August 14, 2007

Crystal Valley Wines

April Dowd photo

Proprietor/winemaker Mitch Cosentino is known for producing zinfandels -- The Zin and Cigarzin in particular -- at his Lodi, CA, facility, but it would be foolish to limit his plaudits to those. He's an excellent blender and a tasting of his broader range proved that to me during a recent visit to his winery.

Dolcetto '05:

This blend changes each year, always based on a tempranillo but with up to eight other grape varieties worked in, depending on what's good in a particular year. This '05 is dense, rich red in color, with restrained fruit that nevertheless keeps opening in an aromatic, heady way.

Tempranillo '05:

This wine took a double gold in its class at the San Francisco Wine & Spirits Competition, and with good reason: spicy, with plenty of berries, nicely balanced and peppery.

The Zin:

This is a big zin, heavy with berry flavors, vaguely spicy, with a pleasant warmth in the middle notes.

Sauvignon Blanc:

Definite citrus and watermelon notes define this crisp, fresh, barrel-fermented creation that is about as good a food wine as you'll fine anywhere.

Pinot Grigio: More complex than one would expect, with notes of lychee and melon, a bit of mineral, and a nice balance between acid and sugar.

Cabernet Franc 2005:

Very fruit forward, with a big nose, heavy stone fruit in the middle, and just enough of the French oak in which it matured.

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