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Stuhlmuller Vineyards Estate Zinfandel 2014

Zinfandel from Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California
  • WW92
14.2% ABV
  • WS90
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14.2% ABV

Winemaker Notes

From its lush, brambly character to its alluring layers of black cherry, boysenberry, and dark plum, this is a classic expression of Zinfandel. On the palate, the vibrant fruit flavors are underscored by notes of vanilla, spice and sweet tobacco leaf. While the texture is supple and creamy, good acidity keeps the flavors lively, while carrying the wine to long, bright finish.

Critical Acclaim

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WW 92
Wilfred Wong of Wine.com
COMMENTARY: One of the most confusing comments in the wine biz is, "This is a food wine!" Depending on the source of the words, this could be either a negative or a positive. From my perspective, the term "food wine," is always good unless a vendor is trying to convince me that a thin and austere wine is perfect with food and apparently nothing else. TASTING NOTES: The 2014 Stuhlmuller Vineyards Estate Zinfandel shows rich and bright boysenberry flavors. While this is a fairly big wine, its excellent balance qualifies it as a beautiful wine with food. Pair this wine with pan-seared lamb chops and enjoy the match. (Tasted: February 15, 2018, San Francisco, CA)
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Stuhlmuller Vineyards

Stuhlmuller Vineyards

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Stuhlmuller Vineyards, Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California
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Stuhlmuller Vineyards is tucked into a unique river bench and hillside location in the southwestern edge of the Alexander Valley where three of Northern Sonoma County's top appellations come together, virtually a stone's throw from Chalk Hill and the Russian River Valley. After selling grapes to a number of area wineries, in the mid-90's Fritz Stuhlmuller decided to put the family's name on a label, working with winemaker Kerry Damskey to produce small lots of Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon from 150-acres of estate vineyard. The cool climate and varied soils and exposures create Chardonnay with classic Alexander Valley tropical characteristics plus crisp citrus/apple notes and a distinctive mineral touch. The Cabernet Sauvignon adds hints of sage and bay leaf to the region's rich cherry, black fruit and cocoa. In 2000 a new winery was built on the property, a vest pocket gem sized precisely to handle the small amount of fruit the Stuhlmullers select from special blocks for their own wines.

Alexander Valley

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Nearly a northern extension of Napa Valley, Alexander Valley starts just north of the small, Knights Valley, and is just a few minutes drive from the Napa town of Calistoga. It is Sonoma County’s hottest AVA. But the Russian River, which runs through the valley, creates cooler pockets and its soft, alluvial soil is ideal for grape growing, especially Cabernet Sauvignon. In fact, some believe that Alexander Valley Cabernets truly rival the best from Napa Valley and many of the heavy-hitter producers have largely invested here.

In addition to Cabernet Sauvignon, which makes up over 50% of plantings, Merlot and old vine Zinfandel thrive here. Ample, fleshy Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc dominate white wine production. Some old-vine plantings of Grenache have also been discovered and more recent experiments with Sangiovese and Barbera show great promise.

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.

SHLSE14ZN_2014 Item# 335325