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90+ Cellars Lot 165 Rockpile Zinfandel Review

90+ Cellars Lot 165 Rockpile Zinfandel Review

In the spring of 2009, Kevin Mehra, the founder of 90+ Cellars, was motivated by the latest published issue of Wine Spectator to begin a project which focuses on bringing exceptional quality juice to the market at incredibly competitive price points.

90+ Cellars is adept in sourcing wine from some of the highest-quality wineries worldwide, buying excess juice to produce their own bottles.

Kevin, the CEO of 90+ Cellars, found that producers would willingly part with excess juice, which could be re-blended and rebottled to create exceptional, original bottlings of wine that punch above their price point.

90+ Cellars Lot 165 Rockpile Zinfandel Review

Interestingly enough, there are no wineries or tasting rooms in the Rockpile AVA (American Viticultural Area).

Instead, wineries located in other regions source juice from this area to create exceptional bottlings. A few examples include Seghesio, Truett Hurst, and Mauritson, among others.

The region itself has a long and storied history. In fact, some of the vines in the area date back to the 1870s!

In 2002, a number of producers pushed for the Rockpile region to be recognized as its own American Viticultural Area, and they were successful.

Today, Rockpile is one of the smallest American Viticultural Areas in the United States and produces exceptional hillside fruit for some of the country’s highest-regarded Zinfandel bottlings.

90+ Cellars Lot 165 Rockpile Zinfandel Summary

  • Brand: 90+ Cellars
  • Country: United States
  • Region: Sonoma County, California
  • Wine Type: Red Wine
  • Varietal: Zinfandel
  • ABV: 14.2%

Appearance

The wine is an intense, deep purple color in the glass, with a dark violet meniscus forming at the rim of the wine.

The legs on this one hint right away that it is going to be a powerhouse, forming at a creeping pace and falling heavily down the glass.

Smell

Dried violets, freshly ground coffee beans, black pepper, and luscious, dark fruit come cascading from the glass on this one.

I get lots of black raspberries, wild blackberries, and overripe plums, along with a dusting of garrigue and juicy black cherries as well. The aromatics are intense and lift themselves from the glass quite readily.

Taste

This wine is a rich and savory offering, boasting luscious black fruit across the palate. There are flavors of black cherries, stewed blackberries, overripe raspberries, and dark plums.

The plentiful fruit flavors are married with spices that match them step by step.

I get herbs, garrigue, freshly cracked black pepper, and toasted oak, which are uplifted by notes of vanilla beans, cinnamon, and just a hint of leather.

The structure of this wine is absolutely lovely, with ample amounts of tannin, moderate acidity, and a seriously hefty body.

What does 90+ Cellars Lot 165 Rockpile Zinfandel pair with?

I really like pairing this one with smoked or cured meats, pulled pork barbecue, and roasted pork butt. That said, any sort of meat with intense spicy notes or a bit of smoke works very nicely here as well.

My personal preference for spicy, fruity, hefty Zinfandels like this is an intensely flavourful burger.

I like a well-chared patty with lots of spice, topped with pepper bacon, pepper jack cheese, and tomatoes. It matches power with power almost perfectly and will leave your mouth watering for days after the pairing experience.

What wines are similar to 90+ Cellars Lot 165 Rockpile Zinfandel?

The first bottle that pops to mind here is Seghesio’s Rockpile Zinfandel. It is one of the more available offerings from this region and is excellent quality on top of that.

If you want to find something a bit different, I recommend trying Primitivo. Primitivo is genetically identical to Zinfandel and is a native Italian grape.

They tend to have a bit more of a peppery, spicy flavor but keep plenty of the deep dark fruit present here.

Final Thoughts

I absolutely loved this bottle. I think that anyone who is a fan of big, robust, intense red wines will absolutely fall head over heels for this one.