WHAT: Monte Rosso is a legendary vineyard that produces great grapes in several varieties so when I see it on a label I usually jump on it. I was thrilled to find this offering from the Wine Guerrilla second label.
Usually a second label means less expensive wine, but at Wine Guerrilla they decided to put their limited releases under the WG Sonoma label. Wine Guerrilla focuses on Zinfandel, especially old vine Zins grown around Sonoma. Their regular wines sell for about $20 and those under the WG Sonoma label for $35-$40.
The extra cost buys you some special tastes. This wine is a beautiful deep purple in the glass with a floral nose. The wine begins to open with the first sips and continues to develop for more than an hour. I decanted the wine an hour before drinking, and it still continued to open.
It has a medium body, with strong flavors of red and black berries with a complex, smooth finish. If I had to pick one word to describe this wine it would be finesse. The tannins are light and well integrated, with solid acidity
One interesting note is this is the only Monte Rosso Zinfandel to be bottled with a twist-off cap. Wine Guerrilla believes in the screw cap and uses only Stelvin closures.
Zinfandel vines are the oldest in the 575-acre Monte Rosso vineyard. Many of them were planted in the 1890s and early 1900s. The greatness of the vineyard comes from its combination of soils, elevations and microclimates unique to the valley. The wines from Monte Rosso grapes usually are complex.
WINERY: The parent company, Wine Guerrilla, began in 1999 when Bruce Patch left the record industry and moved to wine country. He started with a wine brokerage representing several Napa and Sonoma wineries.
He worked for Deerfield Ranch Winery in Sonoma Valley as national sales manager for six years. He started producing a few hundred cases of his own wine a year, using Wine Guerrilla as the brand name. He left Deerfield in 2007 and worked full time on producing his Zinfandels with David Coffaro, who has been growing grapes in Dry Creek since 1979, and has had his own label since 1994.
WG Sonoma focuses on small-lot production of Zinfandels from highly revered vineyards throughout Sonoma County. The bottles feature a bold red “X” and subtle floral art by Wine Guerrilla artist, Sean Colgin, reflecting the style and tone of the parent brand.
Patch relies on his relationships with premium growers in Sonoma to find the best Zinfandel grapes to go into his wine.
GOES WITH: Though this wine deserves an extravagant meal, I was in a hurry and fixed fried chicken, baked potato and creamed corn. It was heavenly. The subtlety of the wine perfectly matched the sweet, crunchy fried chicken and held its own with the baked potato.
The wine did continue to develop in the glass, so it tasted a bit different with each bite of chicken, getting better and better through the meal.
The wine would go well with a ribeye steak with béarnaise sauce, coq au vin, a nice veal chop, or even pizza. It’s a versatile wine that gets better with food.