Zinfandel suffers, not from a lack of interest or quality, but because of the price of good Zinfandels and their availability, but mostly because of competition (I covered this topic five years ago in my post Eureka . . .). Yup, since August I've only tasted less than a dozen of my first-love red wines, and many of them were deep discount-wines; yea!
It's not because the Zinfandels I've tasted weren't good, with an average rating of 87+ points they shine brightly enough, but once you begin with a varietal-intro into the epiphany of the mystery of wine, one path leads to another; Zinfandel lead to Syrah, and then to Petite Sirah, to Tempranillo, Sangiovese, to Bordeaux, to Cali Cabernet, etcetera, and even to White Wines: Exploration and competing varietals now sets the pace for the explorer (will he ever rest, will he ever come home?).
However, Zinfandel has come full-circle with this fine collection of newly purchased wines; let the tasting begin!
After tasting with various cuisines and alone, the first three Zinfandel wines had one primary and striking difference, that none of them is alike, none have pure "varietalness", but their own wonderfully unique qualities; I was very pleased with the straight-forward focus of the Heitz, the genesis to concluding unraveling complexity of the Ridge, and the sheer roundness of the Wilson's Zinfandel.
Heitz Ink Grade Vineyard 2012 Zinfandel, $23.79-$27.99, 90 points
Ridge Ponzo Vineyard 2013 Zinfandel, $24.64-$28.99, 92 points
Wilson Winery Sonoma County 2013 Zinfandel, $20.39-$23.99, 90 points
Following the first three Zins, these three unique wines with marvelous expressions of the varietal have captivated not only me, but myriads of red wine fans.
The Pagani went from sophisticated subtleties to a trimmed citrus note, while Seghesio's Sonoma competed with more complex Nobel red wines, and finally the great value 3 Ball Zin which mastered the balance of a more typical Cali Zin while avoiding the overemphasis of fruit, alcohol, and simplicity.
Ridge Pagani Ranch 2013 Zinfandel, $31.44-$36.99, 92 points
Seghesio Sonoma County 2013 Zinfandel, $16.99-$21.99, 91 points
3 Ball 2012 Zinfandel, $11.05-$15.99, 88 points
This is why Zinfandel is so much fun, rewarding, and a great partner with many a cuisine, especially comfort food with an edge, think Mexican, supreme pizzas, mac and cheese with peri-peri, etcetera.
Finally, a full-bodied Zin typifying fruit and spices, and all for less than $10.00.
Sebastiani Sonoma County 2012 Zinfandel, $9.99-$18.99, 87 points
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