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Senior Tim Fish joined the Wine Spectator staff in 2001. His tasting beat includes Oregon, Washington, California Zinfandel and Rhône-style reds, and U.S. sparkling wines.
Tim Fish

Zesty Red Value from Sonoma

Kokomo Cuvée 4791 Dry Creek Valley 2008

Tim Fish
Posted: August 24, 2010

Some wines you taste and know immediately that you need to buy a case of them, not for collecting but for everyday drinking. The 2008 Kokomo Cuvée 4791 is that sort of wine. It’s supple yet racy and balanced, plus it’s loaded with cherry and red currant, exotic spices and dried herbs like sage and thyme.

Chances are you’ve never heard of Kokomo Winery, a modest affair in Dry Creek Valley north of Healdsburg. Erik Miller is the owner and winemaker, and we’ve given good reviews in recent years to his Zinfandels and Pinot Noirs, so Kokomo is a producer to watch. Miller doesn’t make a lot of wine but there are almost 2,000 cases of the Cuvée 4791 and its available in 34 states, with a suggested retail price of only $22.

Cuvée 4791 is a kitchen-sink blend, with 34 percent Merlot and 29 percent Cabernet, plus Zinfandel, Carignane, Petite Sirah and Syrah. Miller ages it mostly in French oak, but only 30 percent of the barrels are new. The result is a tasty, zesty red. I rated it 88 points, non-blind, when I retasted it recently.

WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Kokomo Cuvée 4791 Dry Creek Valley 2008 (89, $22).

• Plus, get our quick list of Easy Finds among California reds.

John Kmiecik
Chicago, IL —  August 24, 2010 3:00pm ET
Appreciate you are finding a lot of everyday wines....
David Peters
Mission Viejo, CA —  August 24, 2010 3:01pm ET
Tim.....Quick question about aging Zinfandels. If you were forced to pick just one window of time for aging Zinfandels (from vintage date) would it be 1 to 3 yrs, 3 to 5 yrs, or 5 to 8 yrs ? This is assuming the Zin has great balance (fruit, acid & tannins in harmony) and is stored in a professional cellar enviroment.
Tim Fish
Santa Rosa, CA —  August 24, 2010 3:25pm ET
Thanks John, I'm always on the lookout for good wines I can drink on a Tuesday, Wednesday, etc.

David, that is a tough question because vintages, vineyards and house styles vary, but more importantly it depends on your preferences. One reason I like Zin is its bounty of fruit, so for 90% of Zins, 3-5 years from the vintage date is good for my tastes. Many will last longer in the cellar and drink well but "lasting" and "improving" are two different issues. Only a handful of Zins truly improve with age past 3-5 years in my experience.

Thanks for reading.

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