somthing on Zin. I am a "Zinfanatic". Look fowared to more..... anything about Zin!
John B Vlahos
Cupertino Ca. —  December 20, 2006 7:53pm ET
Good for you James. Zinfandels are often delicious (a word that wine critics tend to avoid) and you can't say that about many wines. Quality zins can taste like smooth pinot noir while maintaining the zin characteristics, especially with a few years of ageing, while others can be cabernet like, while holding on to the zin flavors. I suspect that because zinfandel did not originate in France, or Italy, it causes a lot of critics to down grade their ratings. They can't figure haw to catigorize them. Zinfandels are probably the most overlooked red wines available.
Thomas Brown
Mooresville, NC —  December 22, 2006 10:33am ET
Thank you James for the bit on Haywood Zins. When I see the production (in this case 205 cases) I can only take your word on the tasting as any product from such a limited bottling rarely gets to my neck of the woods.
Vinideus In The Pearl
Portland, OR —  December 26, 2006 10:01pm ET
Mr. Laube,I'm not a fan of California Zinfandel, but Haywood has always been the exception to my rule. When you have a moment, try their "Morning Sun" Zin......simply exotic! I think I have a few bottles of the 1999 left..
John Wilen
Texas —  December 27, 2006 12:42am ET
Zin friends: the 2004 Elyse Zinfandel Korte Ranch is wonderful. Now on to the 2004 Vieux-O's that recently showed up....

Would you like to comment? Want to join or start a discussion?

Become a WineSpectator.com member and you can!
To protect the quality of our conversations, only members may submit comments. Member benefits include access to more than 315,000 reviews in our Wine Ratings Search; a first look at ratings in our Insider, Advance and Tasting Highlights; Value Wines; the Personal Wine List/My Cellar tool, hundreds of wine-friendly recipes and more.

WineRatings+ app: Download now for 340,000+ ratings.