Stokes Vineyard, located in the growing area of Lodi in San Joaquin County, consistently impresses with its rich and intense old-vine Zinfandel. The combination of vineyard management and the site’s unique character brings out this grape’s richness, intensity, and subtle spice notes.
The 2022 vintage of ZaZa Zin from the Stokes Vineyard faced the challenges of a year marked by drought, unexpected frosts, hailstorms, and heat waves, all bookended by late September rainfall. The result is a testament to the vineyard’s resilience and the winemaking team’s determination.
Deep garnet in the glass, the 2022 Zinfandel greets the nose with a complex blend of baked plum, black cherry, and wild bramble, underscored by a warming hint of cinnamon and clove. The influence of the heatwave is evident in the concentration of the fruit, while the late rainfall offers a refreshing edge to the rich bouquet.
On the palate, this wine reveals more of its complex character. The flavors of sun-drenched blackberry and ripe fig blend harmoniously with subtler notes of roasted coffee beans and dark chocolate, a nod to the vine’s struggle through the drought and the scorching summer. Layers of complexity continue to unfurl, presenting hints of dried herbs and sweet tobacco.
The Zin’s full-bodied and intense nature is beautifully balanced with surprisingly vibrant acidity, a gift from the cooler, humid conditions earlier in the season. This wine demonstrates old vines’ strength and adaptability, offering a structured mouthfeel with well-integrated tannins. The long finish leaves a lingering note of black fruit and warm spices.
Though robust and expressive now, the 2022 ZaZa Zin holds potential for further evolution. It is recommended to cellar the wine for a few years to allow its concentrated fruitiness to mellow and to let the more savory notes of tobacco, leather, and earth come forward. If opened within two to three years of the vintage date, consider decanting to fully experience the depth and breadth of flavors this wine has to offer.