2011 Three Wine Company Zinfandel Evangelho Contra Costa County
 
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4.06 stars out of 5!
2010 Vintage Member Reviews:

***** Another Winner!!!
Blackberry aromas and flavor. Well balanced and structured. Will definitely improve with age.
-- Robert from Bound Brook, NJ

***** Stunning
Seamless and delicious with an almost unctuous mouthfeel. I was blown away. This is a magnificent wine and a steal at around $20/bottle.
-- Brendon from New Haven, CT

***** Good Solid Zin
Cracked the first bottle of my case to test a few weeks after it arrived and I am happy to say it met my expectation. I expect much more once the wine settles down from travel and I'm sure some more bottle age will only benefit it.
-- Phil from Cleveland, OH

***** Very pleased
Really a great Zin! I save it for my wine drinking guests and do not open it for the "regulars." Would recommend at this price all day. Perhaps my favorite of the THREE WINE offerings, but may have to try their Petite Syrah now as well.
-- Lance from Las Vegas, NV


Mystery Budwood and 125-Year-Old Zinfandel

When the work week was over, fathers and sons piled into buggies, heading north from the Port of San Francisco. It was early February. As the immigrants waited for the early morning ferry, they huddled around a fire, telling stories of the old country in a mixed bag of Italian and Portuguese dialects. The boat ride was less than an hour. Once on the other side of the bay, they climbed onto another open carriage, awoke the horses with a light tug of the reins, and headed almost 50 miles due north to Buena Vista winery.

In 1856, Hungarian entrepreneur Agoston Haraszthy purchased a small vineyard a few miles east of Sonoma. But, as with everything else in his colorful life, the Hungarian was simply incapable of thinking small. Just one year later, Haraszthy began boring tunnels into the sides of nearby mountain. Then he built stone cellars at the entrance, and began purchasing Sonoma hillside spreads a ranch at a time. In less than a decade, his original property had grown to 5,000 acres.

Most importantly for the future of California viticulture, those early Buena Vista plantings featured a myriad of European varieties, some of which were familiar to the farmers making the trek from San Francisco to Sonoma. There was Mataro from Spain, or what the French call Mourvèdre. There were dark, thick-skin varieties like Carignan, Malvasia Nera and Alicante Bouschet.

But to the Italian grape growers who made that 50-mile trek in February 1885, the most exciting discovery was a more mysterious variety. Some recognized it as Primitivo, the robust, spicy red found in Italy's "heel," in the province of Puglia. With nostalgic zeal, they gathered up every piece of 6-inch budwood they could stuff into the back of their carriages, and headed southeast, toward the white sand of Oakley. Once they arrived, thinking mostly of bay breezes that would take the sting out of the blistering summer sun, they dug saplings into the dunes perched closest to the water, where the San Joaquin River meets the Sacramento.

In 1982, a young winemaker named Matt Cline, fresh out of UC Berkeley and Cal Davis, discovered the ancient Evangelho Vineyard. Just a few years before the likes of Joel Peterson at Ravenswood, Randall Grahm at Bonny Doon and Paul Draper at Ridge Vineyards would also become enchanted by the old vines of Contra Costa, Cline inked a grape contract on the spot — knowing full well that he'd just laid claim to one of the most extraordinary Zinfandel vineyards on the coast.

In retrospect, Matt suggested over tacos at the Oxbow Public Market in Napa, the immigrants never realized how viticulturally significant it had been to choose parcels closest to the water. "It's not like they had A/C back then. Contra Costa summers can be blistering. They planted where it was coolest, so as to best cope with the heat. As it turned out, the spots that were most comfortable for vineyard workers were perfect for Zinfandel."

Cline has always maintained that it's in the coolest growing seasons that Evangelho's 125-year-old vines really flourish. The back-to-back vintages of 2010 and 2011 were the coolest since 1982, the late harvest giving the small-berry clusters added hang-time, spiking maturity without sacrificing a gram of acidity. Buyers rained rave ratings and reviews on the 2010. 194 rated, with 160 coming in at 4 stars or a perfect 5.

"The 2010 Evangelho was my best ever," Matt said. "Until I bottled the 2011!"

Drawn from 125-year-old vines that eked out just 1.75 tons per acre, the 2011 Three Zinfandel Evangelho Vineyard is a gentle MONSTER. Jet-purple/black to the rim with intoxicating aromas of blackberry, mountain blueberry, violets and sweet spice, the attack is MASSIVE, infused with a luscious mix of crushed-black-fruit preserves, licorice and blackcurrant. Fabulously primary out of the gate, don't be fooled: Despite all the plush opulence, the pH came in at a riveting 3.65. The finish is fresh and vibrant with sufficient tannic structure to suggest cellaring this monumental Zin for a decade or two.



Tasting Notes

2011 Three Wine Company Zinfandel Evangelho Contra Costa County
"Drawn from 125-year-old vines that eked out just 1.75 tons per acre, the 2011 Three Zinfandel Evangelho Vineyard is a gentle MONSTER. Jet-purple/black to the rim with intoxicating aromas of blackberry, mountain blueberry, violets and sweet spice, the attack is MASSIVE, infused with a luscious mix of crushed-black-fruit preserves, licorice and blackcurrant. Fabulously primary out of the gate, don't be fooled: Despite all the plush opulence, the pH came in at a riveting 3.65. The finish is fresh and vibrant with sufficient tannic structure to suggest cellaring this monumental Zin for a decade or two."
-- WineAccess Travel Log -- January 8, 2014 (Oxbow Public Market)

 

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