I must say- this wine is intriguing. Normally Zinfandel is relatively deep hued and high in alcohol. This one is pale to medium ruby colored with thin legs that took a while to form. It sports a more modest 13.5% ABV. The nose is spicy with pepper, menthol, clove, dark chocolate, black plum and black raspberry. The palate is dry with sweet, ripe fruit. Medium acidity coupled with medium (-) tannins make for a relatively easygoing mouthfeel. Medium bodied- I get flavors of black raspberry, plum, white and black pepper, blackberry jam and a crescendo of acidity on the back end that is starting to make my jaw water. I did not get that level of acid at the onset but it is certainly prominent on the finish, which is medium in length. I like this non-vintage, old vine wine, it has a smoothness and drinkability that make it hard to put down. The spicy nature of the grape is perfect for my pairing- Middle Eastern fare including Kafta ( a spiced ground Lamb kebab) and Harissa potatoes along with olives and other sundry items. 89 points for this $21 non-vintage bottle makes it a 4 star effort to drink now. Salut….
A deep shade of purple bordering on ruby, this potent Zin (14.9% ABV) has super slow forming legs on the walls of the glass. The nose has medium intensity aromas of blackberry, purple licorice, coffee, star anise, super ripe raspberry (almost candy-like) and baking spice. The palate is dry yet there is evidence off very ripe fruit- blackberry, black raspberry alongside fennel, dill and coffee. Medium acidity and smooth, medium tannins make for a lovely mouthfeel, albeit with some heat evident. The finish is short in length but everything ends at the same point, no lingering acidity/tannins. After a re-taste I get some extra licorice that I was not initially tasting- lovely stuff. I like this $14 bottle that gets 90 points from me and 5 stars. I would pair it with stews and hearty meat dishes, including game. Drink till 2026. Salut….
Medium ruby colored. The nose has medium intensity aromas of black cherry cobbler, black pepper, blackberry and black currant plus some spice box and creamy vanilla. The palate is dry but has ripe fruit that would make one think there is a bit of residual sugar. Medium (-) acidity coupled with medium tannins make for a very smooth mouthfeel. Black fruit flavors coupled with some spice and pepper along with a touch of oak treatment make for a very delicious wine that is medium to full-bodied and has a medium length finish. The 14.5% ABV gets noticed right at the back end but it’s to be expected from this varietal, always picked ripe and yielding big sugar numbers to convert to alcohol. I like this 90 point wine that can be had for $14. It gets 5 stars. I am pairing it with chili, but it would work well with spiced BBQ or chargrilled chicken. Drink till 2025. Salut….
Primitivo is also known as Tribidrag and Crljenak Kasteljanski in Croatia, but more common to us- Zinfandel. This Italian bottle has a deep ruby coloring and thick legs. The nose is pronounced with aromas of black cherry, licorice, charcoal, black pepper, black plum and dark currants. The palate is dry with bracing tannins and a good dose of acidity. There is an astringent and green sensation that is immediate on the attack, downplaying the fruit. When I finally get to the flavors- dark fruit with charred oak notes and licorice. Medium to full bodied it has a medium length finish. It’s a young wine that needs cellaring or decanting/aerating. I am pairing it with spaghetti and meat sauce, probably the best choice for this very dry and tannic red. 88 points from me and for $16 it gets 3 stars. Drink from 2024-2028. Salut….
Medium ruby colored this Zinfandel was amazing. Rich, smooth aromas and flavors of ripe plum, blackberry, blueberry pie and baking spice with a hint of vanilla. Low acidity, medium (-) tannins and a full body lead to a long finish. Amazing value at $15 for this 91 pointer that gets 5 stars. I would drink this in the shorter term with stews, game and hearty pasta dishes with rich red sauces. Salut….
I was tasting wines for a prospective class and wanted to stick to single varietals, the bartender convinced me to try this red blend of Zinfandel, Cab Sav, Merlot, Petite Sirah and Syrah. In one word- Delicious! Medium ruby colored with a slight blue edge it has aromas and flavors of ripe plum, blueberry pie, coconut, charred oak, cracked pepper and allspice. Medium (-) acidity and medium tannins lead to a full bodied, mouth coating experience. A long finish adds to this wine’s appeal and solidifies my score of 91 points. Not bad for a sub $20 effort that gets 5 stars. At 15% ABV, it is obvious the winemaker has used really ripe, sun-drenched grapes to achieve this level of flavor. Yummy stuff to pair with a thick Tomahawk steak or some braised Beef ribs. Drink till 2027. Salut….
Our second wine at the 28th virtual tasting was this Zinfandel that had a smidge of Petite Sirah and Barbera mixed in. It tied as my wine of the night.
Medium ruby colored it’s not as opaque as I was expecting. The nose had tobacco, ripe boysenberry, cherry cola, chocolate covered cherries, black pepper, dark plums and green peppercorns. The palate was dry with low tannins, medium acidity and deliciously smooth flavors of pepper, freeze-dried strawberry, tobacco, dried cherry and raisin. Medium bodied, this wine was lower in alcohol than I was assuming- 14.7% ABV. It’s a lot, but I have seen Zins in the 16% range. A long finish was this wine’s crowning achievement making it a 19 pointer on our grading scale. I would rate it 93 points and for $21 I might have to load up on this 5 star effort. Drink until 2025 with lean red meat dishes. Salut….
Medium ruby colored- this 14.7% ABV Zin has got thick, globby legs in the glass. The nose has pronounced aromas of stewed blackberry, prunes, blueberry compote, walnuts, vanilla, cedar and spice box. I like the tertiary notes of this developing wine. The palate is dry and fully bodied with well integrated tannins and juicy acidity. The flavors are delicious and pronounced as I swirl the nectar around my mouth, sucking air in to boost the flavors. The finish has a touch of heat on it but still shows lovely fruit flavors for a medium length finish. The alcohol is a bit of an unbalanced distraction that will cost a point or two. This $40 wine gets 91 points and 4 stars from me. It is really good all by itself but may pair well with grilled Picanha steaks or roasted duck with a cherry reduction. Drink till 2025. Salut….
Deep garnet colored, this Zinfandel is showing a touch of age. Besides a whiff of alcohol right off the bat- the nose has aromas of stewed blueberry, vanilla, black plum, clove and purple licorice. The palate is dry and tannic with juicy acidity and a full body. The flavors are quite complex- there’s a touch of stewed/cooked fruit showing the wine’s age, plus some oak influence as well as primal fruit still hanging in there. The finish is grippy and the acid really hits the tongue and jaw on the medium length finish. This is not the usual overly extracted and jammy Zin, it has some good fruit and structure and needs a spicy meat dish like middle eastern spiced lamb kofta. 90 points for this $35 wine makes it a 4 star effort. Drink till 2026. Salut….
Smoked beef brisket is a tough pairing- the flavors are so rich and smoky that the wine needs to have spice, body and high levels of alcohol. A Zinfandel seems as close as possible to the perfect match. This one is semi opaque with thick legs showing off its 14.8% ABV. The nose is very aromatic- rich red fruits, spice, black and white pepper alongside toasty oak. The palate is very full bodied with great balance between the rich fruit, medium tannins and medium acidity. Ripe raspberry, redcurrant jam, white pepper and blackberry flavors are all present. It’s not a blockbuster in style but its rich fruit is very enticing. I dig this wine and for $30 it’s a good drop that gets 91 points from me and 5 stars. Drink till 2027. Salut….