Winery: Wilson Creek Winery & Vineyards
AVA on Bottle: Temecula Valley
Winemaker: Gus Vizgirda
Matt Kettman of Wine Enthusiast gave this wine 89 points.
How They Describe It
Rich and firm with distinct aromas of spicy oak interlaced with blackberries and black currant.
Flavors layer upon the palate alternating from oak to plum, finishing with well-incorporated tannin. Supple in flavor yet firm in structure. Aged in American Oak barrels for 26 months.
Cuisine pairing suggestions: Try with barbecue brisket or roasted game fowl such as duck or quail.
How I Describe It
Wilson Creek’s 2015 Promenance Vineyard Family Reserve Zinfandel shows as pale ruby. However, after four years, it seems to be at the cusp of showing its aging with minor garnet color changes.
This wine’s alcohol content is 15.6%, and you can smell it on the nose. The aromas from the wine are full of herbs and spice, like fennel and anise. Plum and black cherry are present. Live cedar wood is indicative of the more than two years of oak barrel aging. And the years of maturation show with turned earth and vegetal notes.
First, a note: It’s often recommended to let wines “breathe” after opening. With most red and white table wines, aging takes place with little or no exposure to oxygen. When the bottle is opened and exposed to the elements, the oxygen in the air and the wine slowly interact, literally changing the flavors — usually for the better.
Different wines require different amounts of breathing time. The reason this is relevant here is the 2015 Promenance Vineyard Zinfandel quite literally transforms from a somewhat harsh drink to a delightfully pleasant wine. But it needs to breathe at least an hour, preferably two.
About an hour after opening, black cherry, plum, and raisin lead. As the wine breathes, toffee flavors show. Grassy or leafy notes along with fennel and black pepper add complexity, along with cedar wood and earth.
This is a dry wine. Acid is higher than most Zinfandels, and combined with the high alcohol content packs a strong flavor, especially prior to breathing. Smooth tannins combine with intense flavors on the front, ending with a medium length finish.
Interestingly, after about two hours of breathing, the acidic tartness gives way almost entirely, revealing ripe, almost stewed cranberry and black cherry flavors. Again, a truly transformative wine.
Why is This Wine Special?
Wilson Creek 2015 Promenance Vineyard Family Reserve Zinfandel. Try saying that five times, fast!
Temecula owes much of its recent growth as a wine tourism destination to Wilson Creek Winery. It produces and sells a variety of wines, which cater to novice and seasoned drinkers. Their use of space at the winery makes it a top destination for visitors.
Temecula Wine Country is a fairly tight-knit community, and the Wilson family is deeply integrated. The winery was founded by the entire family; at least three generations live and work on the winery.
Wilson Creek’s staff also provides thought leadership in the region. Their winemaker and vineyard manager, Gus Vizgirda and Greg Pennyroyal, are also a professors of viticulture at the nearby Mount San Jacinto College. To that end, the 2015 Promenance Vineyard Family Reserve Zinfandel, uses estate grown grapes (and we all know by now I love estate made wines).
When & How I Would Drink It
The trick to suss out the most flavor from this wine is to pair it with foods rich in fat and salt. Grilled steak, chicken tikka masala, or stews would work perfectly.
The 2015 Promenance Vineyard Family Reserve Zinfandel is a wine to drink when you have time on your hands — time to allow the wine to breathe adequately, and time to savor its many layers. Think a Friday night after a long week, when you don’t have any commitments for the rest of the evening, and can finally kick up your feet.
How to Get It
Bottle Price: $54.99 ($43.99 through September 30, 2019)
Cases Produced: 610
Have you tried the Wilson Creek 2015 Promenance Vineyard Family Reserve Zinfandel? How did the tasting notes compare with your experience? Leave a comment below.