Winery/Vineyard: Leoness Cellars, Deegan Vineyard
Product/Varietal: 100% Zinfandel
AVA on Bottle: Temecula Valley
Winemaker: Tim Kramer
4.2 out of 5 stars on Vivino (all vintages).
How They Describe It
Temecula Valley. 100% Zinfandel. Aged for 17 months in 100% American Oak (38% new) Beautiful aromas and flavors of ripe blackberry and cherry, with layers of black licorice and allspice leading into a soft, elegant finish.
How I Describe It
Leoness Cellars’s 2018 bottling of their Deegan Vineyard Zinfandel is ruby hued which shows with medium intensity. The wine shimmers in the glass, with just enough translucence to reveal some light bouncing off the bottom of the glass.
Currant, juicy plum flesh, and strawberry jam lead the bouquet of aromas coming from the Leoness Cellars 2018 VS Zinfandel. A touch of cranberry melds with cinnamon ginger bread baking spices, toasted coconut, pastry, and vanilla. Hints of nutmeg, rose, and wildflower round things out.
Plum and strawberry burst from the glass, joined by raspberry Jolly Rancher. Subtle black pepper spice blends into slightly more prominent nutmeg, vanilla, and turned earth. A wisp of rosewater, charred wood, and cinnamon layer into leathery tannins, the latter a good sign of ageworthiness.
The Leoness Cellars 2018 VS Zinfandel is a dry wine. At 15.8% ABV, alcohol content is high, though not unusual for Zinfandels and Primitivos. Medium acid helps amplify the wine’s jammy characteristics, while high tannins lend interesting texture. The 2018 Zinfandel is full bodied, with pronounced flavor intensity, and a long finish.
Why is This Wine Special?
Leoness Cellars is one of the more well-known wineries in the Temecula Valley AVA. In addition to producing under their own label, the team also runs Temecula Valley Winery Management, which helps smaller local wineries with their winemaking as well. If Tim Kramer is listed as the winemaker, chances are TVWM had a role to play.
Each time I visit Leoness Cellars, there is one varietal the staff seem to always talk about: the Zinfandel. So, for this third review a Leoness wine, it made sense to finally give their flagship varietal a try. Truthfully, I’m sorry I waited this long.
Zinfandel has the capacity to be rich and flavorful, or monotone and clunky. I’ve tasted my fare share of Zins which resembled prune juice more than wine (thankfully, none which have been reviewed on TWR). The Leoness Cellars 2018 VS Zinfandel lands squarely in the rich and flavorful category.
Additionally, the 2018 VS Zinfandel excites me because of its age, or lack thereof. It manages to express the ripe, rich fruits Zins are known for, without crossing into pruniness. Even at three years old, the wine is showing interesting complexity.
Importantly, I want to distinguish between Temecula Syrahs and Syrahs from other regions. Don’t get me wrong, other appellations produce very nice Syrahs, but they’re not the same as those which come from the Temecula Valley AVA. Frankly, this is a Zinfandel to buy a case of, and drink over the next decade, to experience how it matures.
When & How I Would Drink It
If you’re searching for a bottle to unwind with after a long day, look no further. Between the rich flavors and robust booziness, the Leoness Cellars 2018 VS Zinfandel is an easy wine to relax with.
With food, you’ll do best pairing this bottling with lighter grilled proteins. I would save this bottle for a rack of baby back ribs. However, grilled chicken, burgers, and even salmon would be ideal. Off the grill, try the 2018 VS Zinfandel with eggplant parmesan, baked beans, or Cajun gumbo.
How to Get It
Bottle Price: $60.00
Cases Produced: ~359 cases
Have you tried the Leoness Cellars 2018 VS Zinfandel? How did the tasting notes compare with your experience? Leave a comment below.