Wine review: 2012 Hess Collection Artezin Zinfandel, Mendocino County, California

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Randle Johnson makes wines for the Hess Collection on a couple of different continents. I had the pleasure of interviewing Randle a couple of years ago and his enthusiasm for making and drinking wines is contagious.

This Zinfandel wine from Mendocino illuminates the skill he has at showcasing the nuances of fruit from specific regions. The variance of temperature afforded these grapes during their growing season is quite significant, often 30-40F. These extremely warm days and shivering cold nights encourage the vigor in the plants to create unique fruit of integrity and character.

The aromas are classic Mendocino; raspberry, pepper and a good dose of spice. The flavors carry the same notes of berry, pepper, spice and the tannins are in check. Randle Johnson has delivered in this vintage a balanced wine that will be a pleasant addition to any backyard cookout or juicy grilled steak dinner. 18,000 case production.

Rating: Very Good (88) | $17 | 14.8% ABV

Hess Collection Artezin Zinfandel