Kelley Creek 05 Zinfandel

Click to Enlarge - Kelley Creek '05 Zinfandel

Click to Enlarge - Kelley Creek '05 Zinfandel

I’ve come across many wines that didn’t suit my palate. Some were too sweet, others too dry, and still others just didn’t give me any reason to drink more of it.  However, no wine has given me such an adverse reaction as this Zinfandel from Kelley Creek did.

Now, before I continue, I will say that some people have given this value driven wine a great rating. When last sold on The Wine Spies, this wine got some pretty high praise! I also found this quick note on Wine Log.  Given that I’ve seen some favorable comments on it, I’ll certainly try this wine again, just to see if I was off, and not the wine.  However, I’ll do that quite under protest.

I picked up this wine from Total Wine in PGA Gardens, FL.  That’s my “stomping grounds”, and if you’re looking for me on a weekend afternoon, there’s a 50/50 chance I’m there from 1 til 3pm. One day in August the weekly wine tasting was running late, and I had to kill an hour.  Horrible thing, killing an hour in a wine store, isn’t it?  I walked around and looked at the various tasting notes they provide as “selling points” on their wines. I ended up picking about 24 different bottles I had never tried, some on recommendation from trusted sources, and others because it looked interesting enough to try based on the write up. This Kelley Creek wine was one of the “based on the write up” wines.  It cost a mere $15, which made taking a gamble on the wine easier. If it was a $25-50 bottle, I’d have been a lot more scientific in my approach, I assure you.

I had put the wine in my wine fridge last night, getting it to 59 degrees for today.  I opened it when I got home at 6pm, letting it breathe for just about an hour.  This is S.O.P for my reds, frankly. Some, of course, need to breathe a bit more, or less, and others come out as they warm up, but I always start there.  Sitting down with this wine, I began to review it.  I was going to do a video review, and did have a little build up to my tasting it.

Tonights wine Kelly Creek 2005 Zin .. on

However, maybe I’m glad I didn’t video review this. The face I made drinking it would have scared you so badly, you’d have nightmares for a week!  I’ll start with the bouquet first, though. When I put my nose in the glass, I was instantly brought back 20 years. That’s right folks, 20 years. I could see myself playing outside. I had a tiny plastic straw in my mouth, most likely red. At the end of the straw with this sticky, colored, plastic-like goop.  When I blew into the straw, it made a bubble that I could close off the straw-hole and play with for about 30 seconds.  That plastic goop had a very distinct smell.  This wine had that same distinct smell. It was atrocious.  Frankly, I wanted to just open a different bottle. But, my friends, I’m a trooper. And I was bound, and determined, to taste this wine.

So, I take this wine and slowly bring it to my mouth. Unlike most sips, I actually breathe OUT through my nose, rather than inhaling. This should have told me to just stop, and move on.  If I can’t stand the scent/bouquet .. why am I torturing myself?  FOR YOU, damnit!  Sorry, I digress.  The red liquid (I think it was red, I was so turned off by the nose that I didn’t examine the color, at all) entered my mouth and all hope for a nice experience with this wine was gone.

The palate was a complex cross between rubbing alcohol and that same plastic bubble scent. It was nearly “Spit Across The Room” bad.  I asked Robin what she thought, and her comment was “It’s ok.”  Now, sometimes Robin will trooper on and drink it because she doesn’t want to hurt my feelings, saying I picked a loser. Lord, I love that woman, she’s a gem!  I told her that it wasn’t an expensive bottle, nor did I have an affinity for it.  She maintained it was ok.  This is when I thought, perhaps it’s me.  I gave it another hearty sip, and procliamed it a pass. A huge pass. I found positively no redeeming qualities in the wine, what-so-ever. I can’t even bring myself to tell you about the producer, the vineyard, or the spongy black corkesqe thing they used.

So, as I finish my first ever “Blech” review .. I ask for your help.  Post a comment about a wine that you had and couldn’t stand to finish. Maybe it was the same one, or maybe one you’ll warn your friends never to try. Or, perhaps you HAVE had this wine, and wish to post a dissenting opinion.  I would LOVE that, as it’d give me casuse to try it again.  Or, just add a comment so I know you were here!

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7 thoughts on “Kelley Creek 05 Zinfandel

  1. I so wanted to see your face tasting it!! :)

  2. Ok… I am not a wine lover – but this was one of the funniest reviews I have read – sent your blog on to my father who loves wine… enjoy

  3. My unsophisticated Midwestern palate will tolerate pretty much anything wine-wise, even if my Elitist Snot palate thinks it’s trash. I’ve had a Spanish red I didn’t fancy, an Argentinian Malbec that was so thin-bodied it was like drinking water, and many, many kool-aid simple white zinfandels and too-sweet roses.

    The only time I’ve ever come close to spitting something out was a beer. Tasted like soap. I still don’t know exactly what beer it was because it was part of a beer sampling flight that got mixed up.

  4. I haven’t tried this wine–yet–but it’s on my list now, just to see if I agree with you. Lord knows I’ve drank my share of swill…I posted about a bad experience I had yesterday with a Sebastian Roux pinot noir–godawful, at best. Check it out if you like ( Worst part, it was $19.99!!!

  5. Covert greetings, Matt. Thanks for mentioning The Wine Spies in your review. I was surprised to read of your bad experience with this wine. When we reviewed it back in November of 2007, we really enjoyed the wine.

    I can only imagine that you purchased a tainted bottle. Scott Linstrom-Dake, winemaker for Kelley Creek and its parent label, Thumbprint Cellars, makes some of our favorite Sonoma County wines.

    I do recommend that you revisit the wine. If you can, purchase the wine from a different shop.

    Keep up the honest reviews!

    Top Secret regards,

    Agent Red

  6. @Agent Red – Thanks for your comment. I agree I’ll have to give it another shot. I wrote my review, then did some searches on the wine to see if people wrote it up. When I saw Wine Spies had given it high marks, I thought it only fair I qualify my review by saying “Others love it, and I’ll try it again.” I will check around a few other stores to see if I can find it locally, otherwise I’ll order it and have it shipped. Perhaps, it was just a bad bottle.

    @Food Lover – I would love to hear what you think of the wine when you finally get your hands on a bottle. Perhaps I was given the tainted bottle ;)

    @Ines, Thesa and Carrie – Thank you so much for your comments and support. Thesa, I’d love to know what your father drinks, and thinks! Ines, you’ll try a great wine with me, Ms Mojito!! And I’ll promise video reviews next time!

    Thanks everyone!

  7. OH NO! That sounds like a terrible experience. However, I agree that it sounds like you got a bad bottle, based on the flavor profile. Rubbing alcohol and plastic bubble goop, no no no!

    Please try it again and let us know


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