Many readers will have visited Sonoma County in northern California wine country and sampled the Zinfandels made in the sub-region named Dry Creek Valley. The 70+ wineries there are so small (median production is only about 4750 cases) that most sell all that they make at the “cellar door” (either in a tasting room or through Internet orders). Additionally, 150 grape growers sell fruit to these winemakers and another 80+ wineries besides. This direct sales link is vital to small wineries as it vastly reduces their costs of distribution. One result, is that there are many good wines that do not make their way onto retail shelves here, or do so only at a restricted set of outlets (basically the finer wine stores in town).
To taste the gamut of Dry Creek wine making you really need to visit the area (and the ideal time is the weekend known as Passport To Dry Creek Valley each April). Notwithstanding that, sometimes the growers go out to their customers. Continue reading →
The 2012 XYZin, Old Vines Zinfandel, California ($16) is a good value, typical California Zinfandel. The nose has notes of plum, blueberry, blackcurrant and some French oak. In the mouth the wine is dry with good acid and the effusive fruit that is typical of young California Zinfandel. The fruit flavors repeat the fruits in the nose. Tannins are soft and supple. A very appealing style. This wine goes well with barbecue and burgers. Crave Recommended.
Interesting appellation. I wonder why something more specific could not be used
I cannot find any local availability but it is available online.
I first encountered Zinfandel as a student when I tasted Ridge Vineyards ‘California Coast Range’ Zinfandel for what was, for an impoverished graduate student, a king’s ransom of $6.99. It is no longer made, but that wine engaged me to hunt out Zinfandel: a fruity, forward, red wines that offered a (usually) lower-priced alternative to Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. I did not know at the time that Zinfandel was an almost universally scorned blending grape that was the backbone of such headache-inducing abominations as Gallo Hearty Burgundy. Continue reading →