We don’t usually review individual wines here, but for The Federalist’s Zinfandel we make an exception. Introducing the legendary Thermonuclear Alcoholic Ribena…
In A Nutshell
Thermonuclear alcoholic Ribena laced with serotonin, Americana and euphoria. An achievement.
A Red wine from Sonoma Valley, California – the vineyard is about 80 miles north of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. This vineyard founded/planted in 1981, and bought by the Terlatos in 2000.
I first tried The Federalist on my first (and certainly not last) journey to The Grosvenor Hotel’s JW Steakhouse. Have you ever enjoyed a wine so much that it gave you Tourette’s Syndrome? It’s a documented phenomena…
Note: The vintage for JW’S Federalist was 2010. I’ve not been able to get my hands on a bottle of that one – the review you are reading is for the 2011.
We Drink It, Stuff Happens
First impression: Full on olfactory seduction and sweet niceness. There are black fruits (blackcurrant/cassis), raisins, cloves, liquorice and the kind of vanilla that you get with Bourbon (new American Oak?).
Also some baked sweet deliciousness – perhaps Battenberg cake – plus candied almonds. It’s not hugely aromatic, per se but goddamn, it smells amazing! The nose knows.
And, as with many such wines, there is also a heady alcoholic kick. Aeration takes some of the sharp booziness off of the nose. Rum steeped raisins become soft vanilla…
First impression: Smooth as glass and with heroic fruitiness. There are ripe plums and wonderfully gentle tannins that are like the entire angelic hierarchy doing a dance on your tongue.
After you acclimatise the predominant taste is a spicy clamour of cloves, red fruit vanilla, blackstrap molasses and blackcurrants – imagine Ribena but with alcohol and a much more subtle, rounded taste. It is wonderful. At 15% ABV you wouldn’t know it.
It is so easy drinking that it should perhaps come with a disclaimer.
Medium to short – the smoothness does not linger too long. The raisins, redfruit and a small bit of vanilla stick around on your tongue, but not nearly for as long as you might like (which is, I suppose, where this wine falls down a little).
What you’re left with is a slight creaminess from the oak – and when you exhale from your nose, some vanilla and fruit. And your life affirming memories. Better have another glass.
The embodiment of the jam fruit goodness goddess – ridiculously easy drinking but with enough alcohol to uh…get the party started in a hurry. It costs a lot, but in this writer’s humble opinion, is worth keeping for special occasions. Or open it to create a special occasion.
A (currently) unsung hero of the wine world.
UK wholesaler (‘crates are great!’): http://www.matthewclark.co.uk/products/wine/red/the-federalist-visionary-zinfandel-dry-creek-valley/