When it comes to chasing a hot new producer, I’m as guilty as any wine lover out there, but I also try to keep track of the mainstays, the classics. So when California’s best Zinfandel vintage in 30 or 40 years came along in 2007, I wasn’t surprised Pedroncelli’s Mother Clone bottling turned out to be a real beauty. After all, the family-owned Sonoma winery has been producing reliable Zins at a fair price for the better part of a century.
Harvested from hillside vineyards that range in age from 40 to 100 years, the wine has the trademark Pedroncelli bright raspberry and blackberry fruit, laced with pepper, but winemaker John Pedroncelli and his team built in more flesh and stuffing than usual. It’s just ripe enough, with 14.4 percent alcohol, and still supple and lively. I rated it 89 points, non-blind, and at $15 it’s easy on your wine budget.