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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

A Burly California Zin to Jumpstart the Week

Four Vines Zinfandel Amador County Maverick 2007

Tim Fish
Posted: March 15, 2010

Monday is the dreariest night of the week. The weekend’s good food and wine are a fuzzy memory. Monday is about surviving until Tuesday; Monday is about ad hoc dinners and Sunday leftovers. That’s why I like drinking a big, ornery Zinfandel on Mondays. For me it’s not a night for a dignified wine experience; I want easy adventure. I want a hellcat wine in a glass.

Leftover beef stew was on the menu on a recent gloomy Monday night, so I opened a Four Vines Maverick 2007 because I knew winemaker Chris Tietje has a talent for jamming his wines with personality. In the past, he has gone over the top with high alcohol levels, but in recent vintages Tietje has tamed the ripeness while retaining the pizzazz. The Maverick 2007 is 14.9 percent alcohol—big, but reasonable by Zin standards—and priced at $25, so it’s a decent value.

The grapes come from the Sierra Foothills east of San Francisco, specifically Shenandoah Valley in Amador County, and many of the vines are 100 years old or older. Tietje adds a touch of Syrah to fill in the holes, and the result is a burly red that is distinctive for its firm and briary blackberry, tar and earthy, loamy flavors. This is not a wine from Napa or Sonoma—and it shows. Drunk with the rich stew, the tannins turned open and fleshy, and I liked it even better than when I originally reviewed it. This time, I rated it 91 points, non-blind.

WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Four Vines Zinfandel Amador County Maverick 2007 (89, $25).

• Plus, get our quick list of Top Values among California Zinfandel.

Anthony Dixon
Atlanta, GA —  March 15, 2010 10:20am ET
Hey Tim,
Have you any notes yet on the 2008 Biker from Four Vines?
Tim Fish
Santa Rosa, CA —  March 15, 2010 10:56am ET
Not yet Anthony but I'll be reporting on them soon. Thanks for reading.
Anthony Dixon
Atlanta, GA —  March 15, 2010 4:42pm ET
The guys at Four Vines seem to be doing everything right these days, huh?
John Sgarlata
Brookfield,Wisconsin —  March 16, 2010 5:04pm ET
I recently visited Four Vines on a out of state Harley
trip.I went there with my friends from Studio City CA.They were already sold out of many of their wines,including the "Biker".Which made me feel really good as,I secured a case from my local wine store.I think they are really doing a great job with their wines.I also liked there Zin and Syrah Ports.
Now an off question of couriosity....when your're sitting with James,how close are your scores when you test??
Tim Fish
Santa Rosa, CA —  March 16, 2010 5:49pm ET
Anthony, they do seem to be on a winning streak. John, James and I see remarkably eye-to-eye.

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