zinfandel

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June 30, 2013 Issue  :  Tasting Reports

A Challenging Year

The 2010 vintage delivers mixed quality, but the best Zinfandels still shine

Posted: June 30, 2013  By Tim Fish

June 30, 2013 Issue  :  Alphabetical Listing

California Zinfandel Alphabetical Listing

Posted: June 30, 2013  

June 30, 2013 Issue  :  This Issue/Marvin R. Shanken

Zinfandel Stars

Posted: June 30, 2013  By Marvin R. Shanken, Thomas Matthews

June 30, 2013 Issue  :  Features

Zinfandel Powerhouse

Larry Turley delivers rich, full-bodied reds that reflect his zest for life

Posted: June 30, 2013  By Tim Fish

News & Features  :  Seasonal

Zesty Steaks, Eggs and Zinfandel for Independence Day

Two great recipes from Albuquerque chefs, plus 14 recently rated Zinfandels recommended by the editors

Posted: June 21, 2013  By Laurie Woolever

Blogs  :  Exploring Wine with Tim Fish

Champions of California Zinfandel

The quintessential American wine is poised for a comeback thanks to a group of dedicated winemakers

Posted: May 29, 2013  By Tim Fish

You've missed a lot if you haven't followed Zinfandel the past few years. A quiet revolution has been going on in California, as a group of Zinfandel firebrands are raising the bar on quality. It's something I've written about as far back as 2009, but it's finally seeing fruition.

I explore the trend more thoroughly in "Zinfandel Renaissance," part of the cover package for the June 30 issue of Wine Spectator. The cult favorite and distinctly Californian wine just may be poised for a long-deserved mainstream revival.

News & Features  :  Tasting Highlights

10 Outstanding Sonoma Zinfandels

New reviews of zesty reds from the 2009, 2010 and 2011 vintages

Posted: April 15, 2013  

News & Features  :  Tasting Highlights

11 Impressive California Zinfandels

New releases of highly rated Zins from Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino

Posted: March 18, 2013  By Aaron Romano

Blogs  :  Exploring Wine with Tim Fish

Ehren Jordan Departs Turley Wine Cellars

The longtime Turley winemaker will focus on his own winery, Failla

Posted: February 27, 2013  By Tim Fish

Zinfandel lovers won't be happy to hear that winemaker Ehren Jordan has left Turley Wine Cellars after 18 years, but if you've followed Jordan and the impressive work he has done at his own winery, Failla, it should come as no surprise.

"Most people think Helen is still making the wine anyway," Jordan laughed, referring to Turley's short-tenured first winemaker, Helen Turley, the sister of owner Larry Turley.

In the past two decades, Jordan and Larry Turley together crafted what I think are some of California's most impressive and iconic Zinfandels. You'll find Turley wines on the best restaurant wine lists in the country. They are full-flavored, powerful yet refined, and express the distinctive character of Zin and the classic old vineyards from which they come, like Hayne in Napa Valley, Ueberroth in Paso Robles and Dogtown in Lodi.

Blogs  :  Exploring Wine with Tim Fish

2011 Zinfandels Surprise at ZAP Tasting

Annual San Francisco event shows the versatility of Zin

Posted: February 6, 2013  By Tim Fish

They may have pulled out a toupee's worth of hair during harvest 2011, but California Zinfandel producers have been telling me for months that the 2011s are much better than they expected. Of course, winemakers always say that after a difficult vintage because, eventually, they have to sell the wine, so I generally take it with a grain of salt.

But as the annual Zinfandel Advocates & Producers (ZAP) Festival in San Francisco on Saturday showed, they weren't stretching the truth this time. The 2011 Zinfandels are lovely wines in general: fresh, floral and elegant, with crisp acidity and modest levels of alcohol. Those who love to bash Zinfandels as fruit-bomb monsters have nothing to complain about with the 2011s.

News & Features  :  Tasting Highlights

12 Outstanding California Zinfandels

New reviews of highly rated reds, most from the 2010 vintage

Posted: January 14, 2013  By Tim Fish

Blogs  :  Outside the Bottle with Talia Baiocchi

A Case Study in Balance: Zinfandel

The model for Pinot Noir cannot apply to every grape

Posted: November 12, 2012  By Talia Baiocchi

Balance in wine, as most of us describe it, is the harmony of fruit, acid, tannins and alcohol, such that no one component is all elbow, so to speak. Sounds agreeable, but the word balance—and what it implies in the modern wine world—has become a more complex and symbolic topic than that description suggests. And generalizing what balance means in wine, whether via degrees alcohol or grams of residual sugar, has become risky business.

