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News & Features  :  Tasting Highlights

10 California Red and White Values

New reviews of an assortment of budget wines priced at $35 or less from the Golden State

Posted: October 24, 2011  By MaryAnn Worobiec

News & Features  :  What We're Drinking Now

A Bold Zinfandel with a Rich Heritage

Ridge Zinfandel Sonoma Valley Pagani Ranch 2009

Posted: September 23, 2011  By Tim Fish

Blogs  :  Exploring Wine with Tim Fish

Who Says Zinfandel Doesn't Age?

Retrospective tasting of 1991 and 2001 prove the contrary

Posted: August 24, 2011  By Tim Fish

Zinfandel ages well.

There! I said it. You wanna make something of it? Huh?

Because I’m not flapping my gums just for the breeze. I have proof. Sure, folks will tell you that Zin won’t get better with age, that you should drink them fast before all that snazzy fresh fruit fades into oblivion.

BLTs for me are in the same wine-pairing pool as a hamburger with all the fixings. You can’t simply be guided by one ingredient; there’s a potpourri of flavors and textures to consider, from sweet and acidic to smoky and creamy.

Blogs  :  Exploring Wine with Tim Fish

The Ups and Downs of the Sierra Foothills

Veterans of this unsung wine region are being joined by a new generation of winemakers

Posted: August 10, 2011  By Tim Fish

Whenever I write about the Sierra Foothills, I always call Bill Easton because he’ll tell you what he thinks, not what you want to hear. In these salad days of online news media, the rule seems to be “decide the story first, then fill in the blanks.” Chalk it up to my nights covering mayhem and BS at a daily newspaper, but I like being thrown a curve ball. That’s when you learn something.

Easton took umbrage—and he’s an umbrage taker from way back—when I said the Foothills were like the Finger Lakes and Long Island wine regions in New York, well-regarded by those in the know but largely undiscovered by the wine masses. He asked: Why compare? “Bordeaux may be like Napa may be like Barossa Valley may be like Stellenbosch.” Easton said. “It is what it is.”

Blogs  :  Exploring Wine with Tim Fish

Going Back to the Future with Old Zin Vineyards

Getting all philosophical while walking in a 120-year-old vineyard

Posted: August 3, 2011  By Tim Fish

Note to self: Whenever you hear someone grumble that California lacks the wine pedigree of Europe, remember the day you walked through San Lorenzo vineyard with Pete Seghesio and his boys.

It was one of those mid-summer Sonoma County mornings when the fog scares off early and the heat rises at you like exhaust from the dirt. Joe and Will were chasing each other in ATVs around the outskirts of the vines as Pete showed me the oldest patch of grapes in San Lorenzo, a 7-acre parcel near the Russian River in Alexander Valley.

"The deed for the ranch goes back to 1896," said Seghesio, whose great-grandfather Frank Passalacqua paid 10 gold coins for it. The copy of the deed is framed on the wall of his house, which overlooks the vineyard, and it refers to "seven acres of young vines."

June 30, 2011 Issue  :  Tasting Reports

Revisiting 2001 and 1991 California Zinfandel

Now 10 and 20 years old, some of the wines taste surprisingly youthful

Posted: June 30, 2011  By Tim Fish

June 30, 2011 Issue  :  Tasting Reports

Reversal of Fortune

After uninspiring early returns, the 2008 Zinfandels show they have what it takes

Posted: June 30, 2011  By Tim Fish

News & Features  :  Tasting Highlights

12 Powerful California Zinfandels

New reviews of big California reds perfect for pairing with meats from the grill

Posted: June 20, 2011  By Tim Fish

News & Features  :  Seasonal

Steak and Red Wine for Father's Day

It's perfectly grilled meat and potatoes for Dad, plus a list of recommended Zinfandels and Malbecs to match

