When I’m in the mood for a California red and I’m watching my budget, my gaze turns to Zinfandel. The better versions of this hearty red make fine sippers and work well with a range of full-flavored dishes.
But this is just a lead-up to the matter at hand—the play-off performance of the San Francisco Giants against the Atlanta Braves throughout the National League Division Series. San Franciscans at home and abroad describe it in one word: torture. Midway through the final game of the series, my hunger was unabated. So I had a bowl of mushroom soup I had made previously, sopped up with couple of pieces of bread, all washed down with some 2007 Old Vine Zinfandel from the successful Paso Robles producer Four Vines, priced at $14 a bottle. Uncomplicated fare for a night filled with emotion.
The Zin had typical beefy overtones to the plum and dried berry flavors, with some hints of smoke and vanilla on the finish. I rated it 85 points, non-blind. Four Vines taps vineyards in Mendocino, Amador, Sonoma, Paso Robles and Lodi to make this wine. It was a good match for the soup, and soon I lifted a glass to the Giants’ nail-biting victory to take the series. The torture has been replaced with a sense of relief and joy—at least until the Phillies come to bat in the National League Championship Series.
WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Four Vines California Zinfandel Old Vine Cuvee 2007 (86, $14).
• Plus, get our quick list of Top Values among California Zinfandel.