The Federalist 2014 Zinfandel (Lodi, California)
By Phillip Koh
“Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy.” -Benjamin Franklin
Name/Label: The Federalist
Grape/Varietal: Zinfandel (93%) Syrah (7%)
Appellation: Lodi, California
Aging: 12 months in 25% new Oak
Average Price: $18 (up to $20 or more)
I was looking for a wine that has a presidential theme for last President’s day (to participate on #WiningHourChat on twitter on tuesdays) and this was the only one I found that day without venturing out too far from my house. It was a delighful coincidence that it’s a Zinfandel from the Lodi region of California, because that is one of my favorite type of wines. Lodi Zinfandels, especially their Old Vine Zinfandels, are one of those varietals/type of wines that I got familiar with as I lived nearby that region for several years many years ago, but I quickly started to appreciate the unique and great taste of their Zinfandels. Since I first started trying them out in the 90’s, the Lodi Zinfandels (including Old Vine Zinfandels) have been more and more prominent and well known. And for good reason. This is one of the finest (and one of the least sweet) of the Lodi zin’s I have ever tried.
Fruit: 5 of 5
body: 5 of 5
Tannin: 3.5 of 5
Acidity: 2 of 5
Alcohol: 4.5 of 5
It has a medium density, purple / dark plum skin color.
Smells very juicy, like a good Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel should. Smells very Oakey as well, suggesting that it has been barrel-aged in some good oak. I can smell a lot of fruit and body. Sweet tobacco and 5-spice powder. Very ripe plums, blackberry, black pepper
Right off the bat, I can say it was pretty dry for a zinfandel.. slightly off dry. Hardly any sugar. It does taste like northern California wines, a bit more so like other typical Northern California wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, more so than Zinfandel. Tasted spicy, but with a nice layer of mellow undertone and strong spicy highlights. Tannins are moderate and not overbearing at all. Nutmeg and hickory wood. 5-spices powder, and white pepper. Big fruit flavors such as strawberry and raspberry. Blueberery a little bit, and blackberry as well. Did not taste jammy like some of the other less-fine Zinfandels (or Old Vine Zinfandels) from the region. Juicy but not too juicy. Unripe/less-ripe plum.
Also tasted/textures of New leather, crushed gravel/stones. Has strong mineral taste / coat on the tongue and mouth after a while… like pencil lead and/or chalk. Unsweetened/slightly-sweet Tobacco leaf. Tasted young (opened the bottle in spring, 2017) and taste fresh but with some real substance still.
Has fine velvety texture… very fine wine, as if they have filtered it to fine-tune it. Its astringent for a typical zinfandel, especially from the region.
Quality: 4.5 out of 5 (awesome quality)
Value (Quality per Dollar): 3.75 out of 5 (decent; slightly expensive)
The 2014 Federalist Lodi Zinfandel has our Solid Recommendation. I would have rated even higher if it wasn’t near the $20 range, so the price does bring down the value a bit. (but not the quality)
The Federalist 2014 Lodi Zinfandel is truly an outstanding wine for its high quality, fineness and complexity. The only downside was that it was a bit pricey, which means the typical or casual / middle-class buyers may never touch the bottle unless they are on special sale, or for special occasion only.
Recommended for: Zinfandel Fans, Old Vine Zinfandel Fans, Lodi Zinfandel fans, Dry red wine fans. California wine fans.
Not recommended for: definitely not for people that like/insist on sweet wines. Also this is for sophisticated palate, or for the more experienced, and not for wine-beginners.