Over the holidays, I spent time with my family in my home state of California. Turkey loomed large on the menu, and I searched out a Zinfandel for the easy match. My cousin recommended her favorite wine, 7 Deadly Zins.
This well-priced red is from the Lodi region, southwest of Sacramento. Slowly but surely over the past decade or so, Lodi has begun to transform its image from a source of Central Valley plonk to more quality-oriented wines. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of this Zin, made by brothers Michael and David Phillips. Their family traces its roots in the Lodi region to the 1860s. During Prohibition, the family shipped grapes throughout the nation with instructions on how to turn them into wine.
In 1984, the brothers founded Michael David winery, whose lineup includes 7 Deadly Zins—the name refers to the first bottling of the wine, which tapped seven vineyards in Lodi—as well as wines such as Gluttony, Lust and Rapture. This big wine is ripe and richly flavored, with plenty of dark cherry and plum fruit as well as peppery and meaty overtones. The 2008 Zinfandel features dollops of Petite Sirah and Petit Verdot and chimes in at 15 percent alcohol. And because Lodi is still pretty much off the beaten path, this wine is reasonably priced at around $15 a bottle. I scored it 88 points, non-blind, and it proved a memorable quaff for the holiday table.
WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Michael & David Phillips Zinfandel Lodi 7 Deadly Zins Old Vine (86 points, $16).
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