Monday, December 17, 2018

Dry Creek Valley Zin Via Kokomo

Winemaker Erik Miller moved from Indiana early this century to satisfy his wine itch.  He picked a good spot, Sonoma County, although as owner of Kokomo Wines, he also sources grapes from other growers in Dry Creek Valley and other areas of the county.

Named after Miller's Indiana hometown, Kokomo was established in 2004 on Dry Creek Valley's east side. His grower-partner Randy Peters is a fourth-generation farmer who raises grapes in Sonoma's Dry Creek , Russian River and Alexander valleys.

The winery is located in Timber Crest Farms, where Zinfandel has been growing for 150 years.  Miller uses the cuttings from those plants to start new vines. His winemaking philosophy involves letting the grapes speak for themselves, up to a point.  Miller strives for firm tannins, but not to overpower.  He wants vibrant and expressive aromas and flavors, but without overuse of oak.

The 2016 Kokomo Zinfandel from Pauline's Vineyard is made from grapes grown across the street from the winery.  The vines are of a clone that was planted on the property in the 1800s by Peters' grandfather. The wine was aged for eleven months in half French and half other European oak, about a third of which was new.  Alcohol hits a predictably high 15.5% abv and it retails for $36.

This deep, rich Zin lets no light through the glass and offers a nose just as opaque.  Dark currant, blackberry, raspberry and licorice dominate the generous aromas, with a healthy dose of allspice, sage, mint and cinnamon.  The palate is delicious, showing dark berries, strawberry, holiday spice and a note of black pepper which lingers on the finish.  The oak treatment, although restrained, may be just a tad too much for me, but California’s heritage grape gets a fine treatment here.

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