Not Your Grandma’s White Zinfandel

Zinfandel has a bad rap from the rows of “white zin” lining the bottom shelves of grocery stores, but it produces some really delicious red wines and is quickly becoming one of our favorites. It is such an easy drink and super fruit forward without being sweet. You can have mildly fruity to complete jammy heaven and everything in between.

Originated in Europe but in our hearts (and mouths) California has truly perfected it. Wine growers also have a love hate relationship with this grape and often say they don’t like to grow it unless they can watch it from their bedroom window (she’s temperamental and can turn on you quick) but she will reward you with one of the loveliest drinks when ready.

Rombauer Zinfandel 2016

Holy Jam Bomb in the best possible way. This is one of my all time favorite Zinfandels because of how incredibly fruit forward it is and the silky finish it has. This is a bottle that I don’t even want to share with the hubs and could drink all to myself in a single sitting (this also never happens because it’s one of his favorites as well) Honestly, I don’t even pair this with anything other than a relaxing night after the babes is asleep and mama is ready for something special.

Before trying this I was convinced that I hated this varietal (granted it was also when I would only drink sugar bomb sangria’s and super sweet moscato). So if you’re like me and are convinced this isn’t for you but enjoy fruit forward wines give this a go! At only $35 a bottle this is a steal (in my humble opinion)

Storybook Mountain Eastern Exposures Zinfandel 2016

We’ve driven past this storybook like winery a handful of times while visiting Napa and have always wanted to try their wine. After doing a little research and talking to locals we found out they’re known for their Zinfandel… not only that but it’s all organic! Let me tell you, this wine is just as good as it was described!

I like to say that I think this is a Cabernet drinkers Zin! I have to say the color is absolutely beautiful and the first thing I noticed pouring it from the bottle 😍 With a 94pt rating this wine is silky, sleekly fruited and lightly tannic. This certainly isn’t the jam bomb type of zinfandel but it is a wine drinkers zin for sure! 🍷

Seghesio Old Vine Zinfandel 2015

When picking out this Zinfandel at the store it was the “old vine” that sold me. That and knowing 2015 was a good vintage year I knew this wine had to be good. The Seghesion family has vines that pre-date prohibition (impressive). I’ve heard the vines that survived prohibition produce some of the most elegant and complex wines today. That is definitely true with this bottle of Old Vine Zinfandel! 

This Seghesio Zinfandel is exactly what you would expect from a California Zinfandel in that it was wonderfully jammy with notes of dark berries. It was rich and well balanced with a long elegant finish. Talking about this wine is making me drool, I need to get another bottle to have on hand!

Michael David Winery Earthquake Zinfandel 2016

Ever shop for wine based on the prettiness of the label…guilty! The label on this wine caught my eye on the shelf, but I was surprised to find out the label actually has an interesting story behind it. This Zin comes from an old Lodi, CA vineyard planted around the same time of San Francisco’s great Earthquake of 1906. While deciding on a name it seemed fitting to name the wine after the historic earthquake.

This dark bold wine offers delightful flavors of jammy blackberry, plum and oak. The finish is long and filled with a slight spice and lots of dark fruit. I love this Zin because it’s bold enough to hold up to food, similar to a Cab, but it’s also smooth enough for sipping. Perfect for a cozy fall night by the fire!

Grgich Hills Estate Zinfandel 2014

Lately Zinfandel has been my go-to for all our BBQs, which is often. It’s so much easier to clean up from grilling than cooking inside! Zinfandel and BBQ are like peanut butter and jelly – a staple, and this did not disappoint. It took a while to open but once it did it was delicous and smooth. In the glass it’s a beautiful garnet color with a bold nose of dark fruit, and oak. Upon tasting it’s filled with flavors of black raspberry, plum, vanilla, and black pepper. This Grgich Hills Zin is definitely not as jammy as some of the other Zins on this list, it’s a bit closer to a Bordeaux style. For me that made it more of a wine to pair with food vs one to sip on.