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Carol Shelton Wild Thing Zinfandel 2012

Zinfandel from California
  • WE92
  • WW90
14.5% ABV
  • WE92
  • WW89
  • WE90
  • WS90
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3.2 5 Ratings
14.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Wild Thing is so named because the grapes are fermented with naturally occurring wild yeasts native to the vineyard that produces the wine. And the vineyard is special, too: Just north of Ukiah in Mendocino, it was planted in 1956, and today the vines are still going strong. Rocky soils and a rigorously parsimonious irrigation regime help these vines to produce bright, juicy wines rich with baked cherry and blackberry flavors overlaid with cinnamon, clove and licorice.

Critical Acclaim

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WE 92
Wine Enthusiast
Not overly full-bodied, not overly ripe, not overly wild, but just right for dinner time. It's well balanced, velvet textured and multilayered. Brambly, bright raspberry and blackberry flavors fill the mouth, supported by smooth tannins and good acidity that keep it lively and appetizing through the long finish.
WW 90
Wilfred Wong of Wine.com
The Wild Thing, what a great name, when this one first came on the market, it was crazy and maybe just a bit too while. Now it is perfect or close to as perfect as it can be. Veteran winemaker Carol Shelton is one of the state's top performers. She knows what she is doing. This one shows bold berries that stay long on the palate; calls for grilled leg of lamb, with a zinfandel reduction sauce.
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Carol Shelton

Carol Shelton

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Carol Shelton, California
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Carol Shelton is widely cited as the most awarded winemaker in the United States. She has won countless medals for her wines and has been honored as Winemaker of the Year numerous times. After years of working with some of the industry's top winemakers and wineries, Carol continues to win awards and accolades for premium Zinfandels produced under her own brand, Carol Shelton Wines.

In 2000 Carol and her husband Mitch Mackenzie, a former software engineer, launched their own brand – Carol Shelton Wines. Faced with the opportunity to create her own identity and focus on whatever varietals she wanted, Carol chose Zinfandel.

California

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Responsible for the vast majority of American wine production, if California were a country, it would be the world’s fourth largest wine-producing nation. The state’s diverse terrain and microclimates allow for an incredibly wide-ranging selection of wine styles, and unlike tradition-bound Europe, experimentation is more than welcome here. Wineries range from boutique to massive corporations, and price and quality are equally varied—plenty of inexpensive bulk wine is made in the Central Coast area, while Napa is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious and expensive “cult” wines.

Just about every style of wine you can imagine is made in California, from bone dry to unctuously sweet, still to sparkling, light and fresh to rich and full-bodied. Each AVA and sub-AVA has its own distinct personality. In the Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and other Bordeaux varieties dominate, as well as Sauvignon Blanc. Sonoma County is best known for Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Zinfandel. The Central Coast has carved out a niche with Rhône blends based on Grenache and Syrah, while Mendocino has found success with Alsatian varieties such as Riesling and Gewürztraminer. With all the diversity that California has to offer, it is certain that any wine lover will find something to get excited about.

Zinfandel

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Unapologetically powerful, heady, and fruit-forward, Zinfandel is often thought of as a truly Californian grape, though in fact it is anything but. This variety has followed an intriguing trajectory to reach its adoptive home, beginning, surprisingly, in Croatia. Originally known as Tribidrag, it first made its way to southern Italy where it became known as Primitivo. From there it eventually migrated to what is now unarguably its most successful outpost, in California, and has thrived throughout the state. Of course, this is also the grape of White Zinfandel, a sweet pink wine that enjoyed great popularity in the 1980s and 90s. Though White Zin still has a significant following, today the variety is increasingly associated with the red version.

In the Glass

Zinfandel commonly features a bold, plush texture and notes of dark plum, blackberry, sweet spice, black pepper, dark chocolate, leather, and licorice, and can often be described as “jammy” and a little bit sweet. Very ripe examples may express a hint of dried fruit like raisin, fig, or prune. Despite its significant alcohol and weight, Zinfandel has very smooth, gentle tannins.

Perfect Pairings

Zinfandel is a powerfully flavored wine, mingling happily with bold food like brisket, lamb shanks, pork ribs, or anything barbecued. If care is taken with regards to alcohol levels, Zinfandel’s hint of sweetness can work well with milder Indian-spiced dishes like lamb curry.

Sommelier Secret

Thanks to its popularity both for home winemaking and as communion wine, many Zinfandel vines were able to survive prohibition, leading to the abundance of "old vine" Zinfandels. These low-yielding vines tend to produce wine that is concentrated, complex, and elegant.

REG78001712_2012 Item# 132555