This was my choice for our Thanksgiving feast this year, somewhat inspired by Robert Parker’s recommendations in BusinessWeek. I picked up this bottle at the winery in the summer of 2005 and enjoyed a bottle when I returned home for Winecast 31. Only 300 cases of this Zinfandel were produced and it appears to be sold out at the winery. The grapes come from the “home ranch” vineyard in the Rutherford AVA of Napa Valley. The final blend is 92% Zinfandel and 8% Petite Sirah aged in 42% new oak barrels (French, American & Hungarian) for a total of 16 months.
Neal Family is one of my favorite Napa wineries for this wine and their excellent vineyard designated Cabernet Sauvignons. It is well worth the effort to seek out and very good value across the board.
Neal Family Vineyards, Zinfandel, Rutherford, Napa Valley 2003 ($22) – Deep ruby color with powerful aromas of blackberry, licorice, vanilla and spice. Rich in the mouth with brambles, black pepper and spice flavors with a long finish. The tannins are nicely integrated but still apparent after two hours of breathing in the bottle (I’d decant next time). As good as Zin gets and a great Thanksgiving match.
Natural cork closure