Zinfandel (also known as Primitivo) is a variety of black-skinned wine grape. DNA fingerprinting has revealed that it is genetically equivalent to the Croatian grape Crljenac, as well as to the Primitivo variety traditionally grown in Apulia (the "heel" of Italy), where it was introduced in the 18th century. The grape found its way to the United States in the mid-19th century, where it became known by variations of the name "Zinfandel". The grapes typically produce a robust red wine. The grape's high sugar content can be fermented into levels of alcohol exceeding 15 percent. The taste of the red wine depends on the ripeness of the grapes from which it is made. Red berry fruit flavors like raspberry predominate in wines from cooler areas, whereas blackberry, anise and pepper notes are more common in wines made in warmer areas and in wines made from the earlier-ripening Primitivo clone.
- Item #: i_200455Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 93+A blend of 35% Zinfandel, 30% Barbera, 13% Grenache, 12% Petite Sirah, and 10% Carignane.
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 93+ POINTS - "Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2016 Red Blend Shift gives very pretty scents of violets and roses over a core of black cherries, cedar chest, dark chocolate and tapenade. Medium to full-bodied, it delivers mouth-filling black fruits with plenty of floral accents and a firm, grainy frame, finishing on a refreshing note."
- Item #: i_200655Bottle Size: 750mlA blend of 65% Zinfandel and 35% Petite Sirah, sourced from Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley, Russian River Valley, and Livermore. This rich, dark, dense wine presents as dark purple-red in the glass. The bold, jammy, ripeness of the Zinfandel is well balanced with the blue-black notes of the Petite Sirah. On the nose, you are greeted with the essence of blackberry pie, black cherry, graphite and a hint of herbaciousness. On the palate, this wine is inky and thick while maintaining brightness and balance. Notes of marionberry, bramble and a hint of black pepper coat your mouth in an assertive, rich and lingering way.
- Item #: i_211210Bottle Size: 750mlWe have been looking for a delicious Zinfandel at this price point for some time, and we think we've found a winner! Ancient Peaks sits in the Paso Robles appellation, 22 miles south of the city of Paso Robles and just 14 miles from the Pacific Ocean. Here, the surrounding peaks of the Santa Lucia Mountain Range act as a gateway between the ocean-cooled environs below the grade and the warmer climes above the grade. When the days heat up in the areas north and east of Margarita Vineyard, the air rises to create a vacuum that pulls marine breezes and fog inland over the peaks, and right through the vineyard. This means the fruit gets ripe, without any "off" flavors, yet the cooling afternoon breezes help the resulting wine to retain freshness and acidity.
Ancient Peaks' 2017 Zinfandel presents bright boysenberry aromas with hints of sandalwood and vanilla. A juicy, jammy texture is loaded with generous flavors of wild raspberry, black cherry, plum, mocha and cedar. Spicy black pepper notes join mouthwatering acidity on a beautifully balanced finish.
- Item #: i_215520Bottle Size: 750mlStructured and full-bodied with a subtle hint of spice. On the palate, dense, dark fruit characteristics are reminiscent of blueberry pie. Notes of toasted oak and vanilla meld with a plush, lingering mouthfeel.
- Item #: i_204170Bottle Size: 750mlWine Spectator: 93It’s easy to say that Morgan Twain-Peterson was born into the wine industry… so let’s start there. Morgan is the son of legendary Ravenswood winemaker and Zinfandel legend Joel Peterson. At the age of 5, Morgan was able to distinguish Merlot from Zinfandel, and being the son of Joel, that made for some early learning of winemaking basics and eventually the essential techniques for fine winemaking. But Joel didn’t stop there. He went onto other wineries and regions to learn other methods, like working in the McLaren Vale region of Australia, and even working as a visiting winemaker at Château Lynch Bages in Bordeaux. Oh yeah…and he passed the Master of Wine exam!
Morgan only works with high quality fruit from high quality sites and ferments them in open top redwood and stainless steel fermenters then ages them in the sexiest French barrels from the coldest forests. The results are tremendous wines that range in style from opulent to elegant, yet taste exceptionally balanced!
WINE SPECTATOR 92 POINTS - "Old-school meets new in this Zinfandel, with just enough polish and plumpness to match the briary rusticity. Offers expressive black cherry, smoky anise and white pepper flavors. Drink now through 2024."
- Item #: i_232600Bottle Size: 750MLBranham's 2017 "Jazz" trio continues to bring down the house! Presenting their group from the Napa Valley: 50% Zinfandel, 25% Petite Sirah, and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon. Sitting in for a short solo is the accomplished "Branham Rockpile fruit." Encore after encore, this proprietary blend never fails to satisfy the eye and palate. Refined melodies of black-plum, dark berries and coffee notes are enhanced by a purposeful symmetry of balanced tannins and acidity. Pair with music!
