This is a wine pairing that will rock your world!

Who doesn’t love hearing that sizzle as you throw a piece of raw meat onto that red hot grill? The taste buds start to salivate as the smokey aromas waft up, tantalizing your olfactory and conjuring up images of that first bite. Add some peppers, red onions, tomatoes, zucchini, and asparagus, all dowsed in EVOO, and you are on a roll, heading towards a blissful culinary experience. Read More


Marietta Cellars Angeli Cuvee

Scot & Jake Bilbro – Marietta Cellars

There are a few wineries that have helped put Alexander Valley in northern Sonoma County on the world stage of wine growing and production. Wineries such as Robert Young, Jordan Vineyards, Alexander Valley Vineyards, Murphy Goode, Stuhlmuller Vineyards, White Oak, and others certainly played a large part in establishing the region as a premier AVA (American Viticultural Area).

But the conversation would not be complete without including Marietta Cellars. Read More


From one of the Premier Zinfandel Producers in Sonoma County…

BELLA VINEYARDS & WINE CAVES

Two Remarkable Old Vine Zinfandels

Bella Vineyards 2010 Zinfandel

BELLA 2010 LILY HILL ESTATE ZINFANDEL
Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County

This is a classic expression of old-vine Dry Creek Zin (Planted in 1915); boasting ripe aromas of plum, blackcurrant and blackberry jam, as well as hints of vanilla and nutmeg.  On the palate, this luscious wine is smooth textured, yet solid.  A small amount of Petite Sirah (9%) provides a backbone of light tannins that are perfectly balanced with the rich fruit characteristics of the Zinfandel.  Delicious and beautifully balanced. ($37.5)

Winery Vineyard Notes

“Lily Hill Estate is our vineyard in the heart of the Dry Creek Valley and is also home to our winery. The 85-year-old vines at this vineyard provide the backbone to the estate zin. The fruit flavors exhibit the elegance, depth, and intense black fruit flavors that are hallmarks of old vine zinfandels from Dry Creek Valley.”

BELLA 2010 BIG RIVER RANCH ZINFANDEL
Alexander Valley, Sonoma County

Loaded with dark berry flavors, this Zin is heady, spicy, and fantastically delicious!  Gorgeous deep aromas and flavors of blackberry, blueberry, black currant, licorice, dark chocolate and cola, with a hint of exotic spices and pepper.  This wine is just delicious and fun to drink! ($36)

Winery Vineyard Notes

“Big River Ranch, our family vineyard in Alexander Valley, is the remarkable home to vines planted in 1906. The naturally low crop levels produces intense flavors of blackberry, chocolate, and black pepper that are quite unique to the vineyard and consistent year after year.”

Interested in getting some of these fantastic Zinfandels?  Send us an email to info@wineriff.com.


“You cannot just plant an
Old Vine Vineyard”

Planted in 1900, the Gamba Estate Vineyard in the Russian River Valley grows some amazing fruit. Old Vine vineyards are a tradeoff, choosing quality over quantity. With a production of only 1/2 – 1 ton per acre, the resulting grapes from the Gamba Estate Vineyard impart a concentration and depth of character that cannot be duplicated from young vines. (A Zinfandel vineyard at it’s peak produces about 5 – 7 tons per acre.)

When you combine the small production with the labor-intensive, sustainable farming practices Gus Gamba employs, it makes one wonder if it’s worth the effort.  That question evaporates once you open a bottle and take a sip, and you’re just glad that someone is making a wine like this.

Gamba bottling line

Bottling 2011 Gamba Estate Old Vine Zinfandel

GAMBA Vineyards and Winery has just released its new 2011 GAMBA ESTATE OLD VINE ZINFANDEL, one of our most popular Zins. At the rate the 2010 sold out last year, it is highly recommend you get yours sooner rather than later.

GAMBA 2011 OLD VINE ZINFANDEL

Gamba Estate Vineyard – Russian River Valley

$40 per bottle ($480 per case)
(Reg. $45)

(To place an order, click the button below to send us an email with contact information and your order.)

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Gamba 2011 Estate Old Vine Zinfandel

Gamba 2011 Estate Old Vine Zinfandel

Winemaker’s Tasting Notes:

Deep garnet in color with a cherry preserve nose, highlighted by red plum and dried cranberry, this wine promises a classic expression of Zinfandel on the palate. Beginning with an appealing mix of spicy berry aromas and flavors, the wine expands into medium to full bodied ripe briary fruit of plum, black cherry, earth minerals, and white pepper.

The texture is silky smooth, with elegant tannins, integrated with a subtle brown spice. The long cherry kirsch-filled finish is punctuated by firm but gentle tannins. With ample acidity, the balanced framework, effusive fruit, and a smooth lingering finish, this wine will drink wonderfully for several years to come.

2011 Growing season:

In 2011, careful canopy management was the key to the success of our overall crop. We continue our vigilant work in the vineyards, watching over our blocks carefully and working continually to insure the best fruit possible from each vintage. Early in the season, we thinned the canopy, diminishing the demand on the old vines considerably by dropping fruit to encourage even ripening and good air circulation.

