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Executive editor Thomas Matthews joined Wine Spectator in 1988. His tasting beat is Spain.
Thomas Matthews

A California Red that Marries Refinement and Exuberance at Meadowood

Outpost Zinfandel Howell Mountain 2007

Thomas Matthews
Posted: July 7, 2010

I enjoyed many fine meals during a week in California in June, but the most refined, complex food and the most complete dining experience was delivered by the Restaurant at Meadowood.

The setting and service are serene and polished, a classically wine-country ambience of casual sophistication. It’s a perfect canvas for chef Christopher Kostow and his team, a harmonious setting for the menu’s highly worked, yet beautifully harmonious dishes.

Yet it’s not all whispers. On my tasting menu, the main course of suckling pig offered the meat in four variations, accompanied by three kinds of seaweed from Mendocino, and striking salted cherries. Bold flavors ranged from savory to gamy to sweet—delicious but, I feared, a difficult match for wine.

Sommelier Rom Toulon, choosing from an 11,000-bottle cellar stocked with 1,100 labels, had no problem: a big, juicy Zinfandel from Howell Mountain. The 2007 Outpost was a fruit bomb, yet deep and intense, with tar and licorice accents. It was great with the dish, and especially clicked with those salted cherries. I rated it 93 points, non-blind.

WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Outpost Zinfandel Howell Mountain 2007 (91, $45).

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

Don Rauba
Schaumburg, IL —  July 8, 2010 11:12am ET
I've found most 2007 zins to be remarkable, overall, and can't wait to open this one at home. But the WS scores haven't borne this out (despite a clain by Tim Fish that it was the best zin vintage in 30-40 years???). It strikes me that you found this Outpost zin more appealing than TF did. A different example is that I found Klinker Brick's Old Ghost to be far more exciting than its lackluster WS 85pt score suggests. Caramelly aromas & complexities of Armagnac make it really special, plus a refined, nearly endless finish. I'd be genuinely interested in what your non-blind score would be for that one, Thomas.
Delmonico Stkhse @ Venetian
Las Vegas, Nevada —  July 15, 2010 10:16pm ET
I have to agree with you Tom. Outpost is one of my two favorite Zin producers in California. Everything that Thomas Brown touches up there turns out pretty special. Love it, love it, love it.

See you in Vegas for the big event...


Kevin M. Vogt, Master Sommelier
Wine Director, Emeril's Restaurants Las Vegas

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