Estancia Paso Robles Keyes Canyon Ranches Zinfandel 2003 Tasting Notes
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Estancia Paso Robles Keyes Canyon Ranches Zinfandel 2003 Tasting Notes

I truly enjoyed Estancia's straightforward Zinfandel from Paso Robles. The $16 wine is a pleasing medium-depth ruby with garnet edges. Like many of its cousins this estate bottled 100% Zinfandel strains the meter at 15.7% alcohol, but the fire is well integrated into the juice. You get no heat sensation on the nose, even at first acquaintance, because the wine—aged 14 months in American and Hungarian oak (only 10% new)—has so much more going for it. The berry aromas are both broad and deep: cranberry, black cherry, blackberry, boysenberry. The nose is also herbal (rosemary), spicy (black pepper and vanilla), with tangible chocolate/cocoa, all wrapped in cedar.

As a special treat, a number of manifestations of orange come through on both nose and palate: the orange fruit itself on the nose, a sweet variation of the rind on the palate. The deep berry notes continue on the palate but spread out into nearly a strawberry jam with some ultra-ripe dried fruit sensations of prune and fig. Dark chocolate, tobacco and black licorice support the fruit, with further spicy edges of nutmeg and clove. The tannins are smooth. Though the Zinfandel is dry, it is hardly bone dry in effect given its concentration, its layers, and its abiding ripeness.


Verdict: A Treat
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Paso Robles and Zinfandel make an ideal match, all other factors being equal. Patience, perspective, and direct, honest winemaking bring the goods to the table.

food writer Elliot Essman James Beard Foundation Journalism Award
James Beard Award Nominee Elliot Essman

food writer Elliot Essman James Beard Foundation Journalism Award

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