Zinfandel is grown in over 10 percent of California vineyards. DNA analysis has revealed that it is genetically equivalent to the Croatian grape Crljenak Kaštelanski, as well as to the Primitivo variety traditionally grown in Apulia (the "heel" of Italy). The grape found its way to the United States in the mid-19th century. Depending on what area of California the grape is grown, there are discernable differences in the resulting wine. Red berry fruit flavors, especially raspberry, predominate in wines from cooler areas, whereas blackberry and pepper, and to some degree anise, notes are more common in wines made in warmer areas. “Bramble”, which describes the combination of raspberry and cedar, is a highly desirable quality of Zins from the cooler areas. The warmer areas tend to produce fruity and spicy wines up to and including the “fruit bombs”.
2013 Artezin Zinfandel, Mendocino County
List price 15.00; Our price 11.99
This wine shows raspberry and loganberry fruit alongside the classic Zinfandel spice character. It is plush and round, with fine grain tannins and a decidedly long finish. Wine Enthusiast gave this wine a 91-point rating: "A well-made and full bodied wine, this has generous helpings of succulent blackberry and boysenberry flavors, with a firm texture of tannins and acidity to balance out all that richness. It smells fresh and fruity, tastes juicy and crisp, and seems to gain depth with repeated sips." 85% Zinfandel, 10% Petite Sirah, 5% Carignan
2012 Old Oak Zinfandel, Alexander Valley , Sonoma County
List price 24.00; Our price 19.99
The Old Oak was aged in mostly stainless steel tanks while the Petite Sirah was aged in oak barrels which gives the wine an oak essence, and brings forth flavors such as red plums and black cherries. It is excellent as a before dinner cocktail or with pretty much anything hot off the grill. The blend of 83% Zinfandel & 17% Petite Sirah won a Gold Medal at the Pacific Rim Wine Competition.
2011 Terra d’Oro Zinfandel, Amador County
List price 17.00; Our price 13.99
This savory Zinfandel displays vibrant aromas of spicy clove and big, generous fruit with hints of vanilla. An abundance of plums and flavors of juicy blackberries generates a round mouth-feel of well-integrated tannins on the finish. The wine is rich and powerful, and very well-balanced.
2014 Ancient Peaks Zinfandel. Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo Co.
List price 20.00; Our price 16.99
The wine opens exuberantly with aromas of raspberry and boysenberry, and high-toned oak. The palate is juicy and jammy with luscious flavors of blackberry, black cherry and vanilla cream. A dash of black pepper lingers on a clean, well balanced finish.
2014 Chacewater Zinfandel, Sierra Foothills, Lake County
List price 20.00; Our price 15.75
This big jammy Zin is packed with strawberry, red cherry, white pepper and is laced with smoky vanilla oak. The lush mid-palate shows berry character, finishing with expansive fruit, lingering sweet oak and complex ripeness.
2013 Michael-David Zinfandel, “Lust”, Lodi, San Joaquin Co.
List price 40.00; Our price 29.99
The 2013 Zinfandel Lust is a whopper (16.9% natural alcohol), but with pure, rich, full-bodied black cherry fruit, incense, and a touch of toasty oak. It is concentrated, thick and juicy. This is a big, powerful, heady wine that, remarkably, is not the least bit hot or overripe in spite of rather incredible levels of potency. Drink it over the next 7-8 years. Robert Parker gives it a 93-point rating.
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