Members of the Zinfandel Advocates and Producers (ZAP) zipped into town recently to show off new wines from appellations throughout the Golden State. The theme of the event: you can find quality Zinfandel in different styles that suit your palate, from lighter fruity white Zinfandels, Beaujolais-like picnic wines, Cabernet-like offerings aged in French oak, to high-alcohol Port-like dessert wines.
Origin of the grape has been a mystery UC Davis researchers, using DNA fingerprinting, have confirmed that an ancient Croatian variety has the same DNA structure as Zinfandel.
Structure aside, we found some tasty wines to recommend from the ZAP tasting, although some are produced in very limited quantities. We’ve added food recommendations to a few:
Beekeeper, 2010, Rockpile, Sonoma County, Madrone Spring Vineyard, $64. One ton per acre. Mid-brick; complex berry, peppery, wood nose (50 percent new oak, French-American hybrid barrels; 11 percent Petite Sirah); tight, good structure, fine fruit on the palate, long rich finish.
Collier Falls, 2010, Dry Creek Valley, Zinfandel, $36. Mid-brick, garnet; spicy, peppery, ripe grape nose (15.0 % alc.); mid-body, tight tannins, good fruit and flavor.
LangeTwins, 2010, Lodi Zinfandel, $15. Dark garnet; berry, jam, prune nose; tight, hard, good fruity berry finish. Good value picnic and BBQ wine.
LangeTwins, 2009, Centennial, Lodi Zinfandel, $60. Two-thirds French and America new oak, one-third older; mid-dark garnet; big berry, jam, wood nose; balanced; smooth fruit on the finish; good food fine. w/beef, veal, lamb.
McCay Cellars, 2010, Jupiter, Lodi Zinfandel, $28. Mid-garnet; woody, flowery, violet nose; tight, wood and fruit on the palate; fruity finish.
McCay Cellars, 2010, Equity, Lodi Zinfandel, $32. Garnet; berry nose; wood; jam; mid-body; smooth, balanced fruity; berry aftertaste; long finish.
McCay Cellars, 2010, Truluck, Lodi Zinfandel, $32. Dark purple; bigger Zinfandel nose (from heavier soil), ripe grapes; intense fruit on the palate; rich, ripe grape finish. Big wine with BBQ, grilled steaks.
McCay Cellars, 2010, Contention, Lodi Zinfandel, $64. 85-year-old vines, one ton per acre yield. Dark garnet; earthy, mineral, jam nose; mid-body; elegant for a Zin; long balanced finish.
Peachy Canyon, 2011, Incredible Red Zinfandel, Paso Robles, $12. Mid-dark garnet; cherry, wood nose; mid-body; good acids, tannin structure; a little short on the finish. Fine value. w/burgers
Peachy Canyon, 2010, Westside Zinfandel, Paso Robles, $22. Dark purple; ripe grape (15.5 alc.), wood nose; hints of terroir, minerals; long fruity finish.
Peachy Canyon, 2011 Vortex Zinfandel, Paso Robles, $38. Dark purple; big berry nose (15.3 alc.), wood, mocha; tight tannins, ripe grape finish, berries and wood. Steak wine
Peachy Canyon, 2011, Mustang Springs Zinfandel, Paso Robles, $38. Dark purple; complex wood, blackberry, bramble, ripe plum nose (14.2 alc.); excellent acid and tannin balance; long lush finish. Steak wine
Proulx, 2011, Paso Robles, Yellow Label, Zinfandel, $16. Fruity Zin nose, berries, flowery; quaffable, cherries, soft finish. Good value. w/picnic fare, appetizers
Proulx, 2010, Paso Robles, Red Label Swiss Colina, Zinfandel, $30. Mid-dark garnet; strawberries, wood (French oak); mid-body, tight tannins, good acids, long fruity finish.
Proulx, 2009, Paso Robles, Willow Creek Farm (65-year-old vines), Zinfandel, $42. Mid-brick; fruity, cherry, wood nose; wood hints on the finish. w/beef
Proulx, 2010, Paso Robles, Willow Creek Farm , Zinfandel, $42. Mid-dark garnet; fresh, fruity, berry and wood nose (55 percent new French oak); good fruit extract; long rich finish.
Proulx, 2011, Paso Robles, Willow Creek Farm , Zinfandel, just bottled, no price. Mid-dark garnet; big berry nose; brambles, wood; tight tannins; good winery style; rich finish.