(Disclaimer: The wine reviewed here was bought at full price by the author during a visit to the winery.)
The Bottle: The front label features a drawing of the castle facade of the storied Chateau Montelena, the winery made famous in the 1976 Judgment of Paris. It was made even more famous in the movie about that event, Bottle Shock. While it was their Chardonnay that galled the Gauls in America's bicentennial year, I am writing today of their Zinfandel 2006. I also purchased a bottle of their Chardonnay during my visit to the Calistoga winery. I will cover that wine at a later date. This Zinfandel is 14.4% abv and cost $30 at the winery. It's an estate wine, grown, produced and bottled on the beautiful grounds of the winery. I was told in the tasting room that it's a 50/50 blend of Zinfandel and Primitivo, Zin's Italian relative.
The Nose: This is an extremely fragrant wine. Ruby red in color and not fully opaque, there are smells of currants and blackberries on the prominent nose along with an earthiness and a slight floral note.
The Taste: It tastes full and rich. Cherry is the highlight, but there is a darkness to it. It's a beautiful and menacing taste at once. The tannins are almost silky in this well-balanced wine. Finish is lengthy and just as delicious as the drink itself.