Madrona does a good job with mountain Zin, and for their anniversary they pulled out all the stops. The wine is exceptionally balanced, showing none of the excess that can mar Foothills Zin. Dry, delicious in spice, cocoa and berry flavors and rich in fine, smooth tannins, it’s drinking well now and should be best in its vibrant youth. Try with a very fine steak.
Here’s an understated claret-style wine that doesn’t overwhelm with any one thing, just satisfies with overall balance and style. It’s dry and complex, with a seamless integration of blackberry fruit and oak, and supportive tannins.
Cab Franc has been a surprise winner up in the Sierra Foothills, and this bottling by veteran Madroña is a good example of the genre. It’s a medium-bodied, dry wine whose fuzzy tannins frame herb-tinged cherry and currant flavors. Impresses for its elegance and complexity, especially at this price.
Lots of ultraripe brambly fruit here: blackberry, blueberry, raspberry, and crushed hard spices like clove and nutmeg. Clean and elegant. Heady, at 15.2% alcohol, but balanced. A fun wine that’s delightful to drink.
Smoke and oak dominate the nose, with some fairly light, pretty fruit underneath. The oak seems mismatched for the weight of the fruit, which is sweet and charming, like cherry lifesavers.
From one of the highest vineyards in California, at 3,000 feet, another dependably dry, complex wine from this specialist. It’s leaner than in previous years, with subtle citrus flavors, but very well structured. A real bite of lemony acid makes it perfect for a grilled trout. It’s also an ager and a good value. Best Buy.
This is a good example of a slightly rustic, mountain-grown Zinfandel. It’s dry and powerful in wild, brambly fruit and alcohol, and the tannins are assertive. Has a rough-and-ready character but is clean and balanced and possesses a sense of the earth.
Chunky tannins surround a center of rich black-cherry fruit with a strong dose of white pepper. Fully dry and balanced, long on flavor, this wine has mid-term aging possibilities. —S.H .