Throwing myself back into the reviewing of wines and wineries is going to be quite a process. While I used to be able to drive around the Napa and Sonoma counties, being a San Francisco-bound girl makes those trips a bit more cumbersome. To start, I will be relying on large tastings coming to the city and usually, to Fort Mason. This last weekend was Rhone Rangers, and while I did not get through nearly as many wineries as I would like, it was a great pleasure to meet new friends and taste through some lovely wines — not the least of which was Zaca Mesa. Eric Mohseni is the winemaker and with the exception of a Chardonnay, their website shows they are almost an exclusively Rhone varietal producer.
A few things that Eric told me during my tasting; he models a few wines after the Château-du-Pape legacy, they are all about sustainable practices in the vineyards, and Zaca Mesa does not source grapes, but grows it all themselves and have done so for over 25 years. They claim to have the oldest Syrah grapes in the Central Coast and are completely family-owned and operated.
2008 Viognier – Clean and lovely, elegant floral notes with a core of honey balances out bright stone fruit flavors.
2006 Roussanne – Eric was rattling off about the wine going into a tank first and then a neutral barrel, using 60% new oak, but I somewhat zoned out on the specifics as I became enraptured with hints of Turkish rose petals in the full-bodied, spicy offering. A touch of toasty on the finish, an elegant offering I could easily become attached to.
2006 Z Cuvée – Refuted to be the winery’s “quaffing wine,” this was a blend of Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah, and Cinsaut (this particular vintage, anyway), and shows a rich, warm nose of cherry, berry, and dried sage and tarragon.
2006 Z Three – An estate-bottled blend of Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvèdre, there is a rich unctuousness to this offering, with its dark, ripe tannins and liqueur-like berry fruit.
2006 Syrah – Aged in 25% new oak, this was the one wine which did not blow me away. A slightly tannic nose, there was a smokiness which I found a bit stronger than I care for and believe the inbalance is due entirely to its youth.