Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Quivira Zinfandel, 2009, Dry Creek Valley

Sent as a sample some months ago, this Quivira zinfandel ends up being one of the first wines reviewed since I moved up here to Portland, Oregon. The rest of the samples are done resting after the two day, 1,050 mile journey from San Diego, so you can expect to see the pace of reviews pick up a bit as we get into the holidays.

Zinfandel has always been a favored grape for me, it was perhaps the first red wine I tasted, 20 years ago at my family's dining table. For that reason, while others disparage zin, I love and drink it with gusto. During the course of my blog I've tasted multiple excellent bottles, including zinfandel from Shannon Ridge, and from Paul Dolan Vineyards.

So let's talk about this 2009 Quivira Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel. It's not an alcohol monster, coming in at a currently-normal 14.8%. It's got a beautiful purple color, turning garnet towards the outer edges. I can see through it, save for the center where it's inky purple.

The Quivira is aromatically quite nice, with notes of candied raspberry, plum, black pepper, and just the barest hint of earth. None of that mixed-berry jam you can get out of Paso Robles zin, the Quivira wears it's ripeness very, very nicely. Aside from some heat, it was hard to find fault with the bouquet.

If you like balanced zinfandel, this is it. In 2009, California experienced a very good growing season, some might say excellent. I feel that this good vintage, combined with good winemaking, led to a lot of balance even in varietals where it's easy to veer towards over-ripeness. This wine has a great peppery start, then a lush, ripe plum/blackberry flavor comes charging through. Behind that are some tannin, perhaps from the oak barrel, lending to a structurally sound finish.

To me, the 2009 Quivira zinfandel is a food-wine, one that I would happily pair with burgers, meatloaf, and especially some autumn stew with big chunks of meat in it. If you do like big, rich red wines with Thanksgiving, there's another pairing that could work out very nicely.

There you have it, a deliciously affordable zinfandel from a producer who clearly knows what they are doing. I rated this a B and STRONG BUY recommendation. Well worth seeking out at good wine shops and high end markets, especially for $20 or less.

This was a media sample for review purposes.

Beau Carufel


  1. My first Quivira was a blend back in 2003 ish. It was a very special bottle of wine for ~$15. I'll be on the lookout for the Zin.

  2. Nicely reviewed - my rating of this wine was very close to yours. Excellent wine crafting, especially for the price. Cheers!

  3. @Dan this was one of the first times I've ever had Quivira, but at under $20 and that quality level, I suspect it's one I will be picking up some more of.

    @BrainWines Glad our palates agree, you know what they say about great wines! ;-) This is a real nice QPR-beater in my book. Hopefully people taste it.