SOLD OUT! The Three Wine Company Zinfandel is made by Matt Cline and it’s my pick for the top domestic Red Zinfandel value out there. Produced with grapes scattered throughout Contra Costa County, this is truly and old vine wine. The vineyards range in age from 25 to 100+ years old.
Three Wine Company is Matt and Erin Cline’s passion project. He feels that three key components make great wine: the dirt, the micro-climate, and sustainable/organic farming. Matt and Erin definitely practice what they preach, and they also preach the gospel of historic California grape varieties like Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Carignane and Alicante Bouschet.
2018 Three Wine Company Zinfandel ‘Red Label’
Ripe, spicy, and rustic Old Vine Zin!
Before launching Three Wine Company in 2008, Matt was the winemaker at Cline Cellars which was started by his brother Fred. So yeah, he’s got “a bit” of experience making delicious Old Vine Zinfandel. The focus at Three Wine Company is on the production of the historical California grape varieties scattered throughout Contra Costa County. These vineyards and varietals represent the last maps of what the California wine industry was trying to do prior to prohibition in the 1920s.
And although this is labeled as Zinfandel, it’s actually a blend of several of the aforementioned historic varietals. A blend of 77% Zinfandel, 11% Petite Sirah, 9% Carignane, and 3% Alicante Bouschet, all from plantings in and around the bay area town of Oakley. Roughly 30% of grapes consist of 25 year old vines with the balance being well over 100 years old
This is like drinking history. At the beginning of the 20th Century, Contra Costa County had a significant portion of land under vine. However, during Prohibition, growers couldn’t earn enough from their grapes and many were forced off their land and other fruit crops were planted. Luckily, a few hardy souls remained and that’s why Contra Costa County is home to some of the oldest grape plantings in the US.
I love the honest, rustic, hearty style of this wine and I think you will too. The younger Zinfandel grapes contribute zesty red fruit notes while the century-old vines add darker fruit along with notes of violet, pepper and mineral. There is deep concentration here but the wine remains light on its feet with soft tannin and balanced acidity. The mouthfeel is rich, round and balanced and the finish is long and peppery.
All in all, this is low production, old vine Zin done right. Drinking this makes me want for some bbq from your favorite local spot. Pick up some takeout, pop a bottle of this, and let your worries be gone.
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