Whenever someone tells me they just don’t “get” Zinfandel, I explain it this way. Everyone likes dessert, right? At times you may be in the mood for something elaborate like a soufflé or massively engineered concoction of chocolate, and other times you just want a warm, old-fashioned blackberry cobbler. Zinfandel is the cobbler of wines; no need to marvel at its complexity and sophistication—just enjoy it, be happy.
That’s what I thought the other night when I opened a bottle of the 2008 De Loach Russian River Valley Zinfandel. It was a fruit bomb of pure, fresh raspberry and briary black cherry, layered with notes of sassafras, vanilla and spice.
Once on the forefront of Sonoma County Zin, De Loach is slowly making its way back. The winery produces several different Zinfandels, and the Russian River bottling is the best value, selling for $20. The winemaking team of Julia Vazquez and Brian Maloney uses grapes from around the region to produce a jammy good quaff. That night I gave it 89 points, non-blind.
WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for De Loach Zinfandel Russian River Valley 2008 (88, $20).
• Plus, get our quick list of Top Values among California Zinfandel.