A Little About Zin
No matter its pedigree, Zinfandel is big, dumb, and fun. I don’t mean that in a pejorative way. There should always be a place for fun. This is the wine for unsophisticated meals. I couldn’t imagine a better wine for the smokiness of Texas pulled pork or the tang of Carolina-style brisket.
Conversely, it’s the perfect wine for sophisticated parties. It’s the wine for smart people having a good time: the type of party where Sartre quotes and dirty limericks are equally likely to emerge.
Harris Kratka Vineyard
The Harris Kratka vineyard is high up on the pyramid, quality zin-wise. It’s located in the Chalk Hill AVA in southern Alexander Valley in Sonoma. Pro Tip: Wine regions can sometimes seem like nesting dolls, with smaller ones residing in bigger ones. Harris Kratka is a perfect example; the vineyard is located in the Chalk Hill wine region, located in Alexander Valley, which is in Sonoma Valley, which is in the California AVA.
The Zinfandel comes from 50 year plus head-pruned vines. This is an ancient vineyard, California-wise, and has been under production since the 1970s, when its grapes were sold to Gallo. These days its grapes go to Rosenblum, along with a significant number of great wineries. This includes Rock Wall, Manzanita Creek, Fieldstone, R&B Cellars, Pezzi-King, Wilson, Carol Shelton, De Lorimier, and Wine Guerrilla. That’s an impressive line-up considering this is only a 17-acre vineyard.
The fruit is classic Sonoma zin: basically, a cherry-powered Humvee that drives over your tongue with giant blueberry tires. It keeps up with its decadent show of force with dried plum, creme brulee, and licorice. At that point, the jammy fruit turns a bit angular and shows a level of finesse that isn’t always found in Zinfandels. A trace of Thai Basil and brighter fruit moves into the finish with freshly ground black pepper. It’s that finish that shows its pedigree, and it’s definitely worth the price. I imagine Berliners of the Weimar Republic would have loved this wine.