- Item #: i_206620Bottle Size: 750MLIn 1980 when the Brown family stumbled upon their now renowned property in the Chiles Valley sub-appellation of the Napa Valley, it was but a ghost ranch up the hill east of Rutherford. Five years later they planted vineyards and for a decade they farmed and sold wine grapes. In 1995 the second generation, encouraged by growing demand for their fruit, established the Brown Estate label and began making their own wines.
Brown's flagship Napa Valley Zinfandel historically has borne the responsibility of being the ultimate representative of what their property and its unique microclimate have to offer — the cream of the Brown Estate zinfandel crop blended into one stellar wine. Rich magenta hue in the glass. Nose opens with abundant floral notes of hibiscus, dried rose petals, and violet followed by fruit notes of black plum, blackberry, and dried orange peels. Nose finishes with fresh cut wood/sawdust, fir balsam, and a hint of tangy soy/umami. Medium-plus palate layered with bramble fruit up front, leading into dried herbs, exotic spices, and dusty earth. Long finish with well-balanced acid and tannins. Drink now through 2028.
- Item #: i_206480Bottle Size: 750ML
The grapes are a mix of those off their estate vineyards and grapes from other select Napa Valley low-yielding vineyards. Dry-farmed for over 20 years, their 4.5 acre estate block consists of mature thirty-seven year old vines which typically yield around 2.5 tons/acre of hillside fruit. Interspersed among the head-trained vines are a handful of Petite Sirah vines representing perhaps 5% of the total vines in this block. A traditional field companion to Zinfandel in pre-prohibition California vineyards, Petite Sirah contributes pepper, color, and tannin structure to the wine.
- Item #: i_206100Bottle Size: 750mlBuena Vista joined the Boisset Family Estates collection in May 2011. Today, Jean-Charles Boisset is returning Buena Vista to its original glory with the complete restoration and re-opening of the champagne cellars, which have been unavailable to the public for over 20 years. Jean-Charles is 100% dedicated to doing whatever is needed to showcase the quality of the wines from this property. The wines of Buena Vista are being driven to greater heights under Winemaker Brian Maloney and Consulting Winemaker David Ramey, including the re-introduction of Sonoma wines, in honor of Buena Vista's role in the discovery of Sonoma as one California's great terroirs.
As the name would imply, this wine is in honor of The Count of Buena Vista, a tireless and passionate devotee of Californian wines. From prestigious vineyards across Sonoma, The Count's intriguing varietals intermingle seamlessly to produce an elegant and complex wine. Individual lots of Zinfandel, Syrah, and Merlot were fermented separately and aged for 16 months in American, Hungarian, and French oak barrels before final assemblage. The wine's bouquet opens beautifully with rich aromas of black currant, cherries, grilled meat, pepper, and just a hint of espresso. Smooth on the palate, the wine offers flavors of red fruit compote, plum, raspberries, and blackberry that give way to cardamom on the long, silky finish.
- Item #: i_207350Bottle Size: 750mlWine Spectator: 92Vinous Media: 94Winery's Tasting Notes: "Dark to very dark ruby-garnet. Much deeper in color than many other Zinfandels in this vintage. An intense nose of blood orange, raspberry (zinberry!), and licorice allsorts. Very expressive and very striking. Totally seamless and polished on the palate with flavors of orange rind and red berry fruit. This is an incredibly nuanced and texturally alluring Zinfandel that is more expressive and approachable than the 2014 rendition. Drink from release to 2024."
ANTONIO GALLONI 94 POINTS - "A gorgeous wine, the 2015 Zinfandel Carlisle Vineyard is bright and punchy, with plenty of red cherry, raspberry and floral notes pushed forward. Silky and racy in the glass, this mid-weight Zinfandel is impeccable. The Carlisle is super-finessed in 2015. As usual, the Carlisle is predominantly Zinfandel, with about 12% mixed white and black grapes (a total of 40 varieties), all co-fermented."
WINE SPECTATOR 92 POINTS - "Supple and refined, with floral blueberry, mint and clove aromas and layered black raspberry and savory pepper flavors that take on complexity on the finish. Drink now through 2027. 788 cases made."
- Item #: i_207270Bottle Size: 750mlWine Spectator: 94Vinous Media: 92Planted in 1934 shortly after the repeal of Prohibition by Celestino Papera, this vineyard is a bit of an anomaly in that it contains much less in the way of mixed blacks than we typically see in vineyards of this era. And interestingly, the majority of the mixed blacks that are present is Carignane. Carignane is a late ripener and high in acidity making it a curious choice for this very cool site. Nevertheless, it seems to work, producing a powerfully elegant Zinfandel. Twenty percent new French oak. Filtered but unfined.
