The Wine Spectator announced today its 2010 Wine of the Year, and for the second year in the row, it comes from the United States. In a surprise, it didn’t come from the classic 2007 vintage of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, although two of those did find their way into the top five. Instead, it went to a wine from a much lesser known but surely up and coming appellation, Paso Robles. The honor went to Saxum’s James Berry Vineyard 2007, a $70 Rhone style blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mouvedre. Sadly, with a production of only 950 cases, it will be difficult if not impossible to find by tomorrow morning. However, there is no shame in exploring that promising region for less expensive, high quality productions with wider distribution. With the Thanksgiving holiday approaching, Pinot Noirs and light-bodied Zinfandels are always the best pair for the lighter meat, cranberry dressings and spicy baked desserts that this season is famous for. I stumbled upon a great example of young, juicy but very refined Zinfandel from Paso Robles recently, and it seems an appropriate choice to feature this month.

Four Vines Zinfandel The Biker Paso Robles 2008, 92 Points, $25, 4800 Cases Produced- Elegant aromas of juicy raspberry and black cherry fruit combine above notes of coffee bean and vanilla. Delicate, polished mouthfeel is light on the palate and shows an explosion of violety fruit, blueberry, cherry, licorice and wild berry that evolves into a complex backbone of toasty oak and black pepper spice. Earthy undertones creep in late and carry impressively through the long, spicy finish.

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