Zinfandel recommendations

Used to be, shopping for good zin was easy: Find a friend on the Turley mailing list, or just go with one of the three R’s: Ridge, Rosenblum and Ravenswood. But the world changes, for better and worse. Ravenswood and then Rosenblum were swallowed up by conglomerates, and while some Ravenswood offerings (Dickerson, Old Hill) remain quite Ridge IIdistinctive, Rosenblum’s zins barely resemble founder (and St. Paul native) Kent Rosenblum’s signature efforts of yore.

Only Ridge remains reliable, but blessedly it is joined by any number of stalwart zin producers. The bad news: Under-$10 zins tend to blow, unless you’re seeking dollops of chocolate cherry cola with lots of alcohol.

Here are some zinfandels that I can recommend without reservation for consistently providing good to excellent value:

$12 and under
• Cline California
• Dancing Bull Winemaker’s Reserve
• Kirkland (Costco, sundry bottlings)
• Tortoise Creek “The Chelonian”

$15 and under
• Four Vines California Old Vine Cuvee
• Cameron Hughes (different lots)
• Montoya Lodi Old Vines
• Pedroncelli “Mother Clone”
• Zingaro Mendocino Benchland

$20 and under
• Dry Creek Vineyards Heritage Sonoma County Old Vines
Wild Thing• Folie à Deux Dry Creek Valley
• Pedroncelli Bushnell Vineyard
• Carol Shelton Wild Thing
• Terra d’Oro Amador County

$25 and under
• Bluenose Sonoma County
• Green & Red Chiles Mill and Chiles Canyon
• Murphy Goode “Liar’s Dice”
• Seghesio Sonoma County
• Carol Shelton Monga
• Claudia Springs Vassar and Rhodes Vyds.

$30 and under
• Chateau Montelena “The Montelena Estate”
• DeLoach Russian River OFS
• Ridge Ponzo
• Terra D’Oro Deaver, Home and SHR Field Blend

$40 and under
A. Rafanelli Dry Creek
• Benovia Sonoma County
Sky• Brown Estate Napa
• Hartford Russian River Valley Old Vine
• Ridge Geyserville, Lytton Springs, Pagani and Paso Robles
• Seghesio Home Ranch
• Carol Shelton Karma and Rocky Reserve
• Sky Mount Veeder

$50 and under
• Robert Craig Howell Mountain
• Martinelli Giuseppe & Luisa
• Outpost Howell Mountain
• St. Francis Pagani Ranch

All price points, all bottlings
• Turley

2 Responses

  1. Bill Ward

    Napa’s best zin makers — and the first African-American-owned winery there. I bought six of their zins last year, and wish I could have gotten more.

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