F&W Free Preview All You Coastal Living Cooking Light Food and Wine tab Health myRecipes Southern Living Sunset
My F&W
quick save (...)

Best American Wines $15 & Under: Zinfandel

After tasting more than 300 affordable American wines, Senior Editor Ray Isle reports on his most exciting Zinfandel finds.
Additional research by Megan Krigbaum

2005 Blackstone California Zinfandel ($12)

Peppery and gamey, with classic Zinfandel berry notes, this full-bodied red provides an appealing example of California’s most famous native grape. A bit of Syrah and Petite Sirah in the final blend help add spiciness.

2004 Echelon Vineyards Driving Range Zinfandel ($9)

A juicy, undemanding but enjoyable wine, sourced from gnarled old vines in a Contra Costa County vineyard planted in 1910, this red offers a lot of sweet blackberry fruit.

2005 Rancho Zabaco Dancing Bull Zinfandel ($13)

This soft, raspberry-inflected Zinfandel is eminently drinkable; a good party wine, essentially. The brand itself is one of many owned by Gallo, and it’s generally a reliable source for affordable Zinfandels.

2005 Kenwood Sonoma County Zinfandel ($14)

Kenwood has been bottling this consistent cuvée since 1970. A percentage of old-vine fruit helps keep it rich but never over-the-top (a risk with Zinfandel); it gets additional zing from a small amount of the Italian variety Barbera.

NV Rosenblum Cellars Vintner’s Cuvée XXX ($12)

Here’s a wine-country success story: Start making wine in a basement back in 1978, and sell your winery 30 years later to drinks conglomerate Diageo, as Kent Rosenblum just did, for a staggering $105 million. Rosenblum makes a wide range of Zinfandels, but one of the most engaging is usually its nonvintage Vintner’s Cuvée. This, the 30th release, is as robust as ever, full of sweet blackberry flavor and an intriguing briary spiciness.

Published April 2008
You Might Also Like

Comments

Add A Comment

    Add a Comment

    See our terms
    You must be logged in to comment. or
    advertisement
    The Dish
    Receive delicious recipes and smart wine advice 4x per week in this e-newsletter.
    The Wine List Weekly pairing plus best bottles to buy.
    F&W Daily One sensational dish served fresh every day.
    American Express Publishing ("AEP") may use your email address to send you account updates and offers that may interest you. To learn more about the ways we may use your email address and about your privacy choices, read the AEP Privacy Statement.
    How we use your email address
    advertisement
    Congratulations to Nicholas Elmi, winner of Top Chef: New Orleans, the 11th season of Bravo's Emmy-Award winning, hit reality series.

    Run with chefs and wine experts in the Celebrity Chef 5K and dance all night at Gail Simmons’ Last Bite Dessert Party during the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen, June 20-22.