2010 Three Wine Company Zinfandel Evangelho Contra Costa County
 
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Three Old Vine Zinfandel The Final Act: 120-Year-Old Evangelho Zinfandel

In 1890, on an ancient alluvial sand bar where the Sacramento River meets the San Joaquin, an Italian immigrant family carved thousands of 4-inch Zinfadel cuttings into Delhi Sand. Seventy years later, a 19-year-old Frank Evangelho returned to Oakley, resolved to hand-tend the dry-farmed vineyard just as his father and grandfather had. Frank, now in his mid-60s, never left.

120 years after the planting of the Evangelho Vineyard, in what many have called Contra Costa's 'miracle harvest,' Frank would hand-clip small, unusually uniform Zinfandel clusters absent any sign of shrivel or desiccation. Skins were thick, seeds brown and mature, each grape pumped full of sweet juice.

The coolest growing season on record would prove ideal for the coast's most temperamental variety, marrying wild blackberry opulence with riveting acid backbone. Matt Cline, who has been working with Frank Evangelho since the early 1980s, called 2010 the vintage of a lifetime -- and the 2010 Evangelho, the flashiest "Claret-like Zinfandel" of his career.

We first tasted this one last fall at The Grill at Meadowood. We were seven at the table, including Phil Titus, the brilliant cellar master at Chappellet, Ry Richards, his wunderkind assistant, and Pierre Paillardon, the new director of Bordeaux's sommelier institute. All the bottles were Napa Cabernet Sauvignon -- except one. Matt Cline arrived late (surprise) and snuck in the ringer.

Deep purple/black to the edge, with piercing aromas of crushed blackberries and violets, the 2010 Evangelho's attack was all Matt suggested and more. Rich, powerful and voluminous, absent any of the dry fruit overtones that mar so many Zins, the coldest year on record offered up a mesmerizing mix of blueberry preserves and ripe cassis, all bracketed by fine, dusty, ancient-vine tannins. The 2010 Evangelho would first mimic -- and then smoke the $60+/bottle Napa competition.



Tasting Notes

2010 Three Wine Company Zinfandel Evangelho Contra Costa County
"Deep purple/black to the edge with piercing aromas of crushed blackberries and violets, the attack is richly chiseled and Claret-like -- absent any of the dry fruit overtones that mar so many Zins. In the coldest year on record, these 120-year-old vines eked out a tiny, juicy, small berry crop, providing for a mesmerizing mix of blueberry preserves and ripe cassis, all bracketed by fine, dusty, ancient-vine tannins. Drink now for its youthful opulence or do as Matt Cline suggests: Lay this one down for a decade. It could use the rest."
-- WineAccess Travel Log


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