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Screen shot 2014-04-24 at 6.57.54 PMWe have all had the friend or the business associate that says “oh hey, you like wine? I will bring you one of my favorites.” You also have done the tango of giving a swap trying to judge what they may or may not like. Many times, I put way too much thought into what that person might like and am highly disappointed by what they gave me. This was not the case with the 2009 Lambert Bridge Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel.

One of the main reasons for the trade was the fact that this business associate had never had a Virginia wine and had just moved into the area. He gave me this one in exchange for a Governors Cup gold medal winning wine that is also very good. As a side note, sometimes I find those who really enjoy the overly oaky and high alcohol content California wines will never appreciate a Virginia wine. Our climate here just will not produce that ripeness. With that in mind, I hope he enjoyed the Virginia Meritage I gave him, as I really enjoyed this one.

Also I would like to point out that he gave me a 2009 and the current release is a 2012 (wine club members only). Has he had this bottle for 3 years? I don’t know but respect points just went way up. Finding nothing on the 2009, here is what their website has to say about the 2011 (sold to anyone):

97% Zinfandel
 3% Petite Sirah

Our Dry Creek Zinfandel is made from three different vineyards in Dry Creek, blending the best the valley has to offer! It is a flavorful and balanced wine that speaks to our location here in the heart of Dry Creek Valley!

Winemaker Notes
Breathe in the perfumed scent of wild blackberries ripened on the vine that is our 2011 Dry Creek Zinfandel. A rich darkness pervades this wine; a hint of semi-sweet chocolate and vanilla balance the cheerful bing cherry and bright blackberry flavors that dance on your palate. With a bit of pepper and spice on the finish, this is a Zinfandel of gorgeous depth.

Will this compare to my ’09? Well, when comparing the 2011 to the 2012, it looks like there are going to be some big differences, like how the 2011 is 65% in new French Oak barrels and 35% in 1 year old and the 2012 they actually use 2 year old barrels. So what did we get?

Color – A dark & deep purple.

Nose – Dark fruit and black currants with lots of leather and earthy notes.

Taste – Lots of “manliness,” Tobacco, cedar, leather and dark berries. Oak! Light no the acid, big on the tannins.

Finish – Lingering and full bodied.

Overall, this wine is bold and big. It is what I think of when I think of a California Zinfandel. I may need to trade bottles of wine more often, or at least with this guy. If you are not into oaky wines then this one is not for you because that is probably my only downside. I like a wine that is complimented with oak and not overpowered. This ride a fine line and I would imagine that it’s percentages of new french oak versus 1 year old french oak might be higher than the 2011 and 2012. If the winemaker would reduce the oak a little bit more to let the fruit shine it, this wine would have been an A+ easy. Maybe he has, I would be willing to try the 2012.

Rating: A-