From Mark Gibson - Cheers Wine God
We’ve heard a lot about “peer review” in the last several years. It’s not often that it occurs in the wine world. Wineries will submit their wines into competition, or to critics for review, but to allow another winemaker to "give you notes" on your wine (as you are making it), Qeulle idée. It started as a discussion between Paul Dolan and Dennis Patton about marketing Mendocino wines. And how to prove to the world that Mendocino made some of the best wines in California. It's also based on the knowledge that there are more that one way to skin a cat. That’s how “CORO MENDOCINO” came about. The name developed from the root word for chorus because the wines should “sing with one voice”. They convinced other winemakers to join in, made bylaws and established their criteria.
The Cliff Notes version of the requirements are:
This last item is where the peer review comes in. No other wine region does this. Each year a panel of members sets the tasting, and supervises the process. The tasting is on a pass/fail basis. If the majority thinks the wine meets standards, they can be bottled with the CORO seal on the bottle. If it fails, the winemaker gets another chance, just in case something unforeseeable has happened,. Then submits their wine again for an up or down vote.
Each wine that is voted up can use the Coro label. They are considered to be the best that the winemaker does. All are extremely limited in quantity, and availability. Most of them are only available at the wineries. We are lucky enough to have this one.
DNA VINEYARDS 2018 CORO MENDOCINO RED 750ml
REG: $34.99 NOW: $25.99
DNA stands for Dennis and Andrea. Dennis has been making wine in Mendocino for 40 years, Andrea has been marketing and selling wine for 25 years. I have often described Zinfandel as having multiple personalities, depending on where the grapes are grown and what the winemaker's style is. Most Zins are like that garage band down the street, or the Ramones, they play loud and fast, just to get to the finish. Others, mainly from Lodi, are like Neil Young; who plays loudly and as if he was angry with the guitar. Everything is hinged around the power of fruit and alcohol. Then, there are others who are similar to masters like Pat Matheny, Julian Bream, or Mark Knopfler. It comes down to FOCUS. Well made Zins, or Zin blends have that focus. They "sing with one voice", there may be a Soprano that belts out above everyone else, but not often. Therefore, the name CORO fits exactly.
The blend is 55% Zinfandel, 31% Syrah and 14% Petite Sirah. Balanced and dark ruby in color with bold aromas of blackberry and black cherry. The palate seems to grow as you taste it with dark fruit, earth, cedar and coffee notes rolling onto your tongue in increasing waves. Staying with the musical theme, the coda brings it all together with nicely firm tannins that end on a single sustained note.