Bottle Notes, Buying Wine, Zinfandel

Three Delicious Zinfandels Under $20

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Since I launched Zinfandel Chronicles in June I’ve written about some of my favorite Zins from the likes of Turley, Carlisle, Bedrock, Outpost, Brown, Black Sears and Williams Selyem. All of these wines are hard to come by as they are sold primarily through mailing lists, and even then the top bottlings from these producers regularly reach the $50 price point. Not your everyday Zinfandels.

So, what are some easily obtainable and affordable Zins?

In answering this question I am going to purposely exclude wines like the Turley Juvenile and Carlisle Sonoma County. Both of these exceptional wines sell for about $20 but they’re hard to come by unless you are on the mailing list. The wines I’ve selected are all priced under $20 and should be available at your local grocery or wine store.

2009 Ravenswood Lodi ZinfandelRavenswood was founded in 1976 by Joel Peterson. The winery is a pioneer in producing single vineyard Zinfandels from some of Napa and Sonoma’s most treasured vineyards, including Dickerson, Old Hill and Belloni. I fondly remember visiting Ravenswood every summer when they released their single vineyard wines. Back in the day they did a BBQ out behind the winery. Great food and great memories.Ravenswood does a series of appellation Zins from areas like Mendocino, Sonoma and Lodi.

The ’09 Lodi retails for about $15. Aromas of cherries and currants. The wine is slightly jammy with gentle tannins. Strawberries, raspberries and cloves on the palate. Ready to drink and the perfect foil for a burger or pepperoni pizza. My rating: 88 points.

2009 Seghesio Sonoma County ZinfandelSeghesio Family Vineyards dates back to the late 1800’s, when Edoardo Seghesio planted his first Zinfandel vineyard in Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley. The winery has over 300 acres in planted in the Alexander, Dry Creek and Russian River valleys.

Purple in color. Black fruits and pepper on the nose. Brambly with blackberry, plums, cedar, vanilla and spice on the palate. Light tannins and acidity. Drink this wine in the near term. My rating: 87 points.

2009 Ridge Three ValleysRidge Vineyards  is celebrating 50 years as a bonded winery with the 2012 vintage! The winery’s Zinfandels date back almost 50 years as well, with the celebrated Geyserville launched in 1966 and the Lytton Springs in 1972.

The Three Valleys is a blend from a number of Sonoma Vineyards. The ’09 is comprised of 70% Zinfandel, 10% petite sirah, 15% carignane, 3% grenache and 2% mataro. Sweet black fruits, licorice, raspberries, pepper and a dose of of vanilla. Light tannins and balanced acidity on the finish. My rating: 88 points.

There you go: Three super Zinfandels I find suitable for any night of the week. What are a few of your favorite under $20 Zins?

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8 thoughts on “Three Delicious Zinfandels Under $20

  1. I don’t know how their distribution is around the country but we have a few of the Wine Guerrilla Zinfandels around here that are very nice for the money. Locally the Sonoma County, Dry Creek and Russian River Valley Zins are south of $20 and very nice.

  2. Nice list Tom. I’ve had the 2010 Sonoma Seghesio (didn’t try the ’09) and it’s a great value. Also was very impressed with the ’09 Easton Amador Zin ($17) and the ’10 Artezin Mendocino ($18).

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