I like zinfandel wine, especially California Zinfandel. I wouldn’t say I was a zinphomaniac or anything like that, but when I fire up the barbie, it’s my go-to red. It pairs well with ribs, chicken, lamb, a juicy rib-eye and marinara sauced pasta. Zin’s typical flavors and aromas are of blackberry, raspberry, boysenberry and cherry, laced with black pepper, cloves, anise and herbs. It’s grown in all of California’s appellations and expresses the essence of each region. It can be made in a blush style or picked early to make a light, spicy berry-flavored red or harvested later to produce a full-bodied rich wine. Zinfandel, in my opinion, is the best value red wine in the marketplace. Your favorite zin will be based on where it’s grown, the altitude, the clone used, the age of the vines, the sugar at harvest, weather conditions, vineyard maintenance, the yeast and fermentation process, oak barrels used and the winemakers’ whims. There are excellent zinfandels sale priced under $15 (see below) and many 90-plus pointers in the $20 range. What red wines are that complex, at that price? Such a deal.
Zinfandel Advocates & Producers is a nonprofit association that organizes seminars, educational programs and tastings at wineries and other settings to explain the uniqueness of the zinfandel grape. The Navigator and I joined ZAP in 1994 and went to the Zinfandel Experience at Fort Mason in San Francisco. It’s the largest single varietal tasting of its kind and is held every year in January. It’s an amazing event with hundreds of wineries pouring just zinfandel. This year, a seminar called Zinfandel Stories from Sonoma County will be held Aug. 12 at Cline Cellars with 50 wineries pouring. In September the seminar moves to Napa Valley and in November on to Lodi. If you love zinfandel, visit zinfandel.org to learn more about ZAP, the latest research, find upcoming events in your area and connect with the 300-plus “producer” members and be one of the 5,000-plus “advocates” or consumers. Think about it. You’ll be “zinfully” thankful.
Amador, Lodi, Sonoma and Paso Robles
I bought four Costco 2015 Zinfandels, each under $14. I thought, “perfect for a regional zin tasting for Mother’s Day.” The tasting team barbecued, I opened wine and the Navigator soaked her toes in the hot tub. The Amador Terra d Oro, the Lodi OZV, the Sonoma St. Francis and the Paso Robles Peachy Canyon were all delicious, yet all very different. We tasted before the meal and with the chicken and tri-tip; all four were winners. The Paso Robles Peachy Canyon “Westside” just narrowly edged out the others. OK, maybe I’m a closet Zinphomaniac. Yes, I do love zinfandel. Cheers!
wine, wine line, russ winton, wine tasting, wine column, reds, whites, vino