Monday, April 12, 2010

**** $$$ Hughes Family Vineyard Zinfandel, Sonoma CA, 2004 - Wine Tasting & Review

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Original Review, May, 2007: Hughes Family Vineyard is a new Sonoma producer. Its moderately-priced 2004 estate-grown zinfandel represents only the second significant commercial harvest.

In the glass, the color is a medium ruby/brick red, turning just a bit purple on the edges. While swirling for air I noticed some clean fruit aromas climbing out of the glass. On closer examination, the fruit aromas turn quite bright indeed, calling forth violets and polished stainless steel. (Funny, I didn't even know polished stainless steel had an aroma!)

On the palate, a complete flavor experience unfolds, bringing forward... first, a bright sip of fruits and acid... second, a nice round middle... and third, a collection of tame, tweed-coat-style tannins which lead to a pleasingly lengthy finish. While perhaps not distinctive in the individual elements of its character, the Hughes Family Vineyard Zinfandel is distinctive in its superb balance. The only downside I can see is that the Hughes might not be an easy wine to remember, because of this clean balance. Overall, this excellent wine exemplifies the slightly unusual concept of a classy zin!

I don't see other commercial reviews for comparison, but I would note that the 2003 vintage is now sold out from the winery. Only 235 cases of the 2004 were produced, so this is definitely not a mass-market experience. Review wine provided from Hughes Family Vineyards, Sonoma CA.

Updated Review, about three years later, April, 2010:  The color has not varied from three years ago.  On the nose, sweet, bright, but slightly muddy red fruits.  A smooth, rich middle is the first thing you notice on the palate now, flushed with milk chocolate and, yes, maybe some violets again.  The sweet yet slightly sandy finish yields slowly in time, but very reluctantly.  Remains a solid four-star offering.  Another year or three won't hurt, but is not needed.

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