I’m a Paso Robles Zinfandel fan, and I grabbed some popcorn as I prepared gleefully for the carnage. Paso Zins were going to kick some serious Napa butt, right? But as I read through the article – with horror, I might add – that was not to be. Not because Paso Zins were bad. They just weren’t invited to the party.
Oh, they weren’t left out completely. EOS 2007 Zinfandel - which is 15% Petit Sirah – and Candor with a NV Zin, were, like the new kids in the neighborhood who are a little strange and smell funny, just allowed to stand in the corner. They were nodded at, and their rich, influential brethren weren’t even considered. Kind of like how I choose ex-husbands.
I was stunned. There were 28 wines tasted, and the top ten spots were gobbled up largely by the Napa/Sonoma group. Don’t get me wrong…I know that they have good(ish) Zins up there. But geez, Snooth! What were you thinking!?!
I think I know what I’m talking about. While I can hardly expect for Snooth to taste wines that are largely unavailable to their massive audience, surely, outside of some of my favorite boutique wineries, there are some that have good Zinfandels. We are, after all, talking about Paso Robles, the über-Zinfandel hotspot.
Let’s look at some of the wineries they missed. Just for giggles.
How about Opolo Mountain Zin? How in the world did they miss that? I think that of all of the Zins that come out of Paso Robles, this is one of the people’s favorites. Rich, creamy, luscious, and fruity, Opolo turns out a great Zin consistently year after year. It’s available everywhere and is one of the few from Paso Robles that can be found outside of California. Because I’m a club member, I can say without hesitation that as good as it is, it’s not their best. They have several killer Zins.
Other Paso Robles names with Zins worthy of tasting and that are found outside of California include Tobin James Winery, Justin Vineyards & Winery, Four Vines, J.Lohr, Greg Norman, Peachy Canyon, and Turley (hear songs of angels), just to name a few.
As for the local, only-in-California-or-wine-club or otherwise limited distribution wineries, the choices are even more stunning. Hug Cellars – I’m sipping its 2007 El Magnifico (wine club only – neener neener neener) even as we speak – Villicana, Rotta, Thunderbolt, Anglim, Arroyo Robles, and Harmony, just to name a small drop out of the ocean of terrific Paso Robles Zins.
And they didn’t taste J. Dusi. You know the Holy Grail of Old Vine Zinfandel Grapes, owned and managed by Janell Dusi of Dusi Vineyards . Really? How can you miss that? I don’t get it. I think they’re Napafied. Sure, they threw in a Lodi and an Amador wine, but out of 28? To give a nod toward Napa’s really good Zinfandels (Paso Robles worthy), somehow Snooth also missed Howell Mountain Zins as well. How is that possible?!?
Doing a tasting of fine Zinfandels without including any of these wineries (and vineyards) is mind-boggling. That would be akin to doing a tasting of Pinot Noir without having any wines from the Russian River Valley or Oregon. Unthinkable.
I’m sure that I’ll get over it. I’m assuaging my indignation by sipping on this wonderfully rich, luscious, and layered Hug Cellars Zinfandel. From Paso Robles.
Did you hear that Snooth?
- Snooth’s Zinfandel Tasting – Their 10 Best (snooth.com)
- When Is a Zinfandel Not a Zinfandel? (vinessetoday.com)
- Wines of The Times: Zinfandel Steps Back From the Abyss (nytimes.com)
- Zin Time! (wannabewino.com)
- Zinfandel (winebookclub.org)