Thursday, December 31, 2009

What's the HoseMaster Drinking?

Special Edition: Wine Guerrilla

Wine Guerrilla 2008 Zinfandel Russian River Valley

Wine Guerrilla 2008 Zinfandel Adel's Vineyard Russian River Valley

Wine Guerrilla 2008 Zinfandel Conte Vineyard Dry Creek Valley

The only wine guerrilla I can name off the top of my head is Mao Tse-Tung Map. But that's another story. The story here is the Zinfandels of Bruce Patch (see, I thought a Bruce Patch was that little ugly tuft of hair Springsteen sports beneath his lower lip--whenever I see it, it makes my breakfast come on up for the Rising). Bruce is the Wine Guerrilla of Sonoma County, a guy who loves Zinfandel, makes Zinfandel, dreams of Zinfandel, wants to make more Zinfandels than Tiger Woods makes holes in blondes. From the 2008 vintage, Wine Guerrilla will have eight different Zinfandels for sale. I don't know, does the world need eight more Zinfandels? I once wrote that it ought to be illegal for a winery to make more than four single-vineyard wines from any one grape, but, in these harsh economic times, I've had a hard time getting the bill past the Senate. So Wine Guerrilla is safe--for now.

These three Zinfandels will be released in February after they are premiered at ZAP. The Wine Guerrilla 2008 Zinfandel Russian River Valley is all sourced from the MacMurray Ranch, the former estate of Fred MacMurray that is now owned by the Gallos. Is it me, or did I detect the faint aroma of Flubber in this wine? (Who doesn't fondly remember the old 60's sitcom "My Three Sons" starring Fred MacMurray as a widower raising his three children Chip, Ernie and Julio?) This is a Zinfandel that will be selling for about $18, and in that neighborhood it represents a huge bargain. Overflowing with the red fruit I often associate with Russian River Zinfandel, in this case red plums, this was satisfying in the way of big, ripe Zinfandel. You never feel cheated when it comes to flavor, richness and intensity. It's about as subtle as an Adam's Apple on a transvestite, but you can't argue with the provenance or the price (like you can with a transvestite). The Wine Guerrilla 2008 Zinfandel Adel's Vineyard Russian River Valley was a much more interesting and luscious Zinfandel, and classic Russian River Zinfandel at that.
There's wonderful balance here, with the upfront raspberry fruit supported by the zing of white pit fruit as well as a little bit of pepper and oak. And, like the H1N1 virus, it was at its best the second day. If I had a bunch of this I could get addicted to it. Then, appropriate to the Holiday season, I'd have Adel-vice, Adel-vice, everybody sing!, every morning you greet me... Finally there's the Wine Guerrilla 2008 Zinfandel Conte Vineyard Dry Creek Valley. Much darker and more brooding that the Adel's, it showcases the powerhouse aspect of Zinfandel. Veering more towards the blackberry and bramblefruit end of the Zin spectrum, it unapologetically punches you in the face and calls you girly man. I would have preferred a bit more restraint, a bit more richness and fullness, but for this style of Zinfandel it's darn nice wine. Zinfandel lovers should be aware of Wine Guerrilla if they're not already. Considering the difficulties of the 2008 vintage, these three are worthy of your Zinfandel dollars. When February comes you'll find them here.

The HoseMaster Scores: Wine Guerrilla
Russian River Valley Zinfandel 477,256 Points
Adel's Vineyard Russian River 725,129 Points
Conte Vineyard Dry Creek Valley 502,879 Points

Disclaimer: The three bottles were presented to me in a moving and heartwarming ceremony commemorating Guy Fawkes Day. The guy was just fawking with me.


Anonymous said...

With the world of wine sales being a jungle these days, it's not surprising someone would monkey around with guerrilla wine marketing.

That RRV Zin weighs in at a mere 16-point-5 forgot to remind readers (P-Daddy, Your Darling Samantha and maybe three other lost souls -and my anonymous-one self) to fasten our seat belts while imbibing these potent potations.

It is appropriate to note the connection between Guy Fawkes Day (or Night, actually) and potentially explosive Zinfandels such as those ones being described by The Hosemaster.


Wines for the People said...

I'm a big fan of the WG wines, and I was happy to taste the 08RRV pre-release. I thought it was incredible, but also incredibly young. Still, promising a lot for the future. And for $18? Sign me up.

Anonymous, these days isn't all Zin 16%+? Flipping through Rhoda Stewart's A Zinfandel Odyssey (2002) recently I stumbled upon a grower insisting that all things Zin went down hill once the Brix topped 22.5. Now I'm really curious to try such a wine, but are there any in 2009?

Anonymous said...

There's a nice Dry Creek producer named Doug Nalle who makes sensible Zinfandels...the current vintage is 13.8% alcohol.
Imagine, a wine that's possible to put on the table at a candle-light dinner without flambéing the guests...


Ron Washam, HMW said...

Well, to my palate, Zin is all about balance. I don't care what the percentage of alcohol is so long as the wine maintains some sort of balance. Unfortunately, when it starts to top 16% I have trouble maintaining my balance.