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Managing editor Kim Marcus joined Wine Spectator in 1988. His tasting beats include Austria, Greece, southern France and Portugal.
Kim Marcus

A Zesty Red for Grilled Beef

Four Vines Zinfandel California Old Vine Cuvee 2009

Kim Marcus
Posted: June 1, 2011

Zinfandel has always been one of my go-to wines for easy summer enjoyment and grilled fare. On a recent visit to my mother in the San Francisco Bay Area, I perused the local wine selection at her neighborhood grocery. I was in a parsimonious mood and on the hunt for something in the $10 range.

I admit I can be a sucker for the “old vine” marketing ploy, but when I saw a Zinfandel labeled as such, and for just $11, I made my move. The wine was from Four Vines, an innovative winery launched by Christian Tietje in 1994. Since then, it has climbed to the top of our Zinfandel reviews with a cast of wines with eclectic names such at “The Maverick,” “The Sophisticate” and “The Biker.” Late last year, the winery was purchased by the Purple Wine Company, though Tietje is staying on as consulting winemaker for three more vintages.

The 2009 Old Vine Cuvee is a blend of purchased fruit from vineyards in Mendocino, Amador, Sonoma, Paso Robles and Lodi. The wine was brambly tasting, with dried raspberry and dried cherry flavors, with notes of savory herb and a hint of plum sauce. I rated it 86 points, non-blind, and it was a good match for the dinner of grilled steak, baked potatoes and steamed artichokes I shared with my mother.

WineSpectator.com members: Read blind-tasting reviews for earlier vintages of Four Vines Old Vine Cuvee.

• Plus, get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated Top Values among California Zinfandel, for $25 or less.

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