Zinfandel wines, also known as Primitivo, was a product that was first introduced in Europe during the eighteenth century. From Austria, Croatia, and Italy, the different black-skinned grapes from these regions have also made their way to America. Across Europe, the grapes are used to produce a robust red wine. In the United States, its been a semi-sweet rose known as a White Zinfandel since its mid-nineteenth century introduction in that nation. This product outsells the red wines six times more often. It also has a high sugar content that can be fermented to levels of alcohol beyond the fifteen percent mark. The taste of this type of wine will vary on the ripeness of the grapes that were used. Among cooler regions, red berry flavors are more commonplace while warmer regions tend to have anise, blackberry, and pepper more predominate. As far as determining the ten best zinfandel wines money can buy, the factors of product quality levels and overall consumer preferences come to mind here. According to I Love Wine, ten percent of zinfandel wines come from California vineyards.
10. Grgich Hills Zinfandel (Average Price: $40.00 USD)
From Napa, California, Grgich Hills Zinfandel offers an organically farmed wine near the heart of Calistoga. The vines featuring the zinfandel grapes benefit from much sunlight and the roots venturing deep into the gravelly loam soil. The grapes are fermented with native yeasts and are aged for eighteen months in neutral French oak. Once ready, the flavors of blackberry, boysenberry, sweet clove, and a hint of citrus give this wine a well-balanced concentration of full-bodied flavor. Best enjoyed as a sipping wine during a meal, at an average of $40.00 USD a bottle, a Zinfandel wine enthusiast can't go wrong here.
9. Three Wine Company Old Vine Zinfandel (Average Price: $28.00 USD)
At 15.4 percent alcohol by volume content, a Three Wine Company Old Vine Zinfandel sells for $28.00 USD or so at most liquor outlets that carry it. The tasting notes feature a berry compote with cherry and baking spice, making it the perfect companion as a chilled sipping wine while enjoying food. From California's Central Coast Region of Contra Costa County, the Zinfandel grapes featured in this wine are produced from old vines before seventy-six percent of it is blended with the smatterings of Carignane, Petite Sirah, and Alicante Bouchet. The vines the grapes are grown on are over a hundred years old and are still dry-farmed today. Distinct from other Zinfandel wines, this product has earned itself a loyal fan following that credits famed winemaker, Matt Cline, for his dedication to bringing forth this big and bold flavor to the appreciative consumer market.
8. Monte Rio Cellars Dry White Zinfandel (Average Price: $20.00 USD)
At eleven percent alcohol by volume, a bottle of Monte Rio Cellars Dry White Zinfandel offers the tasting notes of red fruit, rhubarb, and citrus for about $20.00 USD. Once upon a time, white Zinfandel wines were criticized for being too sweet and unbalanced. Producer Patrick Cappiello of Monte Rio Cellars has been instrumental in redefining its reputation from the vineyards of Suisun Valley. Now run strictly as an organic farming outfit, this 1998-founded site features grapes that are quickly crushed before going through the pressing and fermenting process. The wine is then aged for four months in old wood barrels racked to steel tanks before it is bottled and ready to serve. The flavor mix of crunchy red fruit, rhubarb, as well as a hint of citrus serves as a well-balanced force on this wine's dry palate.
7. Ridge East Bench Zinfandel (Average Price: $30.00 USD)
At approximately $30.00 USD a bottle, the Ridge East Bench Zinfandel wine from Dry Creek Valley of Sonoma County has earned itself a great value for the money reputation. Fresh and balanced with the dominance of dark berries, the palate also experiences dark cherry, and black raspberry, as well as a subtle hint of spice. This product is one of the few that can honestly claim to feature a wine that is entirely made up of zinfandel grapes, a tradition Ridge has held since planting its first vineyard in 2006.
