Something quite magical often happens to Rafanelli Zinfandel after 10+ years of bottle age. I can’t explain it…but these wines begin to take on a more rustic, Old World feel. It’s as if they shift into an overdrive. The fruit is still big, beautiful and pure (no-doubt a testament to their rigorous selection) and yet they can often display a new energy about them which give them remarkable longevity. This bottle is perfectly representative.
Opened to celebrate my daughter’s 14th birthday, the 2009 Rafanelli Zinfandel pours a deep, practically opaque garnet that becomes more turbid the further we delved into the bottle (in typical fashion, this Rafanelli full of sediment). Medium+ viscosity with moderate staining of the tears. On the nose, bright cherry and bramble-like fruits, Asian spices, espresso and some black pepper. I do sense a touch of VA. On the palate, the wine is dry and with medium tannin and medium+ acid. The notes from the nose are confirmed…with a bit of added emphasis, it should be noted. There’s almost a Pop Rocks experience too…with the slightest effervescence pricking the tongue. And again, this is something that I would more expect from a non-interventionalist wine from Italy…certainly not from Sonoma. Hot take here…but this bottle reminded me of something from Paolo Bea (San Valentino) more than anything from Sonoma, let alone California. It’s just so wonderful. The finish is long and delivers minutes of pleasure.
As far as I’m concerned, nobody is making Zinfandel with the soul that Rafanelli does and the proof is in the bottle each and every time. Of course, they are delicious when young but with age, these wines become something else. Drink now with a decant (for sediment only) and through 2034. — 15 days ago
BF that knows wine: There are wines that you’d only date and there are wines you’d want a relationship with and this is a relationship wine.
Not too fussy, very consistent, medium bodied but with some spice. Financial goals are aligned. Not a trophy wife wine - but someone you’d be proud to introduce to your friends .
Me: 👀 idk what that’s description is about bc I’m in this relationship and those characteristics don’t describe me. But my thoughts: I’d buy again and it pairs well with White Lotus. I’m going to bring it to my “2023 intention setting dinner” with a group of girlfriends. Will update if it pairs well with intentions. — a month ago
Hard to not drink young…ripe, complex, balanced. I admit to loving Zinfandel with food, and Ridge is right at the top. Blackberry, cherry, plum…noticeably tannic, but works like a charm with my renowned six-hour pasta fagiole and a healthy slug of quintarelli olive oil. Zin and pasta, zin and burgers, zin and ribs…just YUM! — 14 days ago
Pronounced nose with lemon cake, stone fruit, acacia, honey, some saline notes. The high ABV is easily hidden behind the concentration and balance.
— 16 days ago
Your typical California Pinot. Plenty of fruit and a bit syrupy.
It’s a good wine, but I’ll take Oregon Pinots over Cali’s every single time. — 8 days ago