It is Zinfandel Time

Zinfandel time and recommended wines
It is Zinfandel Time

January is Zinfandel Time. The organization that goes by the name of ZAP (Zinfandel Advocate & Producers), for over the past 20 years has celebrated Zinfandel in January. COVID will prevent this celebration to happen with live tasting and dining events this year. However, we can all celebrate Zinfandel with these excellent Zinfandel wines.

Over the last two weeks, the Vintage Wine Tasters have been tasting many bottles of Zinfandel wine. Zinfandel from all parts of California, both Old Vine and new growth Zinfandels. All in all, we tasted 19 wines. Here are the ones we recommend you purchase and drink now.

Recommended Zinfandel wines under $20

  • 2016 St Francis Old Vine Sonoma Zinfandel – A robust Zinfandel with deep plum characteristics. $14 to $18 at many markets, including Costco.
  • 2016 Artezin Old Vine Mendocino Zinfandel –  A delight to drink and has the ability to match a range of dishes; made by the Hess winery. $13 at Total Wine
  • 2016 Dry Creek Vineyards Heritage Zinfandel Dry Creek – Beautiful example of a well-made Zin from the Dry Creek AVA. Excellently balanced with Zin flavors. $15 – $18 at many stores, including Costco and Total Wine
  • 2018 Ancient Peaks Zinfandel –  Smooth, fruity, easy-drinking Zinfandel from the Paso Robles region. $13.49 at Total Wine
  • 2018 Sobon Rocky Top Amador County – An old standby for the Vintage Wine Tasters. The perfect pizza wine, tasty and mellow. $13.49 at Total Wine; $14 at Mollie Stones
  • 2016 Bella Grace Old Vine Zinfandel – An outstanding and extraordinary Zinfandel from Amador County from 100 year-old vines. $19.34 at Total Wine
  • 2017 Bogle Vineyards Old Vine Zinfandel – About the best Zin you can get for under $10, found in many grocery markets
  • 2018 Renwood Old Vine Zinfandel – A solid Zin, give it some breathing time. From some well-over 100 year-old vines in Amador County. $18 at many grocery markets.
  • 2014 White Oak Zinfandel Alexander Valley – A great wine bargain at the Grocery Outlet stores for $10

Recommended “Splurge” Zinfandel wines

These wines are for special Zinfandel occasions. Give one a try if you have the opportunity.

January is Zinfandel month
Splurge wines tasted by some of the Vintage Wine Tasters
  • 2018 Turley Wine Cellars Old Vine Zinfandel California – Deep-flavored Zin. $34 at the Jacksonville Inn wine shop
  • 2017 Tobin James French Camp Zinfandel – The nose is jammy with some spice, and the aftertaste is smooth and lasting. $32 at the Tobin James winery.
  • 2010 Rockwall Monte Rosso Zinfandel – “Unbelievable wine.” – Sorry, but no longer available.
  • 2015 Croad Willow Creek (Paso Robles) – Smooth, very fruity and somewhat sweet. Purchased at the winery, $44
  • 2017 Turley Pesenti Vineyard, Paso Robles.  (Pesenti Vineyard was planted in the 1920’s). Took a while to open up after the pour. A little dry at first, but fruity and tangy. Delicious!

Croatia Zinfandel

Vintage Taster Bruce found a Croatian wine at Weimax Wines in Burlingame. Croatia is believed to be the origin of the Zinfandel grape. “From Croatia’s Peljesac Peninsula. It’s made entirely of Plavac Mali, which is said to be Zinfandel. Tea-like spice, and dry, light tannin.” So interesting to taste a wine with this historic background.


  1. Bob Drucker says

    Where can you buy the Rafanelli Zin?

    • Joe Becerra says

      One our guy’s daughter and son-in-law belong to Rafanelli. I think that is the only way you can buy the wine. Maybe you should try and get on their mailing list. Cheers, Joe

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