Well, today I have an ascending list (in quality) of Zinfandels for you, and you can make of it what you will, but I will end with a very good Zinfandel.
Sadly, I'm just giving you a quantitative score which was my cursory impression of most of these wines, and though some will require color, aroma, body, acidity, degree of tannin, flavors, and finish, I just didn't have time. So, make of it what you will.
1. Renwood 2005 old Vine Zinfandel $18.00, 74 points.
2. Artezin mendocino County 2007 Zinfandel, $14.99, 79 points
3. Ravenswood Vintner's Blend 2007 Zinfandel, $7.64, 79 points.
The above three wine I don't recommend, but if price is your major concern, I would go with the Ravenswood.
4. Joel Gott 2008 California Zinfandel, $12.74, 81 points.
5. Rancho Zabaco Sonoma 2007 Zinfandel ,$13.99, 81 points.
6. A.Mano 2007 Primativo (Italian Zin), $8.99, 81 points.
Concerning the above three Zinfandels, I remain neutral, but having tasted once I will probably not try again, but if price is your issue, A.Mano would be my choice.
7.Rancho Zabaco Reserve Dry Creek 2007 Zinfandel, $17.99, 87 points is complex and well structured.
8. Quivira Dry Creek 2006 Zinfandel, $18.99, 86 points, is fruit-forward, having a nice aroma, and a fair spice finish.
9. Ridge Three Valleys 2006 Zinfandel Red Wine by definition , $22.99 86 points, has a nice aroma, and a fair finish, and is palate pleasant, but a bit pricey. 74% Zinfandel makes this just shy of being labeled Zinfandel, and more properly a "Red wine."
10. Charles Krug St Helena Napa Valley 2007 Zinfandel, $18.69 89 points is a good value wine, with a sweet aroma, textually dense and rich, and having a long finish; there seemed to be an odd flavor, an imbalance that held me back from awarding this an exceptional rating.
These last four Zinfandels are all good wines, but for my money I tend toward the Rancho Zabaco Reserve.
Now for the hands-down best Zinfandel of this report, it is the cousin of the #9 on my list.
11. Ridge Paso Robles 2007 Zinfandel , $27.99, 92 points, is the stand-out Zinfandel: deep red color, beautiful aroma, wild bramble berries, and unlike the typical (Is there any typical Zin?) Paso Robles, this Ridge doesn't know anything about being smooth or mellow. This briary Zin has the longest black peppery spice finish of any wine I've tried. This wine pairs well with peppered lamb, Tacos, or barbecue cuisine. I sipped on my first glass of this 100% Zinfandel for an hour an enjoyed every sip and every taste.
Nicholas Ponomareff, described the Ridge (Paso Robles “Pass of Oaks”) as "very appealing. . . very highly recommended."
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