16 Mar Please The Palate Wine of the Week: Hubba Wines 2020 Butch Zinfandel, Enz Vineyard, Lime Kiln AVA, Cienega Valley
After my trip to the Cienega Valley a few months ago, I came home with a bottle of Hubba Wines 2020 Butch Zinfandel from the Enz Vineyard in the Lime Kiln AVA in Cienega Valley. At dinner with my parents this week, I decided to open this wine. Lean and lovely, the 2020 Butch Zinfandel, Enz Vineyard, Lime Kiln AVA, Cienega Valley is the Please The Palate wine of the week.
Lime Kiln Valley AVA is located within the Cienega Valley AVA in San Benito County, California. A small AVA that covers only 2300 acres, it is home to only one vineyard, Enz Vineyard. Continually farmed since 1883, Enz Vineyard is owned by Bob and Susan Enz who purchased the property in 1967. They have 30 acres planted to Zinfandel, Mourvèdre, Cabernet Pfeffer, and Orange Muscat, the oldest in the state.
Riley Hubbard is a winemaker based in Paso Robles. She started at L’Aventure Winery while getting her degree in Ag Business with a minor in Viticulture from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. She then worked harvest at Torbreck Winery in the Barossa Valley in Australia before moving to Montpellier, France to get her Master’s Degree with the Vinafera Euromaster program. She worked at Domaine d’Aupilhac in Montpeyroux, France and ultimately finished her degree in Udine, Italy in the heart of the Friuli region. Riley then returned to Paso Robles where she worked at Law Estates, Desparada Wines, and today consults for Monochrome Wines. In 2016, Riley started her own label, Hubba Wines.
When Riley was looking to expand her grape sources, she did not want to go to Santa Ynez where everyone else seemed to be going. Instead, winemaker Ian Brand introduced her to the Cienega Valley. Riley has some familiarity with the Enz Vineyard as it was a vineyard winemaker Kenneth Volk had sourced his grapes from. And what she loves about the Cienega Valley, she told me, is the big open spaces. She said that the area is “an untouched area, a hidden gem.”
The Hubba Wines 2020 Butch Zinfandel, Enz Vineyard, Lime Kiln AVA, Cienega Valley ($42) is fermented with native yeasts and aged for 12 months in neutral French oak. The wine is unfined and unfiltered and is 14.1% ABV. The nose of the wine is a mix of fresh lavender, freshly crushed red berries and blueberries, fresh herbs, and limestone. On the palate, this Zinfandel is lean and juicy with tart acidity and a hint of jammy fruit on the finish. This is definitely a food friendly Zinfandel that can be enjoyed with white meat, lamb, or any other grilled dish.