Oregon Wine – Sineann Abondante & Old Vine Zinfandel – BIG Reds

sineann-peter-165pPeople can’t get enough of Peter Rosback’s really big red wines. They make pilgrimages to the small barn that is his winery, where he climbs up, around, and over barrels like the athletic soccer fanatic he is. His crew is super loyal – he has a lot of volunteers, people who love his wine and work the harvest just to be around the scene.

Peter has his own style in more than wines. Visiting the Sineann “tasting room”, you walk into what used to be a closet, contemplate a long line of bottles next to the sink. Most have inky red stains down their sides – the same red spills over the table and floor. Pick your pleasure – and hope your taste buds hold out long enough to get through the whole shebang. No where to sit, tubes and jars and empty bottles and tools and… you get the idea. This is Peter’s domain.

Since his first commercial wine, the 1994 Sineann Old Vine Zinfandel, Peter Rosback’s enthusiasm has been as huge as his wines’ massive flavors.

Peter’s Old Vine Zin comes from a source that no one would have expected. Loni Wright, a motorcycle enthusiast and farmer, has a small vineyard, called The Pines, near The Dalles, on the Oregon side of the Columbia Gorge. He and Peter became friends over their mutual love of motorcycling.

Lonnie’s vineyard was not supposed to be a place where grapes would grow and make good wine. But Peter tried, and the 100+ year old Zinfandel vines were a find that put Sineann on the map.

This week, Peter released the new vintage of his Old Vine Zinfandel. He also got his second glowing recommendation in a month from Wine Spectator. Two weeks ago, Harvey Steiman wrote about Peter’s Resonance Vineyard Pinot noir 08, giving it 94 points.

Yesterday, Wine Spectator’s Harvey Steiman selected Peter’s Abondante Red Wine 08 as one of a small group of Washington Reds he recommends. He gave it 92 points.  It’s partially made from The Pines Zinfandel. In the true Peter tradition, it’s BIG, and as one of his least expensive red wines, it’s a bargain.

Sineann Abondante Red Wine 08 $21.55 in a mixed case

sineann-abondante-label-200pWine Spectator 92 points!

“Lithe, polished and distinctive for its tightly wound tobacco-accented blackberry and plum flavors, hinting at black olive as the finish lingers nicely. Has refinement and depth. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Zinfandel. Best from 2012 through 2017.” 660 cases made.” – H.S.

Abondante is one of Sineann’s “value red” blends, a steal every year, this one combines a real range of varietals and Peter’s knack for creating intense reds. Best value.

A blend of wines made from grapes grown by Lonnie Wright in the Columbia Valley near The Dalles, OR. It is made up of Syrah, Merlot, Grenache, Zinfandel and Cabernet.

Peter says: “Tastes more like a $40 wine than a $24 wine.”

“With this wine we honor a few things. Abondante is Italian for “generous”, generosity being something we try to build into all our wines. It also honors our “A” team of workers, winelovers all, who help make this stuff happen in the winery.”

“The wine is a blend of grapes grown by Lonnie Wright in the lower Columbia Valley. There is a little Syrah and from McDermott’s Scorched Earth Vineyard (which sits on a grand bend of the Columbia River), Merlot from the Hillside Vineyard, Cabernet from the Hillside Vineyard and Zinfandel from the Pines. How could the wine not be good?”

Sineann-old-vine-zinfandel-250pSineann Old Vine Zinfandel 08 $35.05 in a mixed case

Like the old Batman cartoons…Ka-Pow! Intense blackberry and raspberry jam gains liveliness from a fresh raspberry streak. This is so much more than a fruit bomb, with nice structure, bramble and mint accents adding to its massive nature. From 100 year-old vines in the Columbia Valley, this Old Vine Zin drop kicks the competition.

While the 2008 vintage is still available (reviewed here), Peter just released his 2009 vintage, and we’ll be publishing a review in the next week or so at the link above.

Here’s Peter, writing about his relationship with Lonnie’s old vines, which started with his home winemaking in 1989:

The grapes for this Zinfandel come from the Pines Vineyard in the Columbia Valley, a few miles south of The Dalles, Oregon. The vineyard is terraced. Tractors in the early 1900′s weren’t able to climb such steep slopes. Soils are sparse – the area has one of the greatest day and night temperature differences in the country, 50 degree swings are not uncommon. The very warm days ripen the Zinfandel beautifully and the cool nights retain balanced acidity.

Planted around the turn of the century by an immigrant Italian stonemason, the Pines Vineyard was neglected for many years until vineyard manager Lonnie Wright started resurrecting the vines in the early ’80′s.

This is a very special vineyard for us. Year in and year out it produces one of the most interesting wines we make. As a matter of fact, it is one of the most interesting wines we can get our hands on. We work to keep it so.

In 2008 we picked 2 tons per acre on the old vineyard. We treat it very gently in the winery.  It is very dark, highly aromatic, with a huge, mouthfilling texture and a long, long finish. If you think old vines don’t matter, you’re wrong and this wine should help convince you. Every year the wine has perfect acid balance (without adjustment) achieving two goals: great match with food, and a long life. The ’89 we made still hasn’t peaked.

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