In American wine circles, the single most awarded winemaker is Sonoma’s Carol Shelton. For 19 years, she worked for industry giants such as Andre Tchelistcheff and Robert Mondavi. When I met her in my store she introduced me to one of her better wines, the Carol Shelton Cox Vineyards 2008 “Wild Thing” Zinfandel.
It’s certainly an old style of California zinfandel with aromas of black cherry, plum and raspberry fruit combined with a beautiful hint of vanilla, from the 24 months in oak, I am sure. It’s smoothly textured in the mouth, very creamy yet “punchy” in the tail – showing power and a briary edge.
The finish is long and has lush, jammy fruit, and I feel it needs a good hour of air to round out to perfection. Basically, this is what zinfandel was 20 years ago, as opposed to so many of the medicinal cherry-jam and plum-paste zins that have become the norm.
If your local wine peddler doesn’t have it, have the manager contact Tramonte Distributing in Cincinnati.
Roger Gentile is the owner of Gentile’s, the Wine Sellers – www.gentiles.com – and the author of two books on wine.