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Wines Under $20

One Mighty Nice Zinfandel for a Cold Winter Night


For the past few years, Bob Varner has been making one of my favorite affordable American Chardonnays—Foxglove—as well as one of my favorite not-so-affordable American Chardonnays—the Varner Bee Block. Now he and his brother Jim seem to have taken it into their heads to produce a knockout affordable Zinfandel, too. The 2007 Foxglove Paso Robles Zinfandel ($15.50, find this wine) has that springy bright berry character that makes some zinfandels so fun to drink together with appealingly fuzzy tannins (appealing the way a fuzzbox rounds and muzzes up an electric guitar's direct tone), and it eschews the whop-you-in-the-face alcohol that makes some other zins wearisome to drink. If I had a plate of BBQ ribs in front of me, I'd drink more than my share of it; instead I only have a single small package of Dr. Pepper beef jerky I smuggled back from Texas for emergencies, so I think I'll hold off.

PS. Foxglove Zin is also available from the Varner Wine website here. 

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