I’m sitting here looking over my schedule of things to write about, wondering which winery to pick for today’s post, when I glance down and notice that I’m wearing a shirt that I bought at one of the wineries I visited on my trip to Paso Robles. The Four Vines logo seems to jump off the black background and demand that I shine a spotlight on this awesome rock star of a winery.
I think of wine as an art form. I’m constantly drawing connections in my mind to the wines I taste with other forms of art, mostly paintings and music. I try to “see” a wine in my mind when I taste it, as if its characteristics could be conveyed onto canvas. I’ll also frequently compare wines I taste to anything from classical operas to Black Eyed Peas songs. My wine tasting buddies find this whole thing a little mentally taxing at times, so I’ve tried to avoid doing so in my articles, but since I knew I couldn’t write this one without letting a few musical analogies slip, I figured at least I should let you know where it’s coming from.
The point is this, if there ever was one, Four Vines is a rock and roll winery. It goes beyond their clever label designs, featuring names like “Heretic” (also print on my shirt) and “Loco”, their edgy website, and the chic, night club-styled tasting room accented by modeled glass chandeliers made in the style of the famous floral glass ceiling in the Bellagio, Las Vegas. There is a connectivity between all of these elements in their wines that give them some serious individuality.
On the same day I visited Four Vines, I also spent a considerable amount of time at the Zinfandel Mecca, Turley Winery. These people make Zinfandel like no one else. They’re wines are so elegant, complex, and ageworthy that they could easily be in the running for the title of world’s best Zin producer. Their wines are truly amazing, and tomorrow I’m going to give you all the details in a post all about them.
My very next stop on the trip took me to Four Vines, yet another Paso Robles winery dabbling in the dark art of Zinfandel. It turns out that they too make some explosive, absolutely exceptional Zins, but in a style that is so different from Turley’s, they may has well be produced from a different varietal. Turley’s wines are like the works of Bach, Chopin, and Mozart. Four Vines’ wines are like the classic rock hits of The Rolling Stones, Van Halen, and Led Zepplin. Both are unquestionably works of art, but depending on the occasion, mood, and atmosphere, these wines fit in with two very different experiences. Tomorrow’s article will be a night at the opera, today, let’s get ready to rock.
Wine #1: Four Vines 2007 Amador County “The Maverick” Zinfandel
This wine comes from vines grown in the Shenandoah Valley, in the larger, Amador County. It features fruit from two old vine vineyards, Deaver and Linstead, and has a small amount of Baily Vineyard Syrah added for seasoning.
The aroma of this wine is full of oak driven tones. It’s foresty and full of caramel, lightly burnt crème brûlée, vanilla ice cream, and just a faint peppery, grilled tone on the spin.
Sweet and luscious, this wine’s smoothness and balance are the first things that I notice about it. Blackberry and raspberry pie filling, cheese Danish, and a mixture of pastries and baked goods seem to dominate the palate and last into the finish. This is a pleasant wine, and a very enjoyable experience, it’s refined and fun at the same time, and easily…
Worth Trying. 88 points.
Wine #2: Four Vines 2007 Sonoma County “The Sophisticate” Zinfandel
Toasty tones introduce the aroma, with black pepper and fresh coffee beans. The nose on this wine is sweet and earthy at the same time, with a good amount of intensity, and some pleasant berry and bramble wood edges.
The palate is supple, fresh, and perfectly ripe, with an excellent balance between lavender, violet, and sandalwood tones. Berries in vanilla cream enter toward the mid palate, while peppered orange peel plays on the finish. This is a very nice, elegant, and feminine expression that you rarely find in Zinfandel. Nicely complex and absolutely a wine…
Worth Buying. 91 points.
Wine #3: Four Vines 2007 Paso Robles “Biker” Zinfandel
Using fruit from Preston and the famous Dusi Vineyards this is an old vine Zin built to impress. With some Mourvedre added to the blend, it’s no wonder why this is one of Four Vines’ best known and loved wines.
The aroma is full of ripe blackberries, combined with tones of dried fruit at the same time. Graham cracker, black pepper, and a deep, dark, jammy fullness seem to make up the rest of this wine’s nose.
The palate is equally dark and full. Blackberry and black cherry preserves burst onto the mid palate, with touches of pepper, vanilla, and oak along the edges. This is a deep wine with a tight, complex, and difficult to define flavor structure. The tannins are firm and it has a good gripping quality even into the finish. This is a dense, muscular, and tough take on Zinfandel, just like its name implies, a no non-sense wine, and without a doubt…
Worth Trying. 90 points.
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The Grapevine: What’s your Zin style? Big and jammy, light and refined, or rugged and powerful?