Full Review
Highwayman

Highwayman
2014 Trailblazer Reserve, Zinfandel, Sonoma County

Pair this wine with:
Beef Cheese Vegetables

Category: Zinfandel

Date Tasted:
Country: USA
Alcohol: 15.3%
92 Points
Gold Medal
Exceptional
$42.00

Highwayman
2014 Trailblazer Reserve, Zinfandel, Sonoma County

Pair this wine with:
Beef Cheese Vegetables

Category: Zinfandel

Date Tasted:
Country: USA
Alcohol: 15.3%
Black garnet color. Jammy aromas and flavors of fruit cake, plump raisins, stewed rhubarb, and dried rose with a lightly tannic, crisp, fruity full body and a compelling, medium-long plum sauce, tar, nori, and peppermint lozenge finish with dusty tannins and moderate oak. An inky, concentrated zin that will be a dream with funky cheeses.
Tasting Info
Wine Glass Style: Fruity & Juicy & Smooth
Aroma Aroma: fruit cake, plump raisins, stewed rhubarb, and dried rose
Taste Flavor: plum sauce, tar, nori, and peppermint lozenge
Sweetness Sweetness: Fruity
Enjoy Enjoy: Now with food
Recipes Pairing: Roquefort, Steak & Potatoes, Beef Stew
Bottom Line Bottom Line: An inky, concentrated zin that will be a dream with funky cheeses.
The Producer

Highway 12 Winery

The Producer
21481 Eighth St. E., #3
Sonoma, CA 95476
USA
1 707-939-1012
Zinfandel
Wine Glass Zinfandel.jpg
Serve in a Zinfandel Wine Glass
Zinfandel first came to American shores by way of the Schonbrunn collection which contained all the wine varietals grown in the Austrian empire. The earliest mention of Zinfandel, by name, in America was a vine nursery in Long Island in the 1820s. It made its way to California in the gold rush and thrived because of its hearty constitution and vigorous yields. Many a prospector had a little vineyard of Zinfandel and washed away their sorrows in their purple cups.

Zinfandel is California’s pride and joy, a zesty, spicy, alcoholic (often 15% or more) wine that fits in well with the frontier spirit of the Golden State. The grape is believed to be related to one or more varieties in Croatia, while in the southern Italian region of Puglia, Zinfandel is a name sometimes given to the Primitivo grape.

While there are excellent plantings of Zinfandel in may California regions, the districts of Lodi and Contra Costa County are very famous for this grape, especially as there are numerous “old vine” plantings that are often more than one hundred years of age. These vines produce tiny quantities, but the resulting wines are intensely spicy and brambly. Zinfandel has a good deal of natural tannin, so these wines can age well, as long as the winemaker can find the proper balance, not always an easy thing. Zinfandels from Ridge Vineyards, a celebrated producer in Santa Cruz County, are among the longest-lived and most refined examples.

Recommended foods for Zinfandel are grilled or barbecued meats, wild game and stews – the heartier, the better. White Zinfandel, not to be confused with Zinfandel (red) is a blush wine, generally lighter-bodied with moderate sweetness.

For a hundred years, zinfandel was the king of California reds. In 1884 it accounted for 40 percent of all the state's grape vines, but the grand old vineyards fell victim to modern economics and changing trends.

Luckily, a small band of dedicated producers, coupled with a near-fanatical cult following, have continued to hold out. Against all odds, the pendulum just might be poised to swing back.

So just what is it about these old vineyards that is helping to put zinfandel back on the map? The consensus seems to be that a vineyard reaches a qualitative peak between 25 and 50 years old. Because of prohibition, there are relatively few old vineyards in California. Of the state's 350,000 acres of vinifera, fewer than three percent are over 50 years old. The vast majority of these are devoted to zinfandel. While the percentage of cabernet vineyards exceeding even 25 years of age is minute, it is quite possible to sample the fruits of a fully mature zinfandel vineyard, often at half the price.

