Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Klinker Brick Tasting: Farrah Syrah, Old Vine Zinfandel, The Old Ghost

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The red and yellow blotches on the Doppler radar finally passed by Perrysburg swinging to the southeast. We were glad because we were planning on heading to Corks for a special tasting of Klinker Brick Winery offerings. The winery is owned by Steve, Lori and (daughter) Farrah Felten. Lori and Farrah were in town to pour three of their wines and a funnel cloud would have made our choices very difficult.

When we arrived at Corks there was a good crowd considering the tornado warning that was issued earlier in the evening. Mike Gregg’s tasting lineup had an interesting white blend from Pacific Ridge and some interesting Zinfandels for comparison with Klinker Brick. Some of the Zins are known for their higher alcoholic content, so we decided to focus on the three Klinker Brick wines.

A quick verdict is that these Klinkers aint no klunkers. We enjoyed three quality wines that exhibited finesse and are also great values.

Farrah did the pouring and was able to provide background on the wines. Klinker Brick Winery is in Lodi, a rustic and welcoming wine community about 40 minutes south of Sacramento. The winery produces 30,000 cases annually. Klinker has 15 vineyard blocks of zinfandel that range in age from 37 to 112 years old in the Mokelumne River sub-appellation of Lodi. The yields are small from these gnarly, ancient vines and they produce wines of intense color and concentrated flavor.

The Syrah vineyard is named after Farrah Felton, so there was no better person to pour and illuminate us on the Farrah Syrah. We tried two vintages. The ‘08 had a smokiness with flavors of berries and tobacco. The 2007 had settled down a bit and had a smooth mellowness to it. Both are in the French style with a nice balance and finished in oak.

I was surprised at the 2007 Old Vine Zinfandel. Upon first sip I expected to be smacked with aggressiveness but I was greeted with a supple, smooth glass with juicy flavors of cherry and plum. Farrah opined that I might be enjoying the results of the longer hang-time their vineyards enjoy. This was a much more elegant wine than I expected. This wine is blended from 14 different Old Vine vineyard blocks.

The much anticipated star of the evening was The Old Ghost, produced from a 97-year old vineyard. This is a more polished wine than the Old Vine and exhibited more spiciness. This is a fine wine and a multi-layered treat that you could sip and contemplate all evening.

The Syrah and Old Vines Zinfandel list for $17.99 while The Old Ghost goes for $39.95. Great values for brick solid wines.

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