Winery & Tasting Room
Alameda Winery & Tasting Room

1951 Monarch Street, Hangar 25
Alameda, CA 94501

Tel (510) 452-1800

SF City View Patio open by reservation only

Indoor Tasting Room temporary closed

Wine Spectator

12 Spirited California Zinfandels

BY TIM FISH

Zinfandel lovers are a special breed, being so devoted to the signature California grape. They bicker about which regions and wineries make the greatest versions, and debate which Zinfandel style is best: bold and jammy or sleek and supple? But Zin fans of any stripe can find a bottle to enjoy in this week's selection of newly released reds.

Planted in the 1850s, Bucklin's Old Hill Ranch is one of the oldest vineyards in California. This grand Sonoma vineyard, which is planted to more than 30 grape varieties, is tended by Will Bucklin today. Bambino (Italian for "baby") is made from his youngest vines, planted in 2000, and its Zinfandel core was co-fermented with Petite Sirah and Alicante Bouschet. The wine shows old-school style with plump and briary berry flavors.

Dashe makes Zinfandel in a restrained style, refraining from too much ripeness and showy oak. The winery puts this on display with one of this week's top scorers, a spicy version with black cherry flavors. Winemaker Rene Calderon uses carbonic maceration to give the red extra richness without relying solely on barrel aging. Katie Madigan and her winemaking team at St. Francis never disappoint with their Zins, and they stand out again with their wild and ripe reserve wine. It combines Zinfandel grapes from both the valley floor and the hills of northern Dry Creek Valley. With a touch of Petite Sirah for color and oomph, the wine was aged for 20 months in French oak, 60 percent new.


DASHE
Zinfandel Mendocino County Les Enfants Terribles Mendocino Cuvée 2017

Score: 91 | $32

WS review: A distinctive red, with piquant spiciness that highlights lively black cherry, dried sage and green peppercorn accents. Drink now through 2027. 982 cases made.—T.F.

Click Here for more info on our 2017 Zinfandel, Mendocino Cuvée

BUCKLIN
Zinfandel Sonoma Valley Bambino Field Blend Old Hill Ranch 2018

Score: 91 | $24

WS review: An old-school Zin that's briary, jammy and plump, with blackberry and currant flavors highlighted by savory underbrush, licorice and smoke notes, leading to medium-grained tannins. Drink now through 2030. 989 cases made.—Tim Fish


ST. FRANCIS
Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley Reserve 2017

Score: 91 | $45

WS review: Wild and ripe black raspberry aromas, with briary sweet anise and white pepper flavors and toasty vanilla, finishing with zesty tannins. Drink now through 2027. 600 cases made.—T.F.


PETER FRANUS
Zinfandel Mount Veeder Brandlin Vineyard 2017

Score: 90 | $40

WS review: Balances an appealing briary quality with a sense of refinement, offering vibrant black cherry, pepper and mint flavors. Drink now through 2027. 905 cases made.—T.F.


HAWLEY
Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley Old Vine 2018

Score: 90 | $38

WS review: A brisk red, with wiry black cherry, espresso and smoky anise flavors that finish with zesty tannins. Drink now through 2026. 480 cases made.—T.F.

 

PRESTON
Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley 2018

Score: 90 | $38

WS review: Appealingly rustic and briary, with zesty cherry, smoky sage and cracked pepper flavors that finish with broad-shouldered tannins. Drink now through 2029. 750 cases made.—T.F.


SADDLEBACK
Zinfandel Calistoga Frediani Vineyard Old Vines 2018

Score: 90 | $48

WS review: Expressive black raspberry and licorice aromas open to briary cherry and peppered sage flavors that build speed toward fine-grained tannins. Drink now through 2026. 557 cases made.—T.F.


METTLER
Zinfandel Lodi Epicenter Old Vine 2018

Score: 89 | $25

WS review: Sleek and fruit-forward, with snappy black cherry, toasty spice and sweet anise flavors. Drink now through 2027. 3,035 cases made.—T.F.


OAKVILLE WINERY
Zinfandel Oakville 2018

Score: 89 | $28

WS review: A briary red, with snappy berry thicket, sweet anise and green peppercorn flavors that finish with refined tannins. Drink now through 2026. 750 cases made.—T.F.


THE FEDERALIST
Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley 2018

Score: 88 | $20

WS review: A zesty red, with up-front cherry and pepper flavors that finish with a slight nip of tannins. Drink now through 2026. 4,500 cases made.—T.F.

 

THE PRISONER WINE COMPANY
Zinfandel California Saldo 2018

Score: 87 | $32

WS review: A fruit bomb that's loaded with soft, ripe black raspberry and toasty oak flavors. Drink now. 70,000 cases made.—T.F.

 

SHOOTING STAR
Zinfandel Lake County 2018

Score: 87 | $15

WS review: Soft and jammy, with user-friendly raspberry jam and toasty pepper flavors. Drink now through 2024. 1,500 cases made.—T.F.

Tasting Reports Red Wines Zinfandel California Mendocino Napa Sonoma United States

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