As the year nears its end, I began looking back upon all of the wines I have featured over the previous ten months, and I noticed that one varietal had gone greatly overlooked. Zinfandel is a grape that is as American as it gets; while Italy’s Primitivo is its genetic equivalent, no one tries to make Zinfandel anywhere besides in California, and if they did, they surely wouldn’t be able to duplicate its breadth of flavors. Ranging from dark, chewy and spicy to bright, acidic and fruity, Zinfandel seems to have it all, and is always a favorite of mine with grilled meats and even with pizza. There are literally thousands of Zinfandels to try in the California area, and while wineries like Ridge, Mauritson, Sbragia and Martinelli make consistent examples year after year, there are two wineries, both in the Healdsburg area, that define great Zinfandels, producing several fantastic offerings each vintage from their various vineyards. One is Rosenblum, and the 2003 Rockpile Road Zinfandel that I tasted on Christmas Eve of 2005 is one of many bottles that sparked my interest in this seemingly endless world of wine and took it to another level. The other is Seghesio, one of the oldest vineyards in California. Their 2007 Sonoma Zinfandel is the best example they have ever made of their flagship wine, and the results were outstanding in their other vineyards across the vineyards. Before they are gone, be sure to scoop up what you can find of my choice for November’s Wine of the Month, another Seghesio Zinfandel from that vintage that was released earlier this year:


SEGHESIO ZINFANDEL ALEXANDER VALLEY HOME RANCH 2007, 91 Points, $35, 2400 cases made

Rustic wild berry fruit aromas. Very pretty, with dark plum, berry and black licorice flavors above tons of black pepper spice. Long, long finish with peppery spice lingering and cinnamon notes adding complexity.

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