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Wine of the week: Four Vines 2010 'The Sophisticate' Sonoma County Zinfandel

Alex Cose aims to make killer zinfandel, and he goes by the "second glass" rule.

If someone wants another pour, the winemaker of Four Vines figures he's done his job right.

While others were involved in making this wine, Cose has his fingerprints all over our wine-of-the-week winner -- the Four Vines, 2010 The Sophisticate, Sonoma County Zinfandel at $25. And yes, it's a "second glass" zin.

"The house style is fruit-driven," Cose said. "The No. 1 priority is no 'prune' notes . . . I believe the overripe prune wine does not satisfy the rule."

The Four Vine is a bossy zin with concentrated blackberry bramble fruit. It's briary, with notes of black cherry, licorice and cracked black pepper, but it also has good acid and ends with a tangy finish.

"The philosophy is simply presenting the wine in a beautiful, food-friendly state," Cose said. "To provide the muscle expected in zin circles with the restrain of good craftsmanship."

Four Vines is one of the brands produced by the Purple Wine Co. in Graton. Cose has worked for the company for the past 10 years, and he finds zin fascinating because, he said, it has a range of appreciation.

"It has a dedicated high-end, big-wine culture, a low-end fruity quaffer, and a blended culture that does not care if it's called zin or not," Cose said. "That consumer wants the bramble fruit with a very full, long mouth-feel. I think it has grown, just not necessarily under the title of zin."

Cose worked at Joseph Phelps Vineyards in St. Helena and Peter Michael Winery in Calistoga before joining the Purple Wine Co. in 2002.

What does he tell the uninitiated about zin?


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