The word balance in California, for example, has come to symbolize a movement toward restraint and lower alcohol levels, particularly in Pinot Noir. Rajat Parr, one of the wine world's most respected sommeliers and the beverage director at the Michael Mina Group, has earned three Wine Spectator Grand Awards for his wine lists. He has also become infamous for refusing to sell Pinot Noir that clocks in over 14 percent alcohol at RN74 in San Francisco and has started an organization called In Pursuit of Balance, along with Jasmine Hirsch, of Hirsch Winery in Sonoma. It's composed of producers making Pinot Noir and Chardonnay who are advocates for balance, which they believe is achieved at lower alcohol levels (though the percentage is not precisely defined).

Blogs  :  Exploring Wine with Tim Fish

Let's Get Real About 2012

Two of California's best winemakers ponder the future of this year's vintage

Posted: November 7, 2012  By Tim Fish

Winemakers in Northern California are finally catching their breath as harvest 2012 winds to a finish. In the mood to kick back, and perhaps celebrate a little, winemakers Adam Lee of Siduri and Mike Officer of Carlisle had a long lunch last week at Stark's Steakhouse in Sonoma County and let me tag along.

Blogs  :  Exploring Wine with Tim Fish

Value Is a Family Affair

Pedroncelli Winery is an authentic slice of old-school Sonoma County

Posted: September 26, 2012  By Tim Fish

An honest value is something you appreciate when you grow up in a blue-collar house like I did. Dad always joked that Mom had "Champagne taste on beer money," which was partially right. She didn't believe in settling for something inferior even if she wasn't spending a lot of money.

That's one reason I've always had a soft spot for wineries like Pedroncelli. It's owned by an old Italian family that has been in Sonoma County for four generations. They grow their own grapes and, without a lot of fuss, make wine that people can afford to drink every day. While many of California's Italian winemaking families have taken their businesses upscale or have sold to large companies, the Pedroncellis have stayed the course.

Blogs  :  Exploring Wine with Tim Fish

Value Reds for the Labor Day Grill

When it comes to steak or burgers, it's hard to beat these bargain bottles

Posted: August 29, 2012  By Tim Fish

My grandparents owned a corner grocery store back in Indiana when I was growing up and my grandfather Sam was an old-fashioned butcher, cutting meat by hand on a wood butcher block table. Every Monday, a new side of beef arrived and he would painstakingly whittle it down to the various roasts and cuts and grind his own hamburger. 

If there were any leftover steaks by noon Sunday--yes, he worked 6½ days a week--he would call my dad and say, “Light the grill!” That didn’t happen a lot, but somehow he managed to always have leftovers on Labor Day Weekend. So when I was 7 or 8, I was accustomed to eating good and incredibly fresh steak. The fact that my dad tended to cook the life out of them is another blog post altogether.  

Learn Wine  :  Ask Dr. Vinny

Isn't white Zinfandel really just cheap and underhanded?

Posted: August 6, 2012  

Learn Wine  :  Ask Dr. Vinny

Why do people hate white Zinfandel?

Posted: July 27, 2012  

June 30, 2012 Issue  :  Alphabetical Listing

California Zinfandel Alphabetical Listing

Posted: June 30, 2012  

Blogs  :  Exploring Wine with Tim Fish

Between a Rockpile and a Zin Place

Sonoma's young AVA is a distinctive place that makes distinctive wines

Posted: June 13, 2012  By Tim Fish

How can you not like a wine region called Rockpile? The name alone brings up all sorts of images, of prehistoric-style rugged countrysides or chain gangs busting stones in the godforsaken sun. The reality of the place is not all that different from that. Rockpile is a rustic landscape and a distinctive place that makes equally distinctive red wines, particularly Zinfandel and Syrah. Some of the wineries that make wine from the region's fruit include Carol Shelton, JC Cellars, Seghesio, St. Francis and Valdez Family.

That day, people were practically crawling across the Meadowood lawn like it was the sandy Mojave in search of something cool and refreshing. And all they could find was Napa Cabernet Sauvignon. Warm Napa Cabernet Sauvignon. They could have raised $100,000 on a single chilled bottle of rosé that day. I would have chipped in.

Blogs  :  Exploring Wine with Tim Fish

Buy These Value Zins While You Can

Few bargains as the 2010 and 2011 vintages come on the market

Posted: May 30, 2012  By Tim Fish

Zinfandel has gotten more expensive in recent years, there's no arguing that. Zin vines will crank out buckets of wishy-washy juice if you let them, but it takes effort and time and money to make great Zin.

That's particularly true with the 2010 and 2011 vintages, in which Zin makers faced every plague but locust. Good Zins from those vintages selling for less than $15 or $20 a bottle will be few and far. In my annual report, "Zinfandel Elegance" in the June 30 issue of Wine Spectator, I was so concerned about the challenges and quality of those vintages that I didn't give readers enough good advice on value.

Consider this the makeup test.

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