This 2016 Old Vine Zinfandel boasts ripe fruit and many layers of complexity due to Mendocino’s coastal climate. An aromatic bouquet of blackberry and cassis fill the glass. Flavors of red strawberries, boysenberry and vanilla open to a velvety smooth mouthfeel backed by very little tannin and a good structural acidity. This wine will pair perfectly with a variety of dishes including braised short ribs, Italian pastas or wood-fired pizzas.
Vineyard and Winemaker’s notes
This gem of an Old Vine Zinfandel was grown on a small, 80-year-old vineyard along the Russian River in Mendocino. Matured vines like these are extremely rare and are sought after; for they produce less overall quantity of fruit, allowing the existing clusters plenty of energy and sunlight to ripen and create a finer, more regal wine.
Varietal Composition: Zinfandel 98%, Petite Sirah 2%
Hawley Winery and Vineyards is located near Healdsburg, overlooking the Dry Creek Valley. John Hawley started the winery in 1996, after 20 years of winemaking at some of California’s most influential wineries. Today, John and his two sons, Paul and Austin Hawley, produce unique wines from their certified organic vineyards and select Sonoma County grapes.
We craft nine different wines at Hawley Winery, although more than half of them are less than 500 cases. Producing only 3,000 cases annually, we enjoy the freedom of our small family winery to make a variety of wines and styles. Making wines in small lots from select vineyards allows us to capture the character of a vineyard and a vintage, the terroir. We enjoy crafting small lots of unique wines that express our Sonoma County vineyards.
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Hi there! Hawley team here! We’re excited to introduce ourselves on Casemates for the first time. If anyone has any questions about our 2016 Mendocino Old Vine Zinfandel please don’t hesitate to ask away. We are very proud of this single-vineyard, double-gold medal winning wine. We make it right here at our winery in Dry Creek Valley.
Good to see you here, and remember you from woot; along with some '13 Vio I opened a few months ago from '15. And still have some of the '04 CS and Merlot from '11. Need to dig those out for consumption.
So, you’re not unknown in these parts…
Is this your first/only vintage of this or a new source?
Fruit from your vineyards, or sourced? From where?
Any additional labs you can supply?
This is a new vineyard and appellation for us. Most of our grapes are coming from Sonoma County but we when we saw this Old Vine Zin vineyard in Mendocino County we were really excited. It’s on a gravelly bench along the Russian River and the vines are about 80 years old. It’s dry-farmed and we only yields 1 to 2 tons per acre from the big gnarled head-trained vines.
I’m in, your work with and use of Falcons in the vineyard sold me. I do a fair amount of wildlife photography and birds of prey are a favorite subject. I will look forward to pulling a cork after a day in the field.
We had an opportunity to taste this wine the night before last (Thursday), and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Some really ripe, red fruit on the nose, and no noticeable heat. The first sensation I got on the palate, right after opening was of really firm, grippy tannins, not that there’s anything wrong with that. However, after a few minutes, that had pretty much dissipated. Still plenty of structure, but more immediately approachable. It paired quite well with the pork chops braised in apple cider and port wine, accompanied by buttercup squash, plus an asparagus and cauliflower bake and an avocado and tomato salad. I know, a bit of a mélange, but that’s how we eat, and one of the great things about a Zin like this one is that it marries well with most anything. Not a big finish, but there was so much on the front and in the middle of the palate that I didn’t mind. A nice price for 4 bottles, a downright steal at $12.50/bottle.
I’ve loved previous vintages of the Merlot and Meritage. I particularly enjoyed the more old world sensibility of those wines.
What vineyard are these from? What’s the style here? What do you think the optimal drinking window will be?
ddeuddeg and I were so thrilled to find a bottle of 2016 Hawley Mendocino Country Old Vine Zinfandel in our lab rat box. We have visited the tasting room and have tasted most of the wines that they offer. But we were not aware that they are sourcing grapes from Mendocino County.
This bottle was sent so that we could share with those who are here in Buffalo for the Icewine Festival and Sushi & Bubbly Event. However, a zin just didn’t fit well into this plan. We opened the bottle last night to have with dinner, but immediately poured half out into a 375 ml bottle, screwed on the cap and put it in the fridge, so that we could share with the others the next evening.
This wine has a beautiful, dark, deep ruby color. On first taste, it was very tight and had a lot of tannins. Within five minutes, all kinds of bright, bold fruit were evident. It went well with the meal that ddeuddeg described in his review. I liked it this wine a lot. It came across as a bold wine, loaded with blackberries and deep red fruits. I would say that it is definitely a food wine. It did not show as well on the second night as on the first. But, it might have been the beers and other beverages interfering with the wine. In general, this is a very nice wine.
Hawley Winery, welcome to casemates! We are so glad that you are here! I look forward to future offerings from you. Can you tell us how new the barrels were that were used? Thanks!
@bahwm Thanks for taking the time to taste this Zin! It did not slumber in barrels as long as our other Zins typically do. This wine was aged for 9 months in 50% new oak. We also used mostly French oak but some American as well.
Wow! Hawley on Casemates!
So in full disclosure, I have been a Hawley wine club member for the better part of a decade and currently have 110 bottles in the cellar, and another 120 in the consumed column since I’ve been keeping track.
Can’t say enough good things about the family and team. Great wine and very talented and gracious people. I will stop the advertisement at this point, but want to push folks who are on the fence.
This one didn’t go out to wine club and it is the first I’m seeing of it, so interest is definitely piqued. I’d be kidding myself if I don’t at least do a split on this one, just to make sure I keep a full set!
Welcome to Paul and whoever else from the team shows up!
@trifecta Thank you for your support! What sort of fun Hawley wines are aging in your cellar? You’re quite right, we haven’t sent out this Zin to our wine club because it was not sourced from Sonoma County, as our wines have just about always been. In fact it’s not a wine we sell through our tasting room or website either. It’s like a magical unicorn sighting. Hope you enjoy it! By the way, I’m having trouble seeing names on here. Feel free to say hello this week through the Wine Club email!
•Kristen Power (Club Mngr)
@trifecta Barrel tasting is coming up in March- will you be attending this year? (We also post our offerings online so you’ll see those thru our website.) Unfortunately/Fortunately the Bordeaux varieties remain very small lot production, yielding barely enough to go around so they’ll likely remain club/direct wines. They sell out fast so it seems like we are often in between vintages. That being said, one never will know if some might show up down the road…
@borisgoodenough@ttboy23 jrbw3 anyone who wants to split with me just let me know how many you’d like. I also grabbed the Casemates QPR Select Red Blend case last month if you want some of that…and a case of King Estate’s North by Northwest Rosé