Rae’s Place WotW Dec. 9th 2019

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Shannon Ridge “High Elevation” Zinfandel 2017 Lake County, California


92pts Wine Enthusiast

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Wine of the week:

We’ve had tremendous success with the Shannon Ridge Cabernet and now offer the 2017 Lake County Zinfandel. To be honest, I don’t traditionally like Zinfandel. It’s too big a wine for me. I love the aromatics and the base flavors but when they get super high in alcohol and become syrupy, I tend to move away.

This Zinfandel is a bit different. There’s plenty of the big fruit and that brambly nature Zinfandel lovers covet but there’s also restraint, structure and a nice, clean finish. It’s refreshing to drink Zinfandel and want a second glass.

This wine will please traditional Zinfandel lovers and those of us who like clean finishing wines. Grab a bottle at a great price and see for yourself.


Notes from the winery:

Owner and visionary leader of Shannon Ridge Family of Wines, Clay Shannon has transformed his ranch into one of the agricultural icons of California’s North Coast, and in doing so is changing the face and substance of grape-growing in the USA.

Clay grew up on a farm in Healdsburg in Sonoma County. He began his career as a vineyard manager in St. Helena, traveling the wine regions of California managing the company’s vineyards. A short time later he started his own vineyard management company, growing grapes for some of the top wineries and fruit companies in Northern California.

In 1995, Clay discovered a magnificent piece of property in the hills overlooking Clear Lake in Lake County, thirty-five miles north of Napa’s famed vineyards. He quickly set out to develop vineyards, Clay’s vision was simple: “We wanted to grow the best fruit in the world,” says Clay, “but we wanted to do it in a way that made us happy living there.”


 Farming Practices:

 “Sustainability wasn’t some philosophical concept; it is the way we live our lives.”


Ovis cycle (o-vis sahy-kuhl)

Ovis – Latin for Sheep

Cycle – a sequence of changing stages that, upon completion, produces a final state identical to the original one.


Reduced use of mowers, tractors and weed eaters

At Shannon Ridge the sheep have reduced our need to mow by 500%. The use of gas powered weed eaters have nearly been eliminated. This means far less use of fossil fuels in our farming system.


Reduced use of herbicides

The sheep have greatly reduced our use of herbicide. We are able to treat individual areas only as needed.


Better productivity for our human crews

The sheep are used to remove basil leaves and trunk suckers from the vines. This means less manual labor for our valuable vineyard crews.


Wildfire prevention and protection

The sheep eat the cover crops, dry grasses and other leaf material that can fuel wildfires, thus creating fire protection on the property.


Erosion protection and farmland restoration

Over the years our hilltops have been eroded by the wind. As a preferred sleeping spot for the sheep, natural fertilization has caused the grass to grow and restore hilltops into productive areas.


Tasting Notes:

Shannon Ridge “High Elevation” Zinfandel 2017 Lake County, California



This is high elevation zin to the max. The traditional flavors are there; ripe, plummy fruit and a touch of sweetness from the heat in Lake County. What sets this wine apart from others in this price point is the spice, tannin and acidity. Because it’s high elevation and the skins are thicker, this wine has great structure and high notes not often found in Zinfandel. This isn’t a big fruit bomb, this is focused and restrained. A special wine in the sub $15 category.

Pair with BBQ, grilled meats, or a Santa Maria tri-tip salad.


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I'm a certified specialist of wine and spirits with almost 20 years in the industry. I've educated sales teams, wine buyers and customers on wine profiles, wine regions, varietals, pairings and much more. I'm now working with wholesalers and importers to bring the best wines possible to my customers.