Skip to main content

I'm looking for some recommendations from the group here on both high end zins worth cellaring and those for daily consumption. Red only please! [Razz]

I just recently tried the Rancho Zabaco Dancing Bull. Very nice for the price.

My favorite thus far is from Frank Family, 1999. Of course, all Ridge Zins are wonderful....

Cardinal Zin is my tongue-in-cheek wine choice. Actually quite good, and you can't beat the humor.
Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

My personal experience is that most zins start fading (some faster than others) around their 5th b-day so I caution you about cellaring 'long-term'. That being said, my favorite zins have been:

'99 Rancho Zabaco Chiotti Vnyd. - $18
'97-'99 Cline Contra Costa County Ancient Vines, Bridgehead, and Big Break Vnyds. - $18-27
'97 St. Francis Old Vine -$24
'97 Ridge Paso Robles Late Picked - $28
'96 Ridge Lytton Springs - $26
'95 Villa Mt. Eden Grand Reserve - $17
'98 Renwood 'Jackrabbit Flat' Zin - $28
'97 Coppola Edizione Pennino Zin - $39 (excellent stuff!)
'99 Jewel Zinfandel - Lodi $10
'97 V. Sattui Howell Mtn. Zinfandel - $24

I've not had any Turley or Martinelli, but from what I read herein they produce excellent juice!

BTW - If you like Zin you might also try Petite Syrah. Very Zin like (by some producers) and more ageworthy (again, by some producers).

Forgot to add: '99 Frog's Leap Zin is wonderful, and just about any of the vineyard-specific bottlings from Renwood.

[ 07-01-2002, 09:49 AM: Message edited by: kybo ]
We recently had a Zinfandel competition tasting and many wines were tasted to select my entry. Below are a few of the wines and partial notes.

The first entries are those that are not substantially oaked. I enjoy the marraige of oak and Zin, so it doesn't offend me, but others prefer fruit purity.

2000 Brown Estate Napa Valley Zinfandel, $34.99

Filling in the middle is vanilla with a touch of sweetness and chocolate while maintaining the strong fruit. It finishes long with raspberry, pepper spice and coffee.

1999 Ravenswood Dickerson Vineyard Zinfandel, $38.99

It displays a nose of chalk and berries. The initial taste brashly hits the palate with berries then spins into eucalyptus, mint, and pepper spice. A moment before I began thinking this may be a bit too weird, it unveils vibrant black cherry that rings loud and long into and through the finish.

1999 Hartford Fanucchi-Wood Road Vineyard, Russian River Zinfandel, $32

Black cherries greet the initial taste with pepper spice, then hazelnut expanding into a sustantial finish.

1999 Ravenswood Old Hill Sonoma County Zinfandel, $34.99

Ready yourself for booming fruit with breathtaking black pepper, hazelnut and chocolate. The middle is huge with the finish lockstep behind.

And now for some wood. If oak offends you, stay away from these. I absolutely loved the Rosenblum Lyons Vineyard.

1999 Rosenblum Napa Valley Lyons Vineyard Zinfandel, $28.99

This baby really performs in the middle. After a start of rich, sweet raspberry it gives way to a complex, hedonistic middle of port, milk chocolate, vanilla, and pepper.

1999 Downing 'Fly By Night' Oakville Zinfandel, $34.99

Passages of spice, dark berry fruit, coffee, and chocolate play again and again.

1999 Hendry Block 7 Napa Valley Zinfandel $27.99

Dark red raspberry, prune, and oak dominate the nose. Toss in some spice for the start and chocolate for the middle.
As already mentioned, Turley is excellent, as is Brown Estate, and Ridge. A few others I would reccommend:

- Downing Family
- Savannah-Chanelle (avoid the '98, but the 99 is excellent, as is the 2000 which should be out shortly)
- Howell Mountain Vineyards, (all three bottlings are excellent, Beatty Ranch being my favorite)
- Hanna, Bismark Ranch Zin
- Marietta produces some great juice for the price (~$10)
- Rosenblum, you can't go wrong with any of his numerous bottlings
- Peachy Canyon, Avoid the "Eastside", but I would reccommend all the other bottlings, particularly the Mustang Ranch

The Kunde Century Vines are a great deal (under $20). I'm still working through the case of the 1998 (yep... the 1998) I bought.

I am also a big Hendry fan. The 1999 Block 7 Zin is a beautiful and soft Zin. The block 28 is a big powerhouse. If you like BIG Zins, the Block 28 is a must !!

