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Give me liberty or give me Zin


CtznCane
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If Cabernet is the French King of the Red's then perhaps Zinfandel should be its American counterpart. Styles range from Peppery to Jammy and run the gamut. What are everyone's favorites?

It is sometimes said that in California Zin's one looks to the 5 R's. The 2 R's I'm most familiar with Zin wise are Ridge and Rosenblum. I know too there is Ravenswood, Renswood and I'm not sure what/if the fiifth R is. Call it predjudice or whatever you might say, but as to Zinfandel or any other red wine my own hierarchy is Ridge and then everything else.

Second to Ridge my favorite is Zin Alley. Zin Alley is a small winery in the Paso Robles area run by a personal yet eccentric character named Frank Nerelli who is both passionate and charming. He produces an ultra-premium Zin and a Zin Port, both of which in my humble opinion are well worth the price. ($40 each).

I want to know others preference for zins. One other winery which I have not yet tried yet that has been highly recommended is Dover Canyon which is also in that area, and I know Mary from there posts here as well. Beyond Ridge which stands alone, I am feeling more and more like PasoRobles is God's Country when it comes to Zin.

I should mention too that there is a small winery there called "Bella Luna" I believe which produces a marvelous blend of Sangiovese and Zin called "Fighter Pilot Red" as well which is high on my list.

Any other Zin recomendations? Mary, what about Dover Canyon's zin? I was told they produce some fine ones.

Charles aka CtznCane

Charles a food and wine addict - "Just as magic can be black or white, so can addictions be good, bad or neither. As long as a habit enslaves it makes the grade, it need not be sinful as well." - Victor Mollo

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The fifth is Rabbit Ridge, although I don't think RR wines are in the same class as the other 4 Rs. I'd rather consider the fifth R to be A. Rafanelli, which makes a somewhat hard to find but reasonably priced and very California-style zinfandel. Other ones to try include Dashe (made in the same warehouse facility as Rosenblum), Storybook, Turley (huuuuuge zins with lots of jammy flavor and alcohol), and Robert Biale. Of course, there are hundreds of Zin producers.

You might want to check out ZAP, which is an organization dedicated to Zinfandel.

allison

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Charles, how did you know I would check in on this thread? :hmmm:

A few more notes on ZinAlley . . . They only produce 450 cases a year, so snap it up if you can. Frank Nerelli is also part of the Pesenti Vineyard family, and was the last Pesenti winemaker before the old vine zinfandel vineyard was sold to Turley in 1999. (That's Larry Turley, of Turley Zin fame. Turley has renovated the winery and tasting room on the property, and winemaker Ehran Jordan splits his time between Napa and Paso Robles.) Frank's zinfandel vineyard is dryfarmed and headtrained, and very near the original Pesenti vineyard. It is, I'd like to add, extremely healthy and well-kept, and Frank knows each of his vines as well as he knows his children. The Bella Luna is also excellent, and I am hoping to try their wines again tonight at our annual vintner's barbecue!

Rabbit Ridge is a large production winery, and they have recently relocated to Paso Robles. Ridge, Rosenblum and Ravenswood also buy zinfandel from Paso Robles . . . Zins 'R' Us!

Which brings us to little Dover Canyon. Although slightly larger than ZinAlley, we are, at only 2500 cases, still a wee winery. (Would that be a weenerie?) :laugh:

We specialize in Zins and Rhones, and we do small releases of vineyard designate wines. Our releases are generally 100 to 300 cases. One of my personal favorites, well they're all my personal favorites, but the one I want to mention here is the Benito Dusi Old Vine Zinfandel. We buy old vine zin each year from Benito Dusi--the same old vine zinfandel sold to Ridge for their Paso label.

Beni is such a character. This is how business is done the old Paso way: Beni never presents us with a weight tag or an invoice for the fruit. We agree verbally on a price and I just set some funds aside for him until he's ready, which is usually in January. On a rainy winter weekend after harvest, he'll have his vineyard crew prepare pans and pans of fresh enchiladas, and when they're ready, he calls us and brings some enchiladas by in exchange for his check. The exchange also involves drinking several bottles of zinfandel. . .

I'm glad you think Paso is God's Country, because I do, too.

Edited by DoverCanyon (log)

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Mary Baker

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Thanks for the recomendation and we will be sure to come try your wines next time we are down there. My SO's brother did the door handles for Frank's winery, the ones that are like a zinfandel vine.

Bella Luna's FIghter Pilot Red which is a blend of Sangiovese and ZIn does use Frank's zinfandel grapes.

I had a bad experience last time down at Turley's Tasting room. I doubt that I will go back there either. Their "White Coat" Rousanne was quite nice. Their Zins though I don't feel were worth the price. I don't know how others feel but when I get treated shabbily (and down right rudely there) at a tatsting room they will certainly not get any of my money.

Paso Robles is a booming wine region and deservedly so. The Far Out Wineries are quite interesting. Of the grapes grown there it is excellent for ZInfandel and if I am not mistaken for some of the White Rhone varieties (Rousanne/Marsanne) as well. Not to mention I've had some nice Pinot Noir from Opolo Vineyards and Cabernet Franc from the Paso region as well.

Charles a food and wine addict - "Just as magic can be black or white, so can addictions be good, bad or neither. As long as a habit enslaves it makes the grade, it need not be sinful as well." - Victor Mollo

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I've grown away from zinfandel as the trend has been to jack up the alcohol, jack up the oak, and jack up the extraction. If I wan't port, I'll buy port.

