A good friend and work colleague of Hegui’s, Chris, brought this exciting late harvest zinfandel to a dinner party at our place the other day. We served Dungeness crab. Chris was the least squeamish of the group so he helped me shove the little monsters into the pot and steamer racks as well as hold down the lid during the cooking, but that’s another story!
I wasn’t really familiar with Hop Kiln Winery, though we have driven by it on our way to Williams Selyem before. Their web site indicates that they’ve been producing wine since the mid-Seventies and they seem to have developed a premium line of Burgundian style pinot noirs and chardonnays within the past five or six years.
The vineyard name is weird. “Hop Kiln” sounds more about beer than wine. In fact, there is a landmarked Nineteenth Century hop kiln, a structure for drying hops, that is at the center of the winery. It looks stunning in the pictures on their site and in the brief glimpses that we’ve had from the road. I want to try to visit them soon.
2006 Hop Kiln Russian River Valley Late Harvest Zinfandel: This was an opaque deep red to purple color with a nose of cedar and V-8 juice. It had good body with a long finish. We detected overripe fruit, caramel, sour cherry and even forest floor with some white pepper at the end. We generally thought that it was “good.” We were surprised that it was much less sweet than we had initially anticipated.
This is a good holiday quaffer.