March 10, 2020|In Winery Spotlight, Wines

The Bogle Legacy: The Bogle Brothers & Old Vine Zinfandel

Bottle of wine sitting on table alongside cheese

We all know how loved Bogle Chardonnay is – whether it be the classic, the Phantom or the Reserve, these guys knock it out of the park vintage after vintage, but these Chardonnay-kings have more arrows in their quiver.

Dhall & Nash stocks a huge range of Bogle wines. For the whites, we have all three kinds of Bogle Chardonnay (don’t worry guys, we’ll keep them comin’) as well as Chenin Blanc and the kiwi-fave Sauvignon Blanc. We also stock a significant number of their quaffable reds – Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Merlot and Zinfandel. Often when presented to avid Bogle Chardonnay fans, we get the same excited reaction: “Wow, I had no idea they made more varieties!” So we’re here to tell you, YES! Bogle goes so much further than their (buttery, delicious) chardonnays. These guys are the Californian KINGS of both reds and whites. And perhaps the best of this lineup to illustrate this fact is the Old Vine Zinfandel…

Bogle Vineyards Old Vine Zinfandel

Old grape vines in vineyard

Taking a detour from the classic Bogle label that we know and love is the Old Vine Zinfandel. Sitting somewhere in the middle of the ‘moody scale’ (their usual wholesome composition on one end, their downright spooky phantom labels on the other) this wine immediately lets you know it means business from the second you lay eyes on it. With a dark label and a smudgy charcoal drawing depicting the old vines from which it grew, you know you’re in for a compelling drop.

For years, Bogle winemakers have sought out vines ranging in age from an astonishing 60 to 80 years old for the Old Vine Zinfandel. These gnarly head-trained and dry farmed pioneers produce low yields of small, concentrated clusters of fruit, producing incredibly intense and flavourful wines.

Zinfandel as a whole has really found itself at home in California. Originally brought over from Europe in the 1820’s, it creates ‘White Zinfandel’ wines (which tend to be rosés on the sweeter end of the scale) and juicy reds that are most often characterized by their “spice”. This wine from Bogle is no exception. On the nose, juniper, black pepper and spicy nutmeg awaken the senses. Garnets glitter in the glass, while flavours of cranberries and raspberries glisten on the palate. Lively ruby red fruits catch your fancy, all leading to a full and round finish after aging in 2-year-old American oak for 14 months. Hints of marionberry pie and baking spices complete the wine, with a long and lingering finish.

And for our friends out there who have to be a bit more careful – you’ll be pleased to know this wine is gluten-free and vegan-friendly!

If you don’t want to take our word for it, just take a look at any number of the critics in recent years who’ve given it 90+ point scores. The 2015 vintage, for example, was rated #1 Best Buy for 2018 in Wine Enthusiast’s ‘Top 100 Best Buys’ with critic Jim Gordon stating:

“Another great value from Bogle, this wine is very polished and smooth. Blackberry and blueberry flavors abound on the full-bodied palate, with fine-grained tannins. There are no rough edges, just wonderful fruitiness and light salt-and-pepper spices.”

The Bogle Brothers

Bogle is sixth-generation family owned, which for a winery of its size and repute is a feat in and of itself. These days it is run by siblings Warren, Jody and Ryan. In our last blog, we spoke with Jody Bogle, which you can take a look at here. But today, let’s take a look at the brothers.

All three of the siblings came back to the Bogle homestead in the late 1990’s after their father passed away. Jody said, “we all just immediately came back and circled the wagons and started working with mom.”

Warren Bogle is President and Vineyard Director for Bogle. Of the siblings, he is the one that everyone knew would return to the vines and follow in his family’s footsteps. He oversees the vineyard operations and tends to all 1,900 acres of vineyards. Warren is 2 years younger than Jody, and upon speaking to her, she had high praise for him. “Warren came back when my father passed and he took over what my father had been doing, which was managing the vines. Warren really had no desire to do anything but to come back and farm. He didn’t want to do it quite as young as he had to – he came back and took over at the age of 21, all the vineyards we had. So this coming vintage will be his 22nd vintage, which is remarkable – he’s done a remarkable job.”

Ryan is the youngest of the siblings and is the Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. When their father passed away, he was still in high school and so it was a bit different for him. Whilst Warren was passionate about building the business and continuing the family legacy even whilst it was still fledgling, Ryan grew up seeing a business that was beginning to thrive, so even though his head was good for numbers he knew it made sense for him to end up back there. Jody said “Ryan, when he went away to school, knew he would always end up back at the business at some point. He’s 7 years younger than me, so he grew up in a house where the business was established. The offices were still in our house which was very little but then he saw the building of the tasting room and the building of the office building and the winery expand so he actually grew up in a business that was quite a bit more developed. I think he always knew what his affinity was, he was always very good with numbers and the business sense of things so I think he hung out for as long as he could, you know playing around as the youngest of four will do, and then did come back”.

All three of the Bogle siblings like to get together every couple of months and do a tasting. They line their wines up in a blind tasting alongside competitors wines at a similar price point. Along with the winemakers, they all note down which wines are showing the best and the worst and why. They ask what notes are showing and if that’s desirable and if it is, how do they ensure that quality is instilled into their own wines? Sometimes they find they’ve been unanimously placing their own wines at the top of the list, and other times they’re nearer the bottom, but they see this as an opportunity for improvement and are constantly striving to make sure that even blind, they all still favour the flavours of their own Bogle brand.

Bogle Old Vine Zinfandel Bottle Shot

2017 Bogle Old Vine Zinfandel
“It’s sweetly fruited and inviting on the nose showing blackberry, plum jam, thyme, vanilla bean and cedar characters. The palate delivers succulent fruit intensity and rounded mouthfeel, wonderfully complemented by velvety texture and supple tannins. Gorgeously flavoursome and smooth.”
Sam Kim, Wine Orbit (93 points)