Saturday, March 26, 2011

Spirit of Wine Review & Rating: **** $ Kimberly River Zinfandel, Lodi, California, 2008 (BEST VALUE)

Find Kimberly River Zinfandel at WineZap.

By way of background: Kimberly River Wines are sold almost exclusively (possibly exclusively) by Stew Leonard's chain of supermarkets and wine shops. The retailer claims they are made by a "cult" California winemaker, who must remain nameless for blah blah blah reasons. I know you've heard that before. Nonetheless, the line sells at "practically free" prices - under $7 U.S. a bottle - and seems worth a look.

Original Review, December, 2009: Today we'll try the Kimberly River Zinfandel, 2008, from Lodi, CA. That's pretty much all you can find out about the wine from its labeling. Even the alcohol content must remain a mystery for now. However, the label does tell us that this is "Table Wine". Whoo-hoo!

Well, rather than heaping criticisms on the informativeness of the bottle, let's see what's in it...

In the glass: Kimberly River Zinfandel shows as a medium dark brick red.

On the nose: Poured without a decant and swirled vigorously, this zinfandel shows a funky, dirty, almost moldy earth smell. It is not a corked wine (the "cork" was actually plastic), just a wine with truly funky overtones. With more vigorous swirling, the funk subsides, leaving charred, deep pomegranate, tucked in a haybarn.

On the palate: A sweet, stewed stone fruit compote is the first note, thick and slick along your tongue. Real substance there, which reaches to your cheeks, and presses a thick, ripe, black-and-red jam up into your cheeks. There it releases just a touch of acid prickles.

And the finish: Settles nice and evenly, leaving a clean mineral flush after a lengthy wave goodbye.

In summary: Outstanding balance and finish, sufficient to enchant me for an evening. Wow, that's four stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale. That makes this a best value, in fact, an extraordinary value at the "practically free" price.

Find Kimberly River Zinfandel at WineZap.

Following three days partial bottle decant under vac-u-vin...

On the nose: The distinctive, funky nose has passed, leaving a more straightforward clean plum instead.

On the palate: Brings the stewed fruit again, but somehow without the intensity of the just-opened bottle.

And the finish: Settles clean.

Given my higher enthusiasms and strong notes upon initial opening, I would recommend AGAINST decanting or longer-term aging for the Kimberly River Zinfandel.

Updated Review, over a year later, March, 2011, despite my recommendation about not holding Kimberly  River Zinfandel for further aging, I ended up doing just that with a bottle.  The color is a consistent deep brick red, and a thick, hay-encrusted fruit still comes in the nose, funky but pleasant.  Simple, thick, clean plum on the mid-palate.  Not improved with age, but remains just fine, and a great value.

Find Kimberly River Zinfandel at WineZap.

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