May 10, 2008

Camellia Cellars - Lencioni Vineyard Zinfandel

2004 / Dry Creek Valley
$24.99 / 90 points

I went to a fabulous LaTour Burgundy tasting last month sponsored by Calvert Woodley Wines, a local wine shop in D.C. They usually sponsor at least 2 wine dinners a month, and for my money, offer the best in Washington. Usually they keep the cost at $99 or less, which includes dinner, wines and all gratuities. In the Washington market, this is a great deal. As part of the entry price to the LaTour tasting, I received a $40 gift card to Calvery Woodley. This was the only excuse I needed to drive into D.C. and look for some new wine.

My favorite question to ask of the staff of any wine store is "What is your current favorite wine to drink TODAY?" Debera Edwards did not hesitate when I asked her. She brought me over to the Zinfandel, and pulled a bottle of Camellia Cellars off the shelf. "If you like Zins, this bottle is great." I immediately put it in my basket.

Camillia Cellars is located in Healdsburg, California. Owned and operated by Father/Daughter team Ray and Chris Lewand and partner/winemaker Bruce Snyder, this team has been producing wine since 1985. In the early days the wine was made in the basement of the family owned Camillia Inn. The winery became a commercial operation and was bonded in 1997. Currently they produce Zinfandel, Cabernet, Sangiovese and a Proprietors Blend.

The zinfandel is dark ruby in color. Quite fragrant, the sweet nose of black cherry, black brier fruit foreshadow your first taste. Medium bodied, cherry, mulberry are prevalent with a bit of black fruit and spice near the end. The wine is fruit forward with soft tannins and a long finish. This is a lot of flavor for the $25 price tag. This is a wine to drink now. It paired beautifully with goat cheese and bread, and the rest of the bottle complemented my Rib-eye steak with class. The bottle was gone WAY too soon.

Pick up a bottle at Calvert Woodley on Connecticut Ave. in DC. It is also sold by mail order from the vineyard . If you go into Calvert Woodley, be sure to tell them that WineGent sent you!

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