Review: Castoro Cellars Late Harvest Zinfandel


Our friend Rebecca was back in town after a five-flights-in-three-days sort of business trip that had her on both coasts as well as in Chicago. She was stopping by our house bearing gifts, Sonja and I being quite excited to catch back up with her, and, of course, I decided to pull a cork. I’d been waiting for the right occasion to open this one, and a late evening after the dinner dishes had long been done seemed like the perfect occasion. Rebecca arrived, hugged Sonja and then I, and let me take her coat. We sat in the living room the rest of the evening, catching up and sipping at this terrific little wine.

The third wine I’ve tried from Castoro Cellars, it does much to reinforce my growing appreciation for their work. A full body, and a full 18% ABV, the flavor profile is a combination of dark purple fruits — blackberry, black currant, and more, accented by a few bright notes, the kind you might get from raspberry or even cranberry, but very subtle. The most excited flavor on this off-sweet, very vibrant young port-like wine, was the unmistakable aroma and subsequent flavor of high quality cocoa. Often I get chocolate flavors on wines, in particular late harvest and fortified, ranging from mil chocolate to white chocolate and more. This exhibited dark chocolate, the kind that’s almost bitter for its concentration, with gentle notes of graphite and cream hiding in the background.

Reuniting with Rebecca was a treat for Sonja and I, and this wine made the evening that much better. Very reasonably priced and easy to order online, this is one I highly recommend it! (Sample)



NOTE: I’ve stopped using a numbers rating system, in favor of telling more stories and focusing more on the flavor, and then letting you decide what you think. I’ll write a more thorough reflection on this shift later. Thanks for reading.




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