Sidebar is a newer label from Sonoma winemaker David Ramey of Ramey Wine Cellars (find my reviews of both labels here).
This Zin is sourced in part from the Alegria Vineyard in the Russian River Valley, which was planted in 1890 and again in 1950 on St. George rootstock. The cuvée is 78 percent Zinfandel plus 10 percent each of Alicante Bouschet and Petit Sirah, with the balance a medley of other varieties: Sangiovese, Carignan, Trousseau, Petite Bouschet, Syrah, Beclan, Tannat, Peloursin, Graciano, Plavac Mali, Palomino, and Monbadon. The fruit fermented with native yeast, and malolactic took place in barrel; it aged on lees for a year in neutral oak and was released un-fined and unfiltered.
The wine is young and enjoys some air, but then it begins to deliver aromas of black brambly fruits and cherry with a hint of pine. The robe is ruby-purple with a fuchsia rim, and the palate has firm acidity and a drying finish, with solid black fruits ornamented by a whiff of barrel spice. It’s focused for an old-vine Zin, which can sometimes be too blue-fruited and heavy. This one stays sharp.
Wise fruit well-handled should age well. Right now pair it with anything from roasted salmon to pork to duck confit. Vegans will want mushrooms — try strudel or tartlets; vegetarians will add a drift of aged cheese.
2016 Sidebar Old Vine Zinfandel Russian River Valley
14.5% abv | $28 (sample) 725 cases made