I have always thought of Zinfandel as the Labrador Retriever of the wine world, because it is a big, juicy, happy tail-waggin’ kind of wine that almost everyone loves. It is incredibly versatile and many Zinfandels are reasonably priced.
Zinfandel is considered California?s red wine grape because it is not well known in the rest of the world. Zinfandel vines were brought to California in the mid 1800s. Zinfandel pairs well with many foods, including grilled salmon, seared Ahi tuna, pizza, hamburgers, spicy pasta dishes and grilled vegetables.
The following seven Zinfandels rocked my world:
2007 Mendocino County $20
This wine is big, plush, sassy, spicy and stylish – think Queen Latifah packed into a black leather dress, eating a slab of warm blackberry pie with her hands and you get the picture. Aromas and flavors of blackberry, raspberry, plum, cocoa and peppery spice abound, all zipped into a balanced, complex mouthfeel. A total steal for $20!
2005 Stealth, Alexander Valley $55
Note the 2005 vintage on this wine – it is showing really well! Generally, Zinfandels aren?t known for their age-ability, but this bad boy is simply gorgeous! Big, graceful and powerful, like Pau Gasol loping down the court, this Zinfandel has what it takes to go the distance. Aromas and flavors of blackberry jam, caramel and pepper delight the senses. A worthy splurge!
2007 Carreras Ranch, Dry Creek Valley $42
As spicy as Lady Gaga’s Rolling Stone Magazine cover shot, this is another rockin’ good Zin from Manzanita Creek! Brown spices, molasses, pepper, plum and citrus set the stage, from the first sniff, through the huge, juicy mouth and on through the finish. Yum!
2008, CA $9
OK, I admit it ? I’m a huge fan of Dancing Bull and Rancho Zabaco wines, because they consistently make excellent, varietally correct wines at bargain prices and this Zin is no exception to the rule. One sniff brought images of blackberry pie with vanilla ice cream, sprinkled with cinnamon and black pepper to mind and made my mouth water. These aromas continue as flavors with good intensity and linger through the finish. Buy some. Buy some now!
2007 Liar?s Dice, Sonoma County $21
This tasty Zin should come with a warning label because it is entirely too easy to drink! Aromas of ripe plum, blackberry and black cherry are enhanced by a pinch of peppery spice. The mouth is luscious and full bodied and chock full of black fruit and spice flavors. Oh Yeah!
2007 Reeves Vineyard, El Dorado $22
Wow! This pretty Zin packs a plethora of pepper! Aromas of white and black pepper, raspberry and blackberry with a hint of rose petals lure the taster into a juicy mouthful of consistent flavors. Absolutely mouthwatering!
2007 El Dorado $15
Juicy raspberry, cherry, orange peel, rose petals and pepper play nicely together in the nose and in the layered, medium bodied silky mouth. Simply gorgeous, and a great price too! Delicious!