Matt Walker

Location: Northridge, CA

I am a Certified Specialist of Wine and uncertified Wine Geek! As a Snoother, I hope to raise awareness for smaller, lesser-known but quality driver producers. Major regions I specialize in include Washington, California, Tuscany, Bordeaux, and the Douro

Wines Less Traveled: Zinfandel

Another "less traveled" list this time focusing on my favorite "just open a bottle and enjoy" varietal.  Zinfandel is versitile, easy to drink, and yet can produce elegant and complex wines.  Also as a native Californian I feel a certain pride and attachment to this grape...even if it's actually from Croatia

Rank Wine Rating Price
1 Chase Zinfandel St. Helena Hayne Vineyard (2007)
Comments: As with Napa Cabs the '07 Vintage seems to be great for 100 year old Zin Vines! Complex nose of cedar, blackberries and blueberries. This zin is well structured with more tannins than you might be used to. Flavors of ripe blackberries and spice give way to nice subtle oak and a very long finish.
Previously available for $44.99
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2 Sobon Estate Primitivo Amador County Rezerve (2008)
Comments: A wonderful balance between rustic and soft, jammy and spicy, boldness and elegance. Blackberries, cloves, black pepper, and blueberry liqueur. The 15% alcohol works well in this wine and is not overbearing.
Previously available for $24.00
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3 Stephen & Walker Winery Zinfandel Dry Creek (2007)
Comments: A very unique wine for two main reasons. One is the fact that this Zin has a lot more structure and tannin than your average fruit bomb but in a very good way. That structure supports a lot of great flavors from creme de framboise, boysenberry jam, and black berries to black peppery, tobacco and (this is the second) smoke. No not the "smoke-like" woody flavors you get with most wines this is honest to goodness smoke.
Previously available for $29.99
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4 Scott Harvey Wines Vineyard 1869 Zinfandel (2007)
Comments: Quite an intriguing Zin, and who doesn't want to say they've had a wine made from the oldest vineyard (officially at least) in California? Lots of dark red fruit and nice lively acidity. This took a lot longer to really open up than most zins but the evolution in the glass was quite nice. After a bit spices started to creep in with tiny hints of sweet tobacco and cedar. Long finish and nice balance.
Previously available for $55.00
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5 St. Amant Marian's Vineyard Old Vine Zinfandel (2008)
Comments: While I tend toward the more reserved, spicy "dry creek" style Zin, I do also love a good jam fest. This zin was just plain enjoyable. Not terribly complex but tons of chewy dark fruit, some oak, and a hedonistic mouth feel. It went great with grilled tri-tip
Previously available for $24.00
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  • 487825echurnetski Try the Predator Old Vine Zin from Lodi - bacon fat and blackberry pie :) a truly hedonistic party for your taste buds!

  • 842795Matt Walker Will do! and I might have to steal your "hedonistic party for your taste buds! " line

  • 847804EMark I am currently sipping a glass of Di Arie 2006 Shenandoah Valley Zin. It is very very good. C.G. Di Arie is one of those "off the radar" producers (probably because they are "geographically undesirable" being from the Gold Country and not the favored Napa/Sonoma area) that consistently impresses me. Beware, though, nothing subtle about their wines.

  • 842795Matt Walker I'm a big fan Di Arie, haven't had there stuff in a while though, good to know they're still going strong!

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