5 to Try: A Zinfandel for Everyone - Imbibe Magazine Subscribe + Save

5 to Try: A Zinfandel for Everyone

In the March/April 2021 issue, Chasity Cooper explores the rise, fall, and rise again of Zinfandel. Among the people she interviews is Cara Patricia, sommelier and co-founder of DECANTsf, who “believes there should be more discussions about the different styles of Zinfandel that can be big and bold, easy-drinking, or experimental and unusual,” writes Cooper. Here, in her own words, Patricia shares five bottle recs that any type of wine drinker can appreciate.

Turley 2018 “Cedarman” Zinfandel, Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California, USA I love the Turley ‘Cedarman’ because it has all of the big, bold Turley charm but this very cool blue-fruit and big structure thanks to the higher-elevation vineyards on Howell Mountain. I think we’re so used to thinking about Zinfandel as something that only comes from hot valleys, that we forget there are a lot of ageable styles of Zin out there. Turley is a perennial DECANTsf favorite, and we just love showing this burley side of Zin to folks. $42, leonandsonwine.com

Bodkin Wines NV ‘Hotspur Cuvée’ Sparkling Rosé, North Coast, California, USA Being made mostly of Zinfandel with a little Syrah, Albariño, and Chenin blended in, the Hotspur Cuvee by Bodkin Wines is a fun, refreshing, and a “no duh” pairing for a variety of foods. We love popping a bottle of the Hotspur Cuvee Rosé whenever we order from cult Creole soul food pop-up Voodoo Love. The first time I paired Chef Eva Morris’ crawfish étouffée and spiced baby back ribs with this wine, I was in heaven. Made in the Charmat method, this bubbly is full of the mixed-berry fruit aromas we love so much from zin, and it has a juicy palate that is just so damn delicious. His still zinfandels are fantastic, too, but our DECANTsf clients can’t get enough of this rosé! $25, decantsf.com

Maître de Chai “Stampede Vineyard’ Zinfandel, Lodi CA This is a FINE WINE. One day MdC is going to be so renowned that we won’t even be able to get it, so I’ve made sure to get every vintage and hold a few bottles back for the future. This wine is built on a strong foundation of balanced tannin, acidity, and ripeness and can easily go the distance. I love drinking aged Zinfandel, and thanks to the meticulous winemaking and obvious inspiration that Paul Draper had on winemakers Alex Pitts and Marty Winters, I know these bottles are going to be as knee-weakening in 20 years as any other world-class aged zin you find on Michelin-starred restaurant lists now. $32.99, wine.com

Monte Rio Primitivo Carbonic young vine primitivo clones interplanted with 60+-year-old zinfandel vines in the Mokulumne River AVA of Lodi—this is young, fun, and poundable with a slight chill. An ultimate pizza wine at a fantastic price, it harkens back to the “old-school cool” that California used to be known for (meaning low-ABV, no sulfur added, letting the fruit do its own thing). This minimal-intervention project coming from Pax Mahle and Patrick Capiello always keeps us on our toes and gives us something to talk about! We just featured the Primitivo in our February Bottle Club and have gotten so many reorders already! $23, decantsf.com

Onward 2017 Zinfandel, Kenmar Vineyard, Redwood Valley, Mendocino, California, USA This is my favorite of winemaker Faith Armstrong’s lineup at Onward. Zinfandel from Mendocino is a completely different feel: fresh, vibrant, all red fruit, dried flower petals, and light herbaceousness with a zippy acidity and an almost Pinot-like silkiness. I love giving guests who think they’re Zinfandel-adverse a taste of the Onward version. It changes their tune every time! $35.99, flatiron-wines.com

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