Nalle “Henderlong” Zinfandel 2011

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photoZinfandel and associated mixed black field blends are fun explorations of California terroir. One of my most enjoyable wine diversions is seeking out top bottlings from as many of these old California vineyards as possible. My experience has been that with so much history to the vines and such varied plantings, there is a lot of amazing diversity, even amongst the sea of uninteresting, over the top or simply flat and one-dimensional versions.

The Henderlong vineyard was first planted in the 1920’s in the Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma County. It has remained in the Henderlong family since then. There are six blocks totalling about 6.1 planted acres. Five of the six blocks are predominantly Zinfandel, with a few blocks having a couple percentage of Carignan. There is also a single 1.4 acre block that is 100% Carignan. This wine is made from the oldest block in the vineyard, and comprised of 98% Zin and 2% Carignan from 85 year old vines.

This is a high toned, fresh Zinfandel as opposed to the darker, more potent examples. Expect a spicy, juicy nose with higher acid perception than most Zins and lighter body. At 13.9% ABV, this is a great dinner wine that is quite versatile. I think the 2011 vintage has resulted in a little less mid-palate concentration than a top vintage, but that means this is great wine for those who hate big, blousy, alcoholic Zin. A great exploration of Californian terroir.

Very Good+
$55 at Marquis Wine Cellars


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