|Rebecca at the tasting bar|
Hayne Vineyard (now Chase Family Cellars) grapes were
purchased by Charles Krug for many years.
In 1998 the first of S.E. Chase Family Cellars Zinfandel was produced from
the Hayne vineyard. These Zinfandel vines, now over a hundred years old, are
all head pruned and dry farmed. It is a
lovely site, these ancient black trunks standing in the field with no wires or
trellises to mar the view. It would be a
picture postcard scene if there was yellow mustard planted to contrast with the
dark old vines. There are very few old,
head pruned vineyards left in
|Chase entry way|
We opted to skip the white Zinfandel and started out with
the Chase Cellars Hayne Vineyard 2008 Zinfandel ($45). It was light ruby in color with a nice
nose. I got some pronounced raspberry on the palate with good tannins and a medium length finish. This is a fairly dry Zinfandel with good
structure, not at all fruit forward or lacking in acid. It is easy to ruin a Zin with not enough acid
(flabby), too much ripe fruit (fruit bomb with too much sweetness), too much
|Chase tasting room|
Next up was the Chase
Cellars Hayne Vineyard 2009
Zinfandel ($49). I liked this
somewhat better than the 2008. I got
some raspberry and forest floor on the nose and more raspberry with red plum and soft tannins on the palate. The finish
was longer than the 2008. Although this
is a lighter style Zin and fruitier than the 2008, it still has good structure
and some complexity.
|Hayne Vineyard Zinfandels|
My favorite of the wines we tasted, however, was the Chase Cellars Hayne
Vineyard 2009 Reserve Zinfandel ($75) which comes from the finest
grapes from the old vines. It had a
better nose than the other two Zins, with a smooth, lush body of cherry and
chocolate on the palate, along with pleasantly integrated tannins. The finish was especially long and
satisfying. An excellent Zinfandel!
Our last offering was the Chase Cellars 2009 Calistoga Cabernet Sauvignon ($65). This was made from grapes sourced from Sam
Brannan Vineyard Calistoga, using three different clones. After a light nose, I got a medium to full bodied Cab
with blackberries, black currants, and cedar along with good tannins and acid, all well balanced with
a medium length finish. This is more of
a soft and graceful Cab than one of overwhelming power. It was a pleasant Cab but did not
displace the Zin Reserve as my favorite of the wines we sampled.
|Hayne Vineyard 100 plus year old Zinfandel vines|
I was able to purchase and taste a bottle of the Chase Cellars 2009 Petite Sirah ($50) which was sourced from Barberis Vineyard in Calistoga. Intensely dark black-purple in color, it had a light to medium nose with an intense, balanced, concentrated blackberry with some dark cherry, cedar and toast on the palate. Tannins were firm, somewhat chalky and delightfully integrated. I did not get much black pepper but the balance was perfect. It had a moderate length smoky cherry finish. Definitely a superior Petite Sirah and highly recommended!
What I especially like about Chase, in addition to the small, friendly, welcoming atmosphere, is that their wines are very true to the varietal and that they do not taste like everyone else's wine. My two favorites, the Reserve Zin and PS, both are unique and different than what others are producing. Balance is impeccable. The winemaker has brought out the best in these high quality grapes. If you like high quality Zinfandels and want something different from the wonderful Turley and Biale Zins, try some Chase Zins. And don't forget their Petite Sirah. Better yet, visit them and try them all.
Chase Family Cellars
2252 Sulphur Springs Avenue
St. Helena, CA 94574
Date of visit: March 20, 2013