Combine the personal tasting flight from Seghesio with a triangle of triple cream brie, a baguette, a jar of fig jam, numerous sheets of prosciutto di Parma and I guarantee you will get one hell of a night—and in our case, 3 full memory cards’ worth of absurd video footage.
As a Seghesio club member, I have accumulated most of the wines included in the tasting. My plan for this flight tasting was to open a big brother bottle based on the results. My angle for the two wines I didn’t actually have—because Carey did ask what I would open if either of those two won—was simple: “Hopefully one of the other wines will win. But, I will not be swayed. Honest Engine.”
The flight, for sale on the Seghesio website for $30, contains 6 wines that ranged in price from $28-$60 (1@ $28, 3@ $36, and 2@ $60). I decided from the beginning that I wasn’t going try and pass on 6 wines’ worth of tasting notes; that would be far too tedious for you to read. My real goal was to inspire readers to try this themselves.
The tasting flight includes a card with relevant information, winemaker’s tasting notes, and a recommended order by which to conduct your tasting—starting with the least expensive Sangiovese and ending with the proud and pricey Cabernet-based Omaggio. In-between sit the Zinfandels: Home Ranch, Rockpile, Cortina, and San Lorenzo.
Surprisingly, I had no hesitation picking my winner. My three favorite wines happened straight out of the gate. The final three—including the 2 $60 selections—rounded out my bottom half. What determined this order? Simple: some wines were just drinking better at this particular moment. The more structured big boys could benefit from more time. But, I also wouldn’t hesitate in saying that all these wines deserve a 90+ point rating from what I experienced. All 90+ points? Really? Yes. Have you tried some of the crap out there that gets graced with this honor? Yes, I am confident! Alas, the winner was the Rockpile Zinfandel—one of the wines I didn’t own. Go figure.
My second place wine, the Sangiovese, we’d just had recently, so I moved on to the third place spot and opened a bottle of the 2006 Home Ranch Zinfandel. The wines sourced from Home Ranch are so emblematic of Seghesio—this has been family dirt since 1893! The Home Ranch Zinfandel would no doubt be the most popular wine in their lineup if people knew it as well as their workhorse Sonoma Zinfandel, a highly respected wine that has been on Wine Spectator’s Top 100 list a couple times.
From the notebook:
Herbs and mint—these Zinfandels are so ahead of what you find in the average random sampling. Stellar nose of raspberry, plum, and fennel. Subtle, secondary flavors of cocoa, rubber and yogurt. Perfect with a slight chill—just a few degrees south of room temperature.
I had no idea that this wine contained almost 16% ABV—there is no heat to suggest such hefty a number. The palate displays blueberry on the back end and the most delicious, but appropriately portioned, sweetness. Cool lavender, sage, and pepper set in the most perfect, slightly bitter, plain yogurt. Provides a nice little zip in the nose. Juicy not jammy—the litmus for separating the real Zinfandels from the fakers.
Hints of evergreen on the second night—can you believe it lasted?
I couldn’t help but take away a better understanding for the range and versatility of Zinfandel. These wines are capable of complexity and pleasing, defined layers. I wasn’t tasting carbon-copied wines, sold as single vineyard superstars, only identifiable to the most in-tuned and attentive winemaker. The Zinfandels of this group were, at times, vastly different—stylistically and as a representation of their origins.
Get a tasting flight!* Take pictures! Send them to me! Enjoy!
*I was having trouble adding flights to the cart—I hope they are not sold out. Just call if you have problems, they are very friendly!
[To see our movie of the tasting flight, click here.]