The Rubus Project was created by Master Sommelier Fran Kysela.
The project was conceived as a way to source & sell stellar-quality wines at value price points.
All of the wines in this international venture are selected by Fran Kysela himself. Rubus wines are all a bit different but with a similar stylistic fingerprint.
They are fruit-driven, true-to-type wines that over-deliver.
Rubus Reserve Old Vine Zinfandel Review
This particular offering is 98% Zinfandel, with the tiniest dollop of Cabernet Sauvignon (the remaining 2%) added in to help round out the structure and the flavor profile of the wine.
All of the juice for this bottle is sourced from Lodi in California. Lodi is a relatively large winemaking region, being twice the size of Napa valley.
It sits right in the middle of California’s Central Valley.
The whole region is shaped something like a big, exposed bowl, allowing sunshine to beat down on the grapes all day long, giving the wines from the region their characteristically jammy flavor profile.
Rubus Reserve Old Vine Zinfandel Summary
- Brand: Rubus
- Country: United States
- Region: Lodi
- Wine Type: Red Wine
- Varietals: Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon
- ABV: 14.3%
The wine is an inky purple color in the glass, with a meniscus that sports a rich, deep red hue around the edges of the wine.
The wine boasts some seriously impressive aromatics, and the relatively high alcohol content helps to uplift the scents out of the glass.
I get tons of rich dark fruit, including plums, black cherries, blackberry compote, and blueberry pie.
There are intense notes of jammy cassis, vanilla, dark chocolate, and freshly ground black pepper playing in the mix here as well.
This is a powerhouse of a wine on the palate. The body is huge, rich, and plus, with intense viscosity and just enough tannin and acid to help support the body.
Flavors of blackberry pie, overripe blueberries, blackberry jam, and maraschino cherries dominate the palate.
The primary fruit is supported nicely with a sprinkling of spice, including cinnamon, anise, and allspice, and just a bit of black pepper.
These notes marry rich, toasted oak, coconut, and vanilla bean flavors as they wash over the tongue.
What Does Maison Rubus Reserve Old Vine Zinfandel Pair With?
Grilled meats and barbecue will really shine here.
The notes of pepper and black fruit really stand out against charred meat in particular, and the luscious, intense fruit holds its own against pretty much any sauce, rub, or glaze you could throw at it.
You could also pair this wine with blue cheese, Mexican cuisine, and anything which features prominent flavors of olives, which have a robustness that works very well with wines such as this one.
What Wines Are Similar to Rubus Reserve Old Vine Zinfandel?
Go for other old vine Zinfandel selections. Andis is a personal favorite of mine and is produced by a man who was once named one of the top 9 winemakers in the world by esteemed reviewer Robert Parker.
I would also recommend trying any of the Zinfandels from Macchia, as they offer a lot of the same intensity of fruit, a big, heavy body, juicy, jammy flavor profile, and just enough spice to lend some depth to the wine.
If you want to branch out and try a different varietal, I recommend Petite Sirah. They tend to be well-structured with lots of tannins, inky dark fruit, pepper, and lots of body.
For an introduction to the style, I would recommend trying Macchia Petite Sirah from Amador County in California.
Finally, try Primitivo. Primitivo is a direct relative to Zinfandel and is genetically identical. In fact, the two names are often used interchangeably, in parts of Europe in particular.
I loved this wine for what it was. It offered great value, big fruit, and just enough complexity to keep it interesting.