Six Delicious Zinfandel Wines under $20

Over the last couple of months I have tasted several Zinfandel wines. My Zin-tasting research was to choose the wines for the Vintage Wine Tasters blind tasting. I compared eleven different Zinfandel wines, selecting six delicious wines for the tasting.

Here are the wines we tasted and in the order of preference. We also list the cost and where we purchased the Zinfandel wines.

Six delicious Zinfandel wines – under $20

Results of Zinfandel Blind Tasting

  1. 2014 Graziano Zinfandel Mendocino – Costco Redwood City $11.99
  2. 2016 Pedroncelli Mother Clone   – Weimax Wines $15.99 
  3. 2015 Carol Shelton Wild Thing Zinfandel Mendocino – Safeway $14.20 (Six-Pack Price)
  4. 2015 Renwood Old Vine Zinfandel Amador – Safeway $13.70 (Six- Pack Price) 
  5. 2014 Easton Amador County Zinfandel – KL Wines $15.95 
  6. 2016 Quivira Dry Creek Valley – Costco $17.99 

The blind tasting results indicate all of these wines are excellent and worthy of the title of Best Buy wines. In our blind-tasting events, this is the closest tasting we’ve had in recent history. Very little separated the first from the sixth-place wine. All of these Zins are in the medium-bodied category, with solid fruit flavors that characterize Zinfandels. There are no fruit bombs or over-the-top ripe wines. These are excellent food wines; you would be happy buying and drinking any one of these six.

The Graziano Zinfandel is somewhat of a surprise winner. Graziano is a famous wine family and vineyard in Mendocino. Graziano produces small quantities of wine that are sold mostly out of its tasting room. I purchased the wine at the Redwood City Costco. Neither Foster City nor the Airport Costco in San Bruno have the Graziano Zinfandel in stock. This is most likely a one-time deal. I hope it is still available. At $12, this Zinfandel is an incredible wine steal.

The Graziano tasting room is in Hopland, CA, about 30 miles north of Healdsburg. It is certainly worth a trip to Hopland to find a number of fantastic family-owned wineries. See this list of wineries to visit.

Graziano tasting room in Hopland, CA – Mendocino County

The Pedroncelli Mother Clone Zinfandel has been a fixture at the Weimax Wine shop in Burlingame for a long time. Proprietor Gerald touts this Zinfandel as a Best Buy. Many of his customers buy the Mother Clone Zinfandel by the case. Pedroncelli is in the Dry Creek Valley near Geyersville, CA. Pedroncelli is family owned and has a starting date of 1927. It is a terrific winery to visit.

Mother Clone Vineyard – Pedroncelli

Carol Shelton Wild Thing Zin, like the Graziano Zinfandel, is from Mendocino County near Hopland. This area of Mendocino is a wine grower’s paradise. Watch closely, as this area is about to shine in the world of wine. I also tasted two other terrific Mendocino Zinfandels: The Steele Old Vine Zinfandel ($18.99 at Weimax) and the 2016 Artizen Mendocino ($11.99 at the six-pack price at Safeway).

Zinfandel and Food

We served delicious smokey pulled pork sandwiches. Zinfandel pairs very well with pulled pork. I also love a pesto pasta or pizza with Zinfandel.

Comments

  1. You’ve rounded several of the Zins I regularly buy (#2-#5). These are food-friendly wines that I pair with just about anything grilled; Tri-tip is a favorite. There many other good Zins are close to these in profile. Sobon comes to mind and there are others from the Shenandoah Valley as well. It must have been hard to narrow it down to six.

    • Joe Becerra says

      Another aspect of the tasting was to compare Zinfandel by wine regions. I like Amador, Mendocino, and Dry Creek. I ended up with two for each region. For Amador, I also tried two Sobon Zins, Rocky Top and Fiddletown. I like them both but they were not quite as good as the two I selected. Easton is a favorite. Another great Zinfandel is Cedarville. It is from El Dorado and the Fair Play AVA. The cost is $19.99 at Weimax. You must try it.
      Joe

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