Zinfandel is so ubiquitous in Amador County that we often joke that our parents gave it to us in our baby bottles. This Zin was aged 12 months in American oak barrels. Heavy on the palate with all the boldness and fruit-forward pluminess that make Amador County Zinfandels great, our Busi Ranch Zin is our flagship wine.
The wine has a small amount of Alicante Bouschet added, which for decades has been added to Amador County zin in the fields to accentuate the flavors and give the wine color and tannin.
Included in the Box
3x 2018 Zinfandel, Busi Ranch, Amador County
12x 2018 Zinfandel, Busi Ranch, Amador County
$336 for a Case/$28 MSRP, Not Sold Online on Webiste
About The Winery
Winery: Leoni Farms Winery
Owners: Jon and Meredith Campbell
Location: Amador County
For 6 generations we’ve done everything from dairy farming, mining, cattle ranching, logging, and construction in these mountains to try and make a living. We hope wine works because we don’t know what the heck else to do.
“Winemaking gives me the opportunity to see something from the very beginning of the pruning season, all the way to a glass of wine that I’ve made,” Campbell reflects. “It’s the feeling that you aged it, you maturated it and it’s something you molded and created. It’s very satisfying.”
Leoni Farms is a tribute to Co-Owner Meredith Campbell’s family name. The Leoni’s were Swiss pioneers who arrived with a Swiss-Italian wine-drinking tradition. The bottle art for Leoni Farms, a stalking silhouetted mountain lion, pays homage to the Swiss-Italian story in Amador. The word “leone” is Italian for lion. When sojourners from the Alps first arrived in the Mother Lode in the 1850s, many put stakes down in the higher elevations, where mountain lions, grizzly bears, and gray wolves were part of the rugged natural world. Now only the mountain lions remain. But, as Campbell’s quick to point out, the brick and mortar of that era remains, too. For him, it’s the reason Amador’s wine tasting ambiance can’t be matched by other California settings.
@Leonifarms Two questions, Jon. First, how long should I wait before cracking a bottle? 2018 seems very young to me but I’ve only had your 2017 (and I’ve only got 1 bottle left, so obviously I liked it.) I just wonder if I’m doing it a disservice by drinking it within 2 years of harvest. Second question: when are you going to offer your Barbara again?
@KitMarlot I think the aged x amount of years is a European dogma built around Bordeaux that doesn’t necessarily apply to varietals like zin - I think zin is better younger, and that if you bottle it young then you capture that fruity essence that makes it my top 2 varietals
@KitMarlot@Leonifarms I’ve consistently found the depth and complexity of a wine to come out with at least mid-term ageing. The best wines will often have something unique and interesting to give at all stages of their evolution - and will have a long evolution.
How long do you think these will age before fading?
I don’t think it’s been more than a week since I was discussing with a friend that we hoped for some more Leoni soon. Last restock on this was just under a year ago; guess I need to drink a little slower this time.
@Leonifarms Speaking of harvest 2018, you mentioned in the 2017 zin offering last March that you thought the 2018 was going to be a good one. Thoughts today? I purchased the 2017, quaffed it all and enjoyed. Comparison?
@kaolis similar wines - the 2018 harvest was difficult , lots of rain in September and October and believe it or not I ended up in the hospital for a couple days right in the middle of it - we harvested this zin the day after I got out … because it was ready … I’m happy with the wine ! The 2019 harvest sucked - terrible fruit set thanks to very late rain and yield was down 66%
The first batch that I bought for the NE Ohio, from the March 2019 offer, you noted that it was ‘cut with charbono’ This time you note Alicante Bouschet. Is there a reason for the change? And how would you compare the 2017 version to this one? You made a point of how proud you were about the cork with the cougar imprint on the end (and thus no capsule.) Interested to hear about your decision to move to screwcap for this vintage. And lastly, since you were so proud of the cougar, is there a big cat embossed on the end of the screw caps, and if not can I get you to at least ink them with a cougar? Makes it easy to spot on the rack!
Enjoyed these in the last batch - but I did note that the second day was better to my taste.
What say you NE Ohio, I want to buy some but want more than the 3 I ended up with last go 'round. I’d like to keep 4 min, 6 preferred.
@pjmartin wow, lots of questions… 1: didn’t have charbono this vintage, and I really like Alcante and Zin together… Alicante Bouschet is a limited release I do annually and its always very popular as well
@Leonifarms I agree on TCA, it’s an issue. Fortunately I’ve not encountered a significant numbers of spoilage. But when I’ve got 13+ year old PN, I don’t want it to profile like it was just released, and that’s been my experience. I’ve also had some very fine bottles with Stelvins, but I expect them to reward cellaring, and the majority haven’t. How can that be addressed?
