I've been buying zins direct from California since the 90's. I started with Turley and added Carlisle. I'm at a place where I'm only gonna buy from one.  Turley has been at it forever but I've found Carlisle to be a little cheaper and more consistent year-in and year-out.  Parker (or what was Parker) seems to like Turley and the WS seems to favor Carlisle.  I know there are other good producers, but they don't seem to last. Think Ridge and Rosenblum. Carlisle has a lot of old-vine vineyards with old grape varietals co-mingled with the zin. Maybe that makes them a little more interesting.  

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I’m not into Zin anymore. When I was really into Zin, Martinelli was my favorite but was also the most expensive. Carlisle was second. Turley was third (for its top wines); Robert Biale was fourth and Ridge was fifth...

HOWEVER — at the end of my interest in these sorts of wines, the only one I still really appreciated was Rafanelli. I haven’t had one in years, though. 

more fundamentally - how do you like your zins?  restrained & claret like or big hedonistic fruit bombs (to quote someone else).  I used to hate zins because all i ever had was the latter.  then i tried the former (the field belnds in particular) and fell in love.  In the claret style:


1. Ridge

2. Carlisle/Bedrock (tie)

and honorable mention to Scherrer.  I understand that the Turley's have shifted from fruit bombs to claret style under Tegan but havent tried one.

Nothing wrong with Turley, but my favorite Zins have been Rafanelli, Ridge, and Carlisle. 

Turley—I’ve only had a few, slightly more than half a dozen, and most have been good to excellent, with one disappointment several years ago.

Rafanelli—I’ve had multiple bottles of most vintages since 2000;  consistently very good; I’ve never been disappointed.

Ridge—I’ve had numerous vintages of various bottlings.  Although you sometimes get what you pay for with the cheaper bottles, I’ve been very happy with the vast majority of the ones I’ve had.

Carlisle—my experience is limited to half a dozen bottles or so, but every one has been very good.

Bedrock—I’ve only had a handful, but they’ve tended to be a bit too dark, earthy & brooding for my tastes, although several of my friends love them.

Martinelli—usually huge and extracted style.  When it works, they can be delicious, but I’ve had too many that were overripe, pruney, and/or hot alcoholic on the finish.

Saxum—a little bit like Martinelli, perhaps less often too overripe, but not my favorite style, particularly at the price point.


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