The adequate ripening conditions during the season allowed steady flavor development, and in conjunction with our cultural practices, gave us the potential for full flavored wines with balanced alcohol levels.

The harvest period provided plenty of time for our blocks to be picked individually and at optimum maturity, allowing us the luxury of separate extended macerations, fully extracting color and flavors from the skins. We are excited to share the resulting wines; they are fruit driven, and produced flavors that are complex and well balanced.

Winemaking:

Keeping in the spirit of this organic, dry farmed vineyard, the must was not inoculated for fermentation, relying instead upon naturally occurring ambient indigenous yeasts. The whole berries undergo a cool, extended maceration, prior to fermentation, to generate maximum skin contact and extract fruit character. After a long but steady fermentation, the free run was kept and aged separately from the press fraction. After aging for 14 months, the bench trials from each lot were initiated to achieve the target master finished wine.

Paulette and Gus Gamba

Paulette and Gus Gamba


Kirk Venge continues the family legacy with his Venge Vineyards Scouts Honor Napa Valley Red Wine

For almost a century, the Venge family has been an integral part of the California wine landscape beginning with the immigration of Knud Venge from Denmark.  Four generations later, Kirk Venge continues the family legacy, which his dad, Nils Venge, so firmly established as an icon within the Napa Valley wine community.

Nils Venge is one of the most colorful characters in Napa Valley.  He may be best known as the master winemaker throughout the 1980s responsible for the prestigious Groth wines, becoming the first American to make a wine that received a perfect 100 point score from Robert Parker with the 1985 Groth Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon!

Nils continues to be one of the busiest winemakers in the business today, he is also winemaker for many prized boutique wineries such as Robert Keenan Winery, Del Dotto, Tudal, Moss Creek, and the much sought-after PlumpJack, not to mention his own label, Saddleback Cellars.

In 2008, Nils handed over Venge Vineyards to his son Kirk Venge, a well-respected UC Davis-trained viticulturist who grew up among the vines under his father’s watchful eye at some of Napa’s premier wineries.  Kirk has since established himself as a talented and skillful winemaker in his own right making wines for such top Napa Valley wineries as Igneous, Beau Vigne and B-Cellars.

Scouts Honor Napa Valley Red WineThe Venge Scout’s Honor is Kirk’s award-winning blend of 55% Zinfandel, 22% Petite Sirah, 14% Charbono and 9% Syrah — all from 30 to 60 year-old vines.

This 2009 has LOADS of amazingly complex and intense fruit.  It’s just massive!  Deep and concentrated black cherry, briary raspberry, cinnamon, clove, pepper, spice, smoky dark chocolate and dried blueberry.

It’s lush and creamy and just totally sexy and self-indulgent.

The 2009 vintage was almost perfect throughout Napa Valley, with a summer of mild, steady weather, so fruit was picked at the optimal ripening levels.

The Scout’s Honor is Venge’s fastest-selling wine every year, so it will only be around for a very limited time.  ($38)


GAMBA Hits The Mark, Again,
With ZAP Attendees!

GAMBA 2009 Estate Old Vine Zinfandel Receives Warm Welcome at
ZAP 2011 Grand Tasting

At the ZAP Grand Tasting this past January, over 350 wines were poured, and the lineup of three Zinfandels produced by GAMBA Vineyards and Winery were among the crowd’s favorites, based on my conversations with attendees, as well as post-event postings in various chat rooms.

GAMBA Vineyards and Winery 2009 Old Vine Zinfandel
Gamba Estate Vineyard | Russian River Valley

Tasting Notes:

Yet another blockbuster Old Vine Zinfandel from the 110 year-old Gamba Estate Vineyard in the Russian River Valley!  Ripe, rich and dense, while having a terrific, well-balanced framework.  Serious, dark garnet color, the bouquet showcases luscious dark cherry, raspberry with clove and moderate toasted oak highlights.  On the palate the wine is smooth and velvety, satisfying your senses through succulent cherry, boysenberry and blueberry, along with layered, intricate flavors of cardamom, nutmeg, toasty mocha, and hints of spice.

The stylish red and dark berry flavors layer over the palate without overbearing weight, and the pleasant acidity gracefully harmonizes with the fantastic flavors and graceful tannins. Exceptionally clean and concentrated, this zinfandel exhibits beautiful varietal purity and engaging spiciness on its long, lingering finish…leaving you wanting another glass.  Bravo!  ($43)

2009 Season Summary by Agostino Gamba:

“Early spring of 2009 was framed by unusually warm and dry weather. The mid-growing season provided temperatures that were cooler than in recent vintages, with fewer heat spikes. The cooler temperatures during mid season allowed for a lengthy and slow maturation period for our vines. The fruit gained a high concentration of flavor as well as good acidity. Fortunately, our typical cluster thinning kept our sugars moving. As September approached, an extended period of warm temperatures jump started sugars up to harvest in early October. We were fortunate to conclude our harvest before any of the damaging rains started in mid- October, providing us with some of the most incredible fruit flavors we have ever experienced.”

Recap of ZAP 2011 Grant Tasting

Agostino and Paulette Gamba at a ZAP Tasting Event

Agostino and Paulette Gamba at a Tasting Event