Posted: June 10, 2011  By Laurie Woolever

News & Features  :  What We're Drinking Now

A Zesty Red for Grilled Beef

Four Vines Zinfandel California Old Vine Cuvee 2009

Posted: June 1, 2011  By Kim Marcus

News & Features  :  What We're Drinking Now

A Cult Zin at a Value Price

Turley Zinfandel California Juvenile 2009

Posted: May 2, 2011  By Tim Fish

News & Features  :  Tasting Highlights

15 California Zinfandels

New reviews of rich and fleshy reds from Napa, Sonoma and beyond

Posted: April 18, 2011  By Tim Fish

News & Features  :  What We're Drinking Now

Vyne-ing in Amsterdam

Conti Zecca Primitivo del Salento Donna Marzia 2008 and Quinta do Passadouro Douro 2007

Posted: April 13, 2011  By Alison Napjus

Blogs  :  Exploring Wine with Tim Fish

Napa's Resident Crazy Person

John Buehler ventures far from the beaten path

Posted: March 23, 2011  By Tim Fish

"The resident meshugana of Napa Valley" is what John Buehler calls himself. Yiddish for crazy person, meshugana pretty much sums Buehler up. While his neighbors are asking $100 or more for a bottle, Buehler sells most of his wines for $36 or less.

"Five years ago, people walked up to me and asked what was wrong with my wines because of what I charged," Buehler says. "Now I'm a hero."

News & Features  :  Tasting Highlights

11 California Zinfandels

New reviews of top 2008 and 2009 reds with plenty of personality

Posted: March 21, 2011  By Tim Fish

News & Features  :  What We're Drinking Now

A Zinfandel with a Sense of Place

Ravenswood Zinfandel Sonoma County Old Vine 2007

Posted: February 23, 2011  By Tim Fish

Blogs  :  Exploring Wine with Tim Fish

2009 Zinfandels Promising at ZAP Tasting

Notes on favorite wines and vintage impressions from the 20th anniversary of the annual San Francisco event

Posted: January 31, 2011  By Tim Fish

Zinfandel fans are a devoted bunch. Not only has the annual Zinfandel Advocates & Producers (ZAP) tasting thrived for 20 years in San Francisco, but thousands of Zin buffs lined up Saturday in the drizzling rain for a chance to taste the latest releases from more than 200 producers. Except for a few 2006s and 2007s, most of the wines poured were from the 2008 vintage or barrel samples from 2009. The 2008s remain a mixed bag, with many unbalanced wines, but the best are showing more promise than I expected a year ago. The 2009 Zinfandels should have wide appeal, at least from my preliminary tastings. After the 2009 harvest, many of us didn’t know what to expect. The vintage was like a good book with a lousy ending. But the initial 2009 barrel samples seem pleasantly ripe and balanced, offering good structure and acidity. Following are my notes on some of my favorite wines among the roughly 50 I sampled.

Blogs  :  Exploring Wine with Tim Fish

Rediscovering Value in Dry Creek

Region's long history with Zinfandel gives it an edge

Posted: January 26, 2011  By Tim Fish

A lot of us drank Zinfandel in the old days because it was cheap. For 10 bucks, I could buy a terrific bottle in the early 1990s and I didn’t have to cross my fingers or anything. Today the top wines run $30 or $40 and, since I don’t have a mattress stuffed with Facebook stock, I can’t drink those every day.

And yet, one of the perks of being a Zin buff is that it’s still possible to find a tasty wine at a decent price, and not just the generic Zinfandels that carry a California designation. Most regions still produce a few honest, handcrafted Zins that sell for less than $20.

Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma County is home to two of my favorite values, and the current releases remind me why the wines are so reliable.

News & Features  :  Tasting Highlights

9 California Zinfandels

New reviews of Golden State Zins from Turley, Carlisle and other top producers

Posted: December 6, 2010  By Tim Fish

News & Features  :  What We're Drinking Now

A Zesty Zinfandel on a Chilly Night

Dry Creek Vineyard Zinfandel Sonoma County Heritage 2008

Posted: October 26, 2010  By Tim Fish

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