When I say legitimate, I mean legitimate! The 2020 Andis Painted Fields Old Vine Zin comes from the Sierra Foothills, and contained within this bottle are grapes from the one of the oldest Zinfandel vineyards in our country. Do I have your attention?
The story gets even better when you factor in that the winemaking team is comprised of Philippe Melka, Maayan Koschitzky, and Mark Fowler. Melka and Koschitzky are the same team behind the Royal Prince and Slam Dunk wines, and I think they've struck gold with this fantastic Old Vine Zin! Wait until you see the price....
2020 Andis Wines 'Painted Fields' Old Vine Zinfandel
This is some really good Zin! - Yours Truly - 94 points
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One sniff and one sip, and you will be thanking me for turning you onto this wine. The "yum factor" runs deep in this one! Produced with grapes from top Amador County sites planted between the years of 1869 and 2003, this is what I want Old Vine Zin to taste like more often. There's a balance and restraint here, but don't worry, there's plenty of ripe and spicy fruit kicking around too.
Founded in 2009 by Janis and Andy Friedlander, this fairly new estate is starting to reap the praise they've deserved for years. In the words of Janis, "The soils in the Sierra Foothills are special. The microclimates and varying elevations hide unique opportunities; capable of growing a vast selection of varietals, including grapes traditionally considered obscure to California." I couldn't have said it better myself. Amador County is where a lot of the "cool kids" are "playing" these days, and I like what I'm tasting.
Amador County is also home to a proud, stubborn, and passionate crew of "old schoolers" like Bill Easton at Terre Rouge, not to mention the hardworking farmers who simply grow grapes for a living. The Friedlanders sit somewhere in between that paradigm, embracing the old and the new with equal regard and respect. That spirit is alive and well in this beautiful rendering of Zinfandel.
The fruit sources for this wine are long and storied -- Grand Pere Vineyard (planted in 1869), Fox Creek (planted in 1910), Di Stasio and Andis (planted in the 1968 and 1978 respectively), and Shake Ridge (planted in 2003). This combination of varying vine age(s) and diverse micro-climates creates a Zin with great depth and character rarely encountered in a wine in this price range. It's worth noting that the Friedlanders are just one of four wineries to get fruit from the Grand Pere Vineyard, and it's that component that gives this wine some serious soul.
Enough of the geeking out Josh, what's it taste like? I like that it's not too boozy (14.7% ABV) for an Old Vine Zin, but what I love most is the pure pleasure it provides, both in the nose and on the palate. Brambly raspberry and blackberry, raisin, pepper, clove, sage, and anise all present themselves in a balanced fashion on the nose here, and this just continues to be a joy ride on the palate. Deep, ripe, and juicy, this is packed with decadent and pleasure-bent flavors, but it's not at all sweet (just 0.8 g/L). It finishes long and zesty, and it keeps you coming back for more.
Pick up some of this, pick up some of your favorite local bbq, and call it a night. You'll be a happy camper. Cheers to happy drinking and eating in the AVL!
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