Full Review

Small Hours

Small Hours
2018 Reserve, Zinfandel, Paso Robles

Pair this wine with:
Beef Vegetables

Category: Zinfandel

Date Tasted:
Country: USA
Alcohol: 15.4% RS: <1%
87 Points
Silver Medal
Highly Recommended
$19.99

Small Hours
2018 Reserve, Zinfandel, Paso Robles

Pair this wine with:
Beef Vegetables

Category: Zinfandel

Date Tasted:
Country: USA
Alcohol: 15.4% RS: <1%
Violet color. Aromas and flavors of raspberry jam, chocolate-covered cherry, wild strawberry, ripe fig, and graham cracker with a satiny, vibrant, fruity medium-full body and an engaging, medium-long finish with moderate oak flavor. A bold Zinfandel with table-friendly tannins and a serious vibe; drink now or cellar.

Tasting Info

Wine Glass Style: Fruity, Juicy & Smooth, Oaky & Rich & Full
Aroma Aroma: raspberry jam, chocolate-covered cherry, wild strawberry, ripe fig, and graham cracker
Taste Flavor: raspberry jam, chocolate-covered cherry, wild strawberry, ripe fig, and graham cracker
Sweetness Sweetness: Fruity
Enjoy Enjoy: Now-6 years on its own and with food
Recipes Pairing: Pot Roast, Steak & Potatoes, Beef Stew
Bottom Line Bottom Line: A bold Zinfandel with table-friendly tannins and a serious vibe; drink now or cellar.

The Producer

Traveling Vineyard

The Producer
127 High Street
Ipswich, MA 01938
USA
1 707-234-4747

Their Portfolio

88 Bentgate 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles 14.1% (USA) $19.99.
92 Bright Eyed Bird NV White Blend, Paso Robles 14.96% (USA) $16.99.
88 Bright Eyed Bird NV White Blend, California 13.6% (USA) $17.99.
BR Caballeria de Luna 2019 Spanish White Wine, Penedes 12.1% (Spain) $15.99. - Bronze Medal
93 Calamity Sue 2016 Riesling, Arroyo Seco 13.1% (USA) $17.99.
89 Calamity Sue 2018 Riesling, Monterey County 13% (USA) $17.99.
BR Desvia 2019 Eco, Tempranillo, Vino de Castilla 13% (Spain) $18.99. - Bronze Medal
86 Fil Dore 2017 Pinot Gris, Pays d’Oc IGP 13% (France) $18.99.
BR Giovina 2017 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC 13.5% (Italy) $17.99. - Bronze Medal
88 Hoot 2018 White Blend, Paso Robles 13.6% (USA) $18.99.
91 Jack Canyon 2016 Malbec, Wahluke Slope 12.8% (USA) $19.00.
88 Jitterbug 2018 Sauvignon Blanc, California 13.4% (USA) $17.99.
89 Jitterbug 2018 Sauvignon Blanc, Lodi 13.5% (USA) $17.99.
85 Jitterbug 2019 Sauvignon Blanc, Lodi 12.1% (USA) $18.00.
85 La Screaming Goat 2018 Cesseras, Gewurztraminer, Pays d’Oc IGP 13.6% (France) $19.99.
BR La Screaming Goat 2020 Gewürztraminer, Pays D’oc Igp 14% (France) $19.00. - Bronze Medal
85 Li Per Te 2016 Leggermente Appassito Red Blend, Veneto IGT 13.3% (Italy) $18.99.
91 Lulo 2019 Gruner Veltliner, Monterey County 13.1% (USA) $19.99.
BR LUXX 2017 Merlot, Monterey County 13.72% (USA) $29.99. - Bronze Medal
86 Moto Rouge 2018 Nebbiolo, Paso Robles 13.6% (USA) $19.99.
BR Never Have I Ever 2017 Pinot Noir, South-Eastern Australia 13.2% (Australia) $16.99. - Bronze Medal
BR Pajama Drama 2018 Malvasia Bianca, Paso Robles 13.3% (USA) $17.99. - Bronze Medal
92 Pebble 2016 Viognier, Paso Robles 13.3% (USA) $17.99.
BR Pebble NV Viognier 13% (USA) $17.99. - Bronze Medal
BR Peekaboo 2017 Chardonnay, South-Eastern Australia 13.5% (Australia) $15.99. - Bronze Medal
86 Peekaboo 2020 Chardonnay, South-Eastern Australia 13.1% (Australia) $19.00.
86 Pendeloque 2018 Red Blend, Pays d’Oc IGP 14.05% (France) $17.99.
85 Rayado 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon, Central Valley 13% (Chile) $16.99.
87 Small Hours 2018 Reserve, Zinfandel, Paso Robles 15.4% (USA) $19.99.
86 Small Hours 2017 Zinfandel, Lodi 16.1% (USA) $19.00.
85 State Room 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon, Western Cape 13.7% (South Africa) $16.00.
BR Steeple Street 2016 Chardonnay, California 13.4% (USA) $17.99. - Bronze Medal
86 Steeple Street 2018 Chardonnay, Lodi 14.5% (USA) $18.99.
88 Tria 2017 Syrah, California 13.9% (USA) $24.99.
BR VAYCAY NV Red Sangria, Spain 11% (Spain) $18.99. - Bronze Medal
BR Veronica Creek 2017 Red Blend, California 13.5% (USA) $19.99. - Bronze Medal
85 Woodvale Estates 2016 Merlot, Columbia Valley 12% (USA) $18.00.
87 Zapatazo 2017 Torrontes, Famatina Valley 13% (Argentina) $17.99.
90 Zeffer Hills 2018 Chardonnay, Paso Robles-Lodi 14.22% (USA) $18.99.

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."