@joed10303@rjquillin@tercerowines Almost certainly that is the wine he’s referring to. It was a matter of significant discussion on the 2010 RPM Tour when we visited Buena Vista.
But I just had a 2003 Buena Vista Ramal Vineyard Clone 5 last night and it was quite nice.
@joed10303@rjquillin@tercerowines No, the 2003 was under cork. A cork that didn’t come out nicely, either, and I ended up having to push the bottom of it into the wine. But the wine was perfectly sound (I know, something you never worry about for your wines, Larry!)
@pjmartin Cool…thanks for taking care of this! Do your records show if I got any of the '17? I know I was on the buy thread, but I don’t recall drinking any of it. Is that a drinking problem, or a too much wine problem?
What a great day to be a rat, then again any day is a great day to be a rat:
Initial pour greeted with a purple velvety looking wine, very inviting to smell and taste. Couple of swirls shows lots of legs indicative of the high alcohol followed by an initial hit to the nose of high alcohol.
Nothing really jumping out as far as fruitiness, possibly slight hints of cherry. It is a bit mute reminding me of light earthy tones such as moss.
First taste you get greeted with lots of tannins followed by lingering alcohol (seems to be my theme) and dried teeth. A few sips definitely leaves the mouth salivating from sourness but nothing lip puckering. There is some mild complexity happening that leads me to wanting to sip bit more.
The wine was enjoyable and really could use some time to age, perhaps decanting would help with the hot alcohol.
I got the wine late due to the long weekend and not getting access until it was released, but I wanted to get my experience on here as soon as I could.
@cbrehman@douglasp60@LambruscoKid I’m not a huge fan of Zinfandel, but I’d be down for the other two (for science) if that makes the purchase work. But if Chris chimes in and wants four, I won’t be upset either!
@jmdavidson1 I wish - they made it a no ship state and it really sucks , because I have customers there - I’m too small to pull permits for all these states that I might ship to occasionally and have to do 19 pages of compliance for - I wish states would just let consenting adults buy what they want
Drinking a glass now BBQing linguisa in shorts (it was like 70 degrees in Amador County today !! ) - last time we did a zin offer it sold out , so we bumped the number of cases - and thanks to all the response , who knows , we may be close to a sell out again
This bottle showed up on my doorstep as a surprise. I didn’t know it was coming, but it was REALLY amazing timing since we had company visiting from out of town, and I had forgotten to replenish our wine stash!
I ripped the box open and was super excited to see it was a Zin. I also had a giggle because I had just finished watching Brad Leone cook up some goods on the Bon Appetite YouTube channel. Then I showed the bottle to one of my cats, who is also black - but he just sniffed it and walked away.
The next evening, I set up a taco bar (shredded adobo chicken, pulled pork in hatch sauce, and regular old ground beef with taco seasoning) so I figured that was as good a time as any to try this wine.
My friend cracked it open to take a smell - then paused - and took another smell. “There’s an aroma…but it’s very faint” she said. She handed the bottle to me so I could take a whiff and I agreed with her. It had a very faint smell that I couldn’t quite place. Not a bad smell by any means, but just faint enough that I couldn’t figure it out. I probably did myself a disservice by continuing to huff it, but I was determined to figure it out.
At any rate, we poured it and let me say - this wine has a beautiful color. We both did that glass swishy thing that you’re supposed to do before I buried my nose in my glass (again) to try to figure out the smell. All I could get was raspberry chocolate. So I figured I’d just try a sip.
Guys. This wine. I’m not sure if it was the food paring, or the fact that I’m a high abv whiskey drinker normally - but this wine went down like water. It was delicious. There’s a slight warmth to it goes down - which I like, personally. It’s light on the tongue, not ‘thick’ feeling like other zins I’ve had. Bitter, but not too bitter. Sweet, but not too sweet. I could definitely taste the grapes, along with some pepper. I found it smooth, and a little on the dry side, but not ‘sharp’.
Cherries, more grape, some plum…slight aftertaste of raisins and maybe some cigar tobacco? There’s some chocolate in there too - but the flavors are all so evenly mixed that it’s hard to pick out just one.
All three taco meats were WONDERFUL with this wine, although the hatch did slightly overpower it. Regardless, it stood up to spices, cheeses, and three different meats, and still tasted great.
I would definitely recommend. Next time this is up, we plan on buying a case.
Thank you for the opportunity to labrat this wine!