2018 Sidebar Mokelumne River Zinfandel



What do you get when a master winemaker meets some of the oldest Zinfandel vines in California? One of the highest-rated Zins of the vintage! This wine is a star.

David Ramey is a true California artisan pioneer. Just some of his achievements: first winemaker in California to ferment a wine fully through primary fermentation using indigenous yeasts. First winemaker to also fully convert a wine through malolactic fermentation using indigenous yeasts. First to practice successful sur lies aging, first to practice whole-cluster pressing, first to practice barrel fermentation on white wines. Harvesting fully ripe fruit. No acidification of red wines. Bottling without filtration. And so much more! Overall, you can’t taste a California wine without realizing that the benchmark for flavor – be it Cabernet or Chardonnay, was set by David Ramey.

And his resume reads like a who’s-who of California wineries, having worked at Dominus, Rudd, Girard, Chalk Hill – even Petrus in Bordeaux, France. And his own winery, Ramey Cellars, has scored more 99-point Cabernets and Chardonnays than almost every winemaker in California.

David makes some powerful and complete wines. But, when I met with him a while ago, he also wanted to have a little fun. The wines that he is famous for, he doesn’t want to change. The vineyards speak for themselves, and they’ve been producing gorgeous wines for the decades since David founded Ramey in 1996. But he wanted to make wines that were “adjacent to the main story” – ones that are fun and diverse, keeping with his tradition and style, but can be enjoyed now as a casual cocktail with friends.

That being said, this is still David Ramey. So if he’s going to make a fun, easy-drinking Zinfandel, he’s gonna make it from a vineyard that’s 130 years old, producing especially dramatic fruit – the Mokelumne River Vineyard, planted in 1901. And in his hands, those ancient vines have produced fantastic Zinfandel:

The nose releases oodles of black fruit, cassis, blackberry, touches of raisin and fig, along with notes of brown spice and rye. The palate is super supple, mouth-coating and full-bodied, with a drinkability that is oh-so-luxurious. It just slips down the palate, delightfully inviting you to a second glass. It’s smooth and supple now, so don’t bother waiting … drink this straightaway as a cocktail or with some seriously full-flavored food – I’m thinking baby back ribs off the grill!

When master winemaker meets old-vine Zinfandel, wine lovers win! We got a great deal on this David Ramey wine—so don’t miss it.

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