6. Brazin Old Vine Zinfandel (Average Price: $15.00 USD)
From Lodi, California, the bold and spicy Brazin Old Vine Zinfandel comes from grapes that are anywhere between thirty-five to eighty years old. This means they've had plenty of time to grow long taproots that extend deep into the vineyard's sandy earth. While sitting in a wine glass, the hue is an inky purple that has a fifteen percent alcohol by volume (ABV) content level. The aromas of mocha and spice while sipping are well balanced by the mix of plum and chocolate tasted on the palate. The long, tannic finish adds the earthy flavor of vanilla. Unlike Zinfandel wines grown in warmer conditions, this wine focuses more on the complexities of the grape's darker notes of spice and chocolate. For about $15.00 USD, one can bring this home to thoroughly enjoy as a slow-sipping solo number.
5. Fiddletown Old Vine Zinfandel (Average Price: $20.00 USD)
The award-winning Fiddletown Old Vine Zinfandel first made its big mark in 2013 by winning a gold medal at the Long Beach Grand Cru. In 2014, it won Best of its Class at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. Designed as a big and bold dark wine, the pronounced notes of blackberry with subtle caramel and black current elements offer a rather powerful tannin loaded with structure and bite. Its acidity helps cut through the big fruit flavors provided by the Zinfandel grape, making this one of the best-balanced wines of its kind on the market. Typically, this goes for about $20.00 USD a bottle.
4. Turner Road Reserve White Zinfandel (Average Price: $10.00 USD)
For less than $10.00 USD a bottle, a Turkey Road Reserve White Zinfandel makes the ideal wine for a social gathering with some family and friends. The Lodi, California region grapes offer a soothing flavor combo of a very light, mellow, and sweet sip as a well-balanced dry red wine. The notes of raspberry, chamomile, rose water and the jam-like combination of cranberry and strawberry make this a great dinner companion. It can also pass as a decent dessert wine that tends to be rather popular with the ladies.
3. Seghesio Sonoma County Zinfandel (Average Price: $25.00 USD)
In 2013, the Seghesio Sonoma Country Zinfandel wine from Seghesio Family Vineyards was regarded as one of the best of its kind. Featuring a dusty, fruity, and spicy flavor, the grapes come from a combination of cool and warm vineyards. Upon first taste, the rush of raspberry, black currant, and wild berry wake up the senses as a jam-like burst. The excellent balance of herbs, mineral, and spices provide a dusty tannin that gives this wine a nice and fruity dry finish. Typically, this zinfandel is sold around the $25.00 USD mark at most liquor outlets. The ABV for this wine is 15.6 percent.
2. Turley Old Vines Zinfandel (Average Price: $50.00 USD)
The grapes grown on the vines to create Turley Old Vines Zinfandel are at least eighty years old. They offer a variety of earthy flavors that are best enjoyed as soon as the grapes are at their peak. This medium-bodied wine features red berries, as well as undertones of dark berry and spice to tease the palate. The aroma of fruit, flower, and licorice is rich and can be a bit tight on the first sip. Allowing the senses to breathe in the wine while drinking it adds to the luxury of drinking one of the best wines Turley has to offer. According to San Fransisco Gate and Wine Spectator, this is one of the best zinfandel wines money can buy on the market. This Californian-based wine has an ABV of 15.5 percent and usually goes for about $50.00 USD a bottle.
1. Bedrock Old Vine Zinfandel (Average Price: $32.00 USD)
Coming from the Sonoma, California, region, the Bedrock Old Vine Zinfandel uses a raspberry compote with black plums, smoky vanilla, and tobacco to create what the majority of the tasting critics agree is the best product of its kind money can buy. The wine's aging process takes place in a combination of Austrian and French barrels. When ready for bottling, the ABV is 14.4 percent. The 2019 vintage is regarded as the best for the well-balanced palate. The founder of Vin Decision, Brandon Borcoman, credited this to the Bedrock Wine Co. for reviving an interest in zinfandel that has also kept the heritage of California's earliest wine-making roots. On average, an Old Vine Zinfandel goes for about $20.00 USD a bottle but has been known to fetch $32.00 USD for it as well. The vines used to grow the grapes are at least a century old and continue to impress wine drinkers with an exceptional quality that tends to exceed consumers' expectations.
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Written by Lily Wordsmith
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