If you have trouble finding some, email me ( and I may be able to help.

Cheers !

[ 07-01-2002, 10:49 AM: Message edited by: JO ]
So many zins, so little time...

Reading this thread prompted a question...

Zin seems to come in a couple of different styles...the big, jammy, monster that jumps out of the glass, opens up your mouth, and POURS ITSELF INTO YOU!...or the more restrained, "elegant," style.

I guess there may be some intermediate styles
between the two extremes, too.

For those recommending here...what's your preference in style? This may help guide future purchases [Big Grin]

Here's a link to a TN on a Rosenblum Zin (Richard Suaret Vineyard '99) I tried recently.;f=1;t=002314

On a recent trip to California, I sampled a lot of Zinfandels that favored finesse over power.

However, I really enjoyed a '99 reserve Zinfandel from Pezzi King in the Dry Creek region. The regular Zin was more balanced...the reserve had more oomph, well worth the extra $5 ($22 vs. $27).
Many of these have already been noted:
Ravenswood vyd-designated
Lytton Springs

In general the appellations to look for are Dry Creek Vly, Howell Mtn & Amador Co.

Also, the 99s are very nice and should age well. I've had a number of 15+ yr old Zins that were quite nice (Lytton Springs & Rafanelli come to mind). I routinely drink 'em 10-12 yrs old. That doesn't mean all Zins will age well. And it depends on the style you are looking for. But with the right fruit/tannin/acid balance they can go for awhile.
Jones: Sorry to hear that the Carlisle Syrah did not meet your expectations. I had the '99 Syrah in blind tasting a couple months ago and would rate it as a solid 93+ point wine. It was ranked as the best wine by all 6 people in our tasting group (ahead of a '97 Ojai Roll Ranch Syrah, '96 Chapoutier Cote Rotie, '96 Orlando Lawson's Shiraz, and a '00 ADW Hattrick). For some reason, I felt obliged to come to its defense. [Smile]

Ridge yi/yo is best producer of available quality Zin.
Martinelli is probably the best less available quality name, which I hope to get my hands on.

97 is better than 99 which has disappointed me. However many 00 are awful in comparison. More and more this varietal tastes like a disjointed fruit bomb. The best 99 I've had are the Hendry's both blocks; interestingly unrated ? not tasted by WS/WA
Wow! Neat to see a lot of people having the same tastes in the same producers: Martinelli, Rafanelli, Rosenblum, etc.

Some Zins that we like:

2000 Cedarville Sierra Foothills
1999 Meeker Four Kings
1998 Pezzi-King Old Vine
1999 Quivira Tambellini Vineyard
1999 Signorello Luvisi Vineyard (quite nice!)
2000 Villa Toscano Fox Creek (also have a Shenandoah Valley)
1997 Zahtila Napa Valley Estate
1999 Zahtila Sonoma County Old Vine

The nice thing about Zahtila is that they specialize in Zins. They are coming out with a Cabernet Sauvignon in the very near future. In fact their release party is July 20th and they'll release the 2000s and their Cab at that time.
There have been a few mentions of Rosenblum in this thread already, but I thought I'd add my two cents. I particularly like the Rosenblum Planchon, Rockpile, Harris Kratka, and Annette's Reserve zins. They are all very good wines (and the 2000s are better than a lot of other producers' 2000 zins), pretty available (at least around here), and reasonably priced between $15-20. I've posted notes on a few different Rosenblums; a search should turn them up.
Anybody have TN's on the following wines? Both found in a local wine shop for $28.99.

Hendry's Block 28, 1997
Hendry's Block 7, 1998

JO already alluded to the power of the block 28 (’99), which is appealling. I’m hoping it’s the same for the ‘97’s. Anybody try either of these? Sounds like the ’97 might be worth picking up!
MMMGuy, you are doing the right thing. 1997 was a fickle year in Napa for Zin, unlike Cabs. I'd suggest calling the winery. They are lovely folks and will give you honest opinions about the different vintages. Also, the prices seem a bit high. You should be able to get both the 1999 Block 7 & 28 for less than that.

Personally, I'd go straight for the 1999's.

Cheers !

[ 07-03-2002, 03:45 PM: Message edited by: JO ]
Thanks for the assessment, JO. I'll check it out with the winery.

I wouldn't doubt the high markups in NYC. This wine shop tends to be pricey, but does have a few harder-to-find, usually higher-end wines. It's the first time I'd seen Hendry on the shelves. Bet you have it available by the truckload out there in northern CA!!

Add Reply

Link copied to your clipboard.