Very dark ruby-garnet, almost opaque. Head-turning aromas of framboise and kirsch are complemented by notes of fresh tobacco leaf, spun sugar, and spearmint leaves. What a sniff! On the palate, fullbodied but my-oh-my, so seamless, so well-balanced. Flavors of red currant, macerated cherries, and a hint of pleasing herbaceousness build through the long, smooth finish. Truly one of our top Papera Zinfandels to date. Enjoy from release through 2024.
WINE SPECTATOR 94 POINTS - "A compelling wine, with expressive blackberry and briary underbrush aromas and refined yet evocative cherry, smoky mint and pepper aromas that linger toward plump tannins. Best from 2019 through 2027."
ANTONIO GALLONI 92 POINTS - "The 2015 Zinfandel Papera Ranch offers a good initial burst of dark cherry and plum fruit, but then has a bit less persistence follow-through on the mid-palate and finish. Succulent and forward, the 2015 looks like it will drink well upon release. This is not an especially subtle style."
- Item #: i_207380Bottle Size: 750mlWine Spectator: 92Under the expert farming of organic specialist Phil Coturri, Rossi Ranch has quickly returned to its former glory. Lots to be excited about here, as the fruit comes from vines planted in 1910! Medium-dark ruby-garnet. With aeration and swirling, aromas of kirsch liqueur and briery spice emerge from the glass. On the palate, tightly coiled but at the same time very poised and polished with no rusticity. Red fruits are echoed in the energetic, mineral-laden finish. Exceptionally well-balanced, this wine will age well and develop further complexity. When to drink? Wait a couple of years and then enjoy from 2020 to 2026.
WINE SPECTATOR 92 POINTS - "Features briary notes in spades, plus vibrant black raspberry, cracked pepper and anise flavors. Best from 2019 through 2027."
- Item #: i_207420Bottle Size: 750mlJeb Dunnuck: 93 PointsCarlisle's not-quite-so annual QPR champ is back! Using some wonderful century-old Russian River Valley Zin not far from Limerick Lane and some relatively young, 64-year-old Zinfandel from Alexander Valley as a base, Carlisle stole bits and pieces of our Rossi, DuPratt, and Dry Creek Zins along with a little Petite Sirah from Two Acres to create this delicious over-achiever. Bottled unfined and unfiltered.
Tasting Note: Medium to medium-dark ruby-garnet. Intense aromas of red cherries, clove, and a pleasing earthy note. Medium-bodied, flavors of cherry and baking spices build to a gently tannic finish. Given its price point, one might conclude that this wine is meant for early consumption. Not necessarily so! While it can certainly be enjoyed now, this wine has plenty of structure to age and develop gracefully. Hence, we’d recommend giving it another year or two in bottle and then enjoying through 2028.
JEB DUNNUCK 93 POINTS - "While it was a difficult vintage for Zinfandel due to the heat, you wouldn't know that by tasting these Zinfandels from Carlisle. The 2017 Zinfandel Sonoma County offers a beautiful sense of elegance and purity as well as pretty cherry fruits, violets, flowers, and spice. It's not a heavyweight yet shines for its seamless texture, integrated acidity, and a great finish. It's a steal at the price."
ANTONIO GALLONI 90-93 POINTS - "The 2017 Zinfandel (Sonoma County) is pliant and super-expressive, not to mention incredibly delicious. A beam of bright acids gives the wine energy and a surprising amount of vitality as well. Medium in body and supremely gracious, the Sonoma Zinfandel over-delivers big time. The Sonoma County is built on a core of fruit from the Russian River Valley and Alexander Valley, plus touches of Rossi, Du Pratt and Dry Creek Zinfandels and drops of Two Acres Petite Sirah. More importantly, the 2017 is an absolutely gorgeous wine. It's as simple as that."
- Item #: i_277760Bottle Size: 750mlWine Spectator: 91WINE SPECTATOR 91 POINTS - "Dark and brooding, with black cherry and bittersweet chocolate aromas and plump flavors of orange zest, black licorice and smoky cracked pepper. Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Alicante Bouschet, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignane and Viognier. Drink now through 2027."
- Item #: i_277784Bottle Size: 750MLThe name Rocky Reserve comes from the deep red, rocky soils of the Florence Vineyard, 1400 feet above Lake Sonoma and Dry Creek Valley. This is a more elegant and restrained Zin, worthy of five or more years of cellaring, though it is packed with fragrant black and blue berry fruits.Nice dark-red in color, big blueberry-blackberry fruit, spicy-chocolatey oak, nicely focused acidity enhances mineral flavors, elegantly structured tannins for aging, super plush long finish!
