Zanfandel WineOver 200 wineries poured Zinfandel wine at the Zinfandel Grand Tasting held this past Saturday at the Concourse in San Francisco. We were lucky enough to be invited to the early session exclusively for the wine trade and media, which includes wine bloggers. The doors opened at 10 am and we spent the next two and a half hours tasting a lot of Zinfandel in search of the best wines. There were four of us who teamed up and together we tasted 100 plus Zinfandel wines. With our trusty spit cups in hand, we embarked on a mission to find the best Zinfandel wine available for 2013.
The majority of Zinfandel wines poured at the tasting were well above the $20 mark. We tasted many of these and found several to be outstanding like those from Saddleback, JC Cellars, Shale Oak, and Dane Cellars. We also felt that there were fewer fruit bombs and port-like Zinfandels than previous tastings. It looks like winemakers are getting back to making balanced wines that are more restrained and food friendly.
Here is what we liked in the bargain category of Zinfandel wine. If I have seen the wine at a wine retailer, I have listed the store and price.
- Ancient Peaks 2010 Zinfandel Paso Robles – $17, 87 Points
- Artezin 2011 Mendocino County Zinfandel – $18, 87 Points
- Brazin Cellars Old Vine Zinfandel Lodi – BevMo $12, 86 Points
- Bota Box 2011 California Zinfandel 3 Liter for $20.
This wine is surprisingly good for boxed wine. It holds the equivalent of four bottles of wine and that figures out to $5 per bottle. It is good for wine folks on a tight budget who want to drink maybe a glass or two a day. The wine in the collapsing bag can last up to three weeks. The wine is sold at Whole Foods stores as well as BevMo. 85 Points
- Carol Shelton 2009 Wild Thing Old Vines Mendocino – $19, 90 Points
- Lange Twins 2010 Lodi Zinfandel – $16, 86 Points
- Naked Wines 2011 Stephen Millier Angels Reserve – $11, 88 Points
This is a very new and unique wine company where the members who purchase wines are known as Angels. Go to the Naked Wine Website to see how to become a member. Two of our Vintage Wine Tasters are Angels and buy wine from Naked Wine. Thus far, they have been very happy with their purchases.
- Shannon Ridge 2010 Wrangler Red – Some Safeway stores and BevMo – $15, 88 Points
Two wines just over $20 that are both excellent values
- Cedarville 2010 Zinfandel Fair Play – $22, 91 Points
I would match this up with any wine at the tasting. This 2010 is so flavorful and beautiful it is hard to image that it sells at this price. Many Zinfandel wines that we tasted priced above $40 were no match for this wonderful-tasting Zin.
- Jelly Jar 2010 Old Vine Zinfandel Lake county – $22 KL Wines, 90 Points
- Gregory Graham 2010 Red Hills Zinfandel – $24, 90 Points
Please keep in mind that we only tasted about one third of the wines that were available for tasting. We skipped the ones we know and love and concentrated on new wineries and Zins we had not tasted within the past year. By 1 pm, our palates were fatigued enough to call it a day.