In addition, old vineyards inherently produce less fruit. This factor provides a natural limit on the vine's tendency to overproduce. Though a problem if quantity is the ultimate goal, it is an essential factor in the production of high-quality wines. With the price of cabernet rising so precipitously in the last few years, it has once again become economical for vintners to produce wine from shy-yielding old zinfandel vineyards; winemakers are scouring the state looking for the odd parcel of vines. Also, vintners have learned how well some of the old methods of pruning and farming have worked, and are seeking to apply these principles in new plantings.

Paul Draper, winemaker and CEO of Ridge Vineyards, summed up zinfandel's appeal best: "Zinfandel has so much forward fruit that it's sensual to drink right away. Its appeal is immediate, whereas cabernet needs time to develop. You can have a very sensual experience with cabernet, but you can have a comparable experience with young zinfandel--which is why, in a restaurant, I'd be more likely to order a zinfandel than a cabernet."
More Products
86 Anthony/Koster 2016 Barrel Select, Chardonnay, California 13.9% (USA) $9.99.
88 Anthony/Koster 2014 Barrel Select, Cabernet Sauvignon, California 13.9% (USA) $9.99.
91 Carneros 2014 Chardonnay, Carneros 13.2% (USA) $.00.
93 Carneros 2013 Pinot Noir, Carneros 14.1% (USA) $.00.
89 Carneros Highway 2014 Pinot Noir, Carneros 13.2% (USA) $22.00.
85 Carneros Highway 2014 Chardonnay, Carneros 13.2% (USA) $19.50.
88 Carneros Highway 2015 "Nueva", Chardonnay, Carneros 13.5% (USA) $19.50.
89 Carneros Highway 2015 "Nueva", Chardonnay, Carneros 13.5% (USA) $19.50.
86 Carneros Highway 2016 Nueva, Chardonnay, Los Carneros 13.5% (USA) $19.50.
92 Highway 12 2012 Reserve, Pinot Noir, Carneros 14.1% (USA) $38.00.
91 Highway 12 2012 Pinot Noir, Carneros 12.5% (USA) $22.00.
89 Highway 12 2012 "Sonoma Highway", Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast 14.1% (USA) $24.99.
86 Highway 12 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma County 14.5% (USA) $.00.
91 Highway 12 2013 Red Blend, Sonoma County 14.5% (USA) $.00.
84 Highway 12 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma County 14.3% (USA) $.00.
86 Highway 12 2015 Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma County 13.5% (USA) $15.50.
91 Highway 12 2014 Sonoma Red Blend, Sonoma County 13.9% (USA) $24.00.
86 Highway 12 2015 Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma County 13.5% (USA) $15.50.
85 Highway 12 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma County 13.9% (USA) $24.00.
92 Highway 12 2014 Serres Ranch Single Vineyard, Sonoma Valley 13.9% (USA) $28.00.
87 Highway 12 2015 Chardonnay, California 13.5% (USA) $19.50.
89 Highway 12 2016 Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma County 13.9% (USA) $14.99.
93 Highway 12 2015 Sonoma Red Blend, Sonoma County 13.9% (USA) $18.99.
90 Highway 12 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, California 13.9% (USA) $18.99.
93 Highwayman 2012 Reserve Trailblazer, Sonoma County 15.3% (USA) $42.00.
92 Highwayman 2013 Proprietary Reserve Red Blend, Sonoma County 14.8% (USA) $48.00.
90 Highwayman 2013 Chardonnay, Sonoma County 14.8% (USA) $38.00.
93 Highwayman 2014 Chardonnay, Sonoma County 14.8% (USA) $38.00.
90 Highwayman 2013 "Trailblazer" Red Wine, Sonoma County 15.3% (USA) $42.00.
91 Highwayman 2013 Reserve, Pinot Noir, Sonoma County 14.8% (USA) $42.00.
89 Highwayman 2013 Proprietary Red Reserve, Sonoma County 14.8% (USA) $48.00.
90 Highwayman 2014 Proprietary Red Reserve, Sonoma County 14.8% (USA) $48.00.
92 Highwayman 2014 Trailblazer Reserve, Zinfandel, Sonoma County 15.3% (USA) $42.00.
89 Wine Roads 2014 Chardonnay, California 13.5% (USA) $9.99.
90 Wine Roads 2014 Proprietary Red Blend, California 13.5% (USA) $9.99.