One of my very favorite winemakers is Sonoma-based Will Bucklin, who makes wines from grapevines that date back to the founding of his Old Hill Ranch in 1851. The smallish (24-acre) Old Hill Ranch vineyard is a dry-farmed Zinfandel field blend.
I’m especially fond of Bucklin Old Hill Ranch Zinfandel Bambino Field Blend 2019 ($19.99) which was made, according to the winery, with at least 75% Zinfandel that is co-fermented with Petite Sirah and Alicante Bouchet with indigenous yeast without any nutrient additions. The wine is aged in neutral French oak for approximately 10 months.
Bambino is one of the best red wine values I know of. Keep in mind that Bucklin Field Blend wines from the 2018 vintage were rated 91 points by Wine Spectator for Bambino and a whopping 95 points for the Ancient Field Blend. Bambino is classic California Zin – not too jammy or bursting with overripe fruit flavors. Rather it’s contained and more subtle than most CA Zins with well-balanced black fruit flavors of blackberry, plums, currants and blueberry. It’s a 20 buck wine that drinks like it should cost $50. Thanks to UDABC’s small winery exemption, Bucklin wines are cheaper here than they are if purchased at the winery! So stock up.
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Originally trained as an anthropologist, Ted Scheffler is a seasoned food, wine & travel writer based in Utah. He loves cooking, skiing, and spends an inordinate amount of time tending to his ever-growing herd of guitars and amplifiers.
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