- Item #: i_219600Bottle Size: 750mlWinery Notes: "79% Zinfandel, 11% Petite Sirah, 6% Syrah, 4% Grenache. Lucky boxcars with this Zinfandel-dominated blend, which tumbles out on the tongue with dark cherries, fresh, ripe strawberries, a double dip of chocolate and vanilla, and the cool grip of moto jacket (aka leather). Paradise awaits. "
- Item #: i_211230Bottle Size: 750MLThe 2017 Ancient Vines Zinfandel shows spicy, bright strawberry, with coffee and chocolate characters. Ripe fruit and soft tannins make this a mouth-coating rich vintage. Aging on new and used oak has lent this wine a subtle vanilla quality that nicely complements the explosive fruit notes. Enjoy now or cellar for 5 to 7 years.
The Ancient Vines Zinfandel draws primarily from a wide selection of our oldest, most historic and shyest-bearing Zinfandel blocks in Contra Costa County. Grapes were planted by Italian and Portuguese immigrants in the sandy, phylloxera-resistant soils of Oakley, California more than 100 years ago.
Blend: 97% Zinfandel, 3% Carignane
- Item #: i_209561Bottle Size: 750mlCharlie II is the eldest of the fifth-generation of Napa Valley Wagners, and he oversees production for Mer Soleil, Silver, and Conundrum Red wines. He recalls seeing his grandfather blend wines based on taste rather than tradition, and those wines turned out delicious, and in developing the Conundrum red wine, Charlie II took his grandfather's approach. Deep garnet in color, the nose is floral with tones of lavender mixed with rich notes of dried berries, baking chocolate, and bacon. The palate is silky and round on the entry with acid to balance the high fruit concentration. This is a fruit forward wine, yet still has a good core of tannin to give the wine structure.
- Item #: i_232890Bottle Size: 750mlNamed for the old grist mill that was found on the property, Grist sits pretty at 1000 ft. elevation on Bradford Mountain in the Dry Creek Valley AVA. The site was originally planted 100 years ago, and has since been replanted in the early 1970s. Farming here is CCOF Organic. The 58 acres under vine are head trained and cane pruned, and have spectacular views of the fog line driving in 15 miles west from the Pacific Ocean. Between Grist and the beachfront lie 15 miles of mountain lions, deer, and unspoiled forest.
- Item #: i_232910Bottle Size: 750mlEhren Jordan is a man of many talents, and many styles. For 18 years, he was the winemaker at Turley, crafting full-bodied, rich, opulent, spicy, and complex Zinfandels that would set the world on fire. We never received enough of the Turley wines, because the demand of their mailing list, but when we did get them, the wines would sell out in a day or two. To this day, we get more inquiries for Turley than almost any other Zinfandel.
Around the time Ehren started his stint as winemaker for Turley, he also started up his own winery with his wife, which they called Failla. In contrast to the hedonistic style of the Turley wines, the Failla wines were restrained, elegant, bright, fresh, yet amazingly complex Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs that would receive high praise from the critics. Now, we never saw a Zinfandel from Failla, and everybody speculated it was because he was still making the Turley Zins, but after Ehren and Turley parted ways in 2013, we figured it was only a matter of time until we saw something, because to be honest, Ehren is just so talented. Well…we're happy to say that the Day, so to speak, has come!
"Day" is the name of Ehren Jordan's new Zinfandel, and is a return to his winemaking roots. Similar to the approach at Failla, most of the Day Zinfandel wines are sourced from Sonoma County. Great sites, old vines, and gentle winemaking remain the production philosophy for Day. Ehren is more than thrilled to work with some of California's finest Zinfandel vineyards in Russian River, Dry Creek, and Alexander Valleys.
This wine is a blend of vineyards spanning the Russian River Valley and Dry Creek Valley. A savory nose of dried raspberry, blueberry compote, herbs and peppercorn, purple flower potpourri, and crushed stone. Elegant mouthfeel complete with subtle notes of sweet red cherry, tobacco, brown butter and bramble berry cobbler.
- Item #: i_216790Bottle Size: 750MLThis enticing Sonoma County wine highlights a bright red-fruit and spice expression of Zinfandel. The aromas are ripe and appealing, offering layers of strawberry jam, raspberry and sweet vanilla, as well as hints of chocolate-covered cherries and white pepper. On the palate, the entry is full and balanced with lovely cranberry notes supported by the subtle influence of fine oak.
- Item #: i_216630Bottle Size: 750MLWinemaker's Notes: "This vintage presents enticing aromatics of dried cranberry and boysenberry with hints of cocoa powder, nutmeg, dried sage and cedar. On the palate, brambly flavors of blackberry and black cherry come forward with bright acidity complimented by deeper notes of dark chocolate, espresso and black pepper. The tannins are silky and smooth to lend a round, rich mouthfeel. From start to finish, this remarkable wine offers refreshing acidity paired with excellent structure and a round, rich mouthfeel."