Yes, these posts and reviews are supposed to be about California Zinfandel. But I was in Ashland OR this past weekend, and stopped in an upscale grocery that had a fine wine section. I was teased by this wine because it was Zinfandel from the Walla Walla Valley, from a well-known vineyard with which I am acquainted.
Angel Vine is actually in Carlton OR, where the winery owners established a vineyard (not a Zin vineyard). Yet there's this fascination with Zinfandel. The Angel Vine website states, "Committed to producing premium Washington Zinfandel and Primitivo wines that show character, individuality, and spunk."
This Zin is relatively modest in color, and is much more claret-like than most California fruit-bomb Zinfandels. This is a little disconcerting, at first. The wine is plummy and smooth, not hot or super-ripe. It's lean in the mouth, but with nice round flavors of dusty dark raspberry and subtle pepper spice, and a touch of vanilla. It's actually quite tangy tasting, with good acid balance. This Zinfandel grows in interest with each sip.
Washington (Eastern Washington) is well-established as a good home for heat-loving varietals. But there are only 60 or so acres of Zinfandel planted in the state. Angel Vine has identified a handful of premier Washington vineyards from which it sources Zinfandel grapes. The winery's first Zinfandel vintage was 2007.
Les Collines (French for "The Foothills"), the source for this bottling, is a relatively high-elevation (1,380) Walla Walla Valley vineyard. The McKibben family (of Pepper Bridge and Amavi fame) farms this 240 acre vineyard using sustainable practices (they are certified LIVE and SALMON SAFE). Les Collines produces Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Merlot, Semillon, Tempranillo, Viognier, and Riesling, in addition to Zinfandel.
Angel Vine produces five different Zinfandel/Primitivo wines, plus a bit of Petite Sirah and Pinot Noir.
There were 420 cases of this one bottled. I bought the bottle tasted for $21.99.
DAH is David Anthony Hance at ZinSite.com and SteampunkWines.com