But there are some producers who still make zinfandel in a food-friendly style. In addition to Ridge (which is slowly going the way of a behemoth style IMO), I like Nalle and Scherrer. I've really stopped buying everybody else.

We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

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  • 6 years later...

Tried my first zin on the weekend and loved it....Seven Deadly Zins from California. WOW! One of my new faves and am thinking I need to run out and try more of this grape. Being from northern BC, our selection is not the greatest, but I am going to see if I can find any of the recommended wines mentioned above.

Edited by newbie (log)
A truly destitute man is not one without riches, but the poor wretch who has never partaken of lobster. - anonymous
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I'm so missing zin! I really took it for granted being able to pick up a decent bottle of zin just about anywhere in San Francisco. Now in Australia, it's just not something readily available. No doubt I will return with a few bottles when I visit SF.

I really enjoy Rosenblum zin. There was a San Francisco Appellation a few years back that was fantastic.

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Carlisle.. makes a really excellent stuff. Rafanelli is top notch along with his neighbor Talty .. Scherrer Old vine is very nice.

I like this Dry creek stuff,, Qiveria, Mills Creek and Dry Creek vineyards also

You cant rule out Bella and Mozzocco.. as was stated earlier

If you ever get a chance try George Hendrys stuff.. Primativo can be an interesting try

Ridge and Neal ( QPR ) are nice too

Bout all I drink

Its good to have Morels

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Tried my first zin on the weekend and loved it....Seven Deadly Zins from California. WOW! One of my new faves and am thinking I need to run out and try more of this grape. Being from northern BC, our selection is not the greatest, but I am going to see if I can find any of the recommended wines mentioned above.

That's also our goto red when we want a big reasonably priced red. Costco carries it for around $13 a bottle. Fantastic stuff.

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Some of the best Zin I have ever had was from Livermore Valley Cellars. A very small producer and one of the oldest wineries in the region. The death of the founder and the ensuing family dispute over the future of the winery caused them to lose their liquor license, and as far as I know, they still have not re-opened their doors. A shame really because they made some of the best wines and very reasonably priced. I still have a couple of cases and break out a bottle on special occasions.

Mark

My eG Food Blog

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We were in Sonoma County last summer and spent a day in the Dry Creek area. There is a neighborhood up there called "Rockpile" that produces some wonderful Zins. Mauritson Winery comes to mind.

Close to the coast and growing in a micro-geologic outcropping. Yummy.

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Tried my first zin on the weekend and loved it....Seven Deadly Zins from California. WOW! One of my new faves and am thinking I need to run out and try more of this grape. Being from northern BC, our selection is not the greatest, but I am going to see if I can find any of the recommended wines mentioned above.

That's also our goto red when we want a big reasonably priced red. Costco carries it for around $13 a bottle. Fantastic stuff.

$13 a bottle....just bought it at the liquor store and it cost me $24.99. Oh to be able to buy wine at Costco, one of my favorite things about visiting the states!

A truly destitute man is not one without riches, but the poor wretch who has never partaken of lobster. - anonymous
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  • 6 months later...

Tried my first zin on the weekend and loved it....Seven Deadly Zins from California. WOW! One of my new faves and am thinking I need to run out and try more of this grape. Being from northern BC, our selection is not the greatest, but I am going to see if I can find any of the recommended wines mentioned above.

I was hoping that someone would mention this wine. It was what I drank for an introduction to Zin's and it is my "go to" wine when I want or need a zin.

I love it!

"I eat fat back, because bacon is too lean"

-overheard from a 105 year old man

"The only time to eat diet food is while waiting for the steak to cook" - Julia Child

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A couple of labels I enjoy beyond the (for me) 3 Rs:

Earthquake Zin

Gnarly Head Old Vine Zin

Someone mentioned Pesenti up-thread. I remember when you could drive to Templeton and buy their jug zin to use as your everyday table wine. It was a good dry zin. It was a sad day when they decided to stop selling it.

Slightly off topic: I don't know how widely sold it is but Galleano of Mira Loma, California made a vintage zinfandel port that took a gold medal at the Orange County Fair. A bottle of that went with me on vacation this year.

Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

;

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Slightly off topic: I don't know how widely sold it is but Galleano of Mira Loma, California made a vintage zinfandel port that took a gold medal at the Orange County Fair. A bottle of that went with me on vacation this year.

As a lover of both zin and port I will have to look for this. Glad to see this topic pop up at this time of year; I think zin is the only proper wine to have with turkey on Thanksgiving.

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Just back from Total Wine with a bottle of Rosenblum Paso Robles zin to go with dinner tomorrow night. Will be dining out with my FIL and we are both zin drinkers. Don't know where we will be eating yet, though. Just northern Orange County, California.

Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

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  • 2 weeks later...

I second the Earthquake recommendation... even in bad years they are great...

also agreeing on the fact that ZIN has become more port like over the last 20 years... the high alc's and heavy extraction make for a close encounter of the Zin port kind... then again we Americans are getting so dam fat that we tend to need a big wine to compliment our 3,000 calorie meal for lunch...

another producer that makes crazy Zin's that differ from barrel to barrel...

Coturri

Click On Me

I must have bought over 20K in their wines over the years...

another one...

good QPR and in great vintage years the wine is the best Cellar Number 8

another one is a great winemaker Mike... the brand...

carlisle zinfandel

OMG... 95 points most of the time and the price is not bad... the hard part seems is finding them...

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