This wine has a lovely dark garnet color with well-defined legs once swirled. On the nose I get lively aromas of black raspberry and white pepper and a tickling in the nose from the alcohol (15.6%). Initially, I was getting hints of brettanomyces, but that seems to have blown off. In the mouth one gets a nice fresh flavor of dark fruits, spice (pepper, primarily), and bright acid backed with a nice tannic structure. The good balance of fruit, spice and acid lingers on the finish. I've tasted this wine on three occasions with very consistent results. This was a $15 bargain at Trader Joe's (retailed for $45). The 2006 Beatty Ranch Zin is not of the same caliber.
This perennial favorite zin has a nice dark cherry color. Although it's a little cold having just been brought up from the storage area beneath my house the nose gives off blackberries, cherries and a complex spice blend of white pepper, nutmeg and cloves. Oh yes, and you can smell the alcohol, but the aromatic nature of the wine makes the alcohol not as pronounced as it could be at 15.8%! Surprisingly devoid of tannins, the taste of this wine is dominated by cherry and dark berry fruit and much less spice than I expected from the aromas. On the finish, the alcohol creates a burning effect on the tongue, but there is also fruit that lingers. I would have expected to detect more acid than I'm getting, but I think the alcohol is masking that. This is not as sweet as some of Ridge's late picked wines, which have significant residual sugar and alcohol. The grapes come from the Paso Robles area and were picked at a high sugar content which fermented efficiently providing a high alcohol, low RS wine. I like it, but with I were drinking it with lamb instead of pizza.s
Having lived in Northern California for 25 years, I've had an ever-increasing interest in wine (especially red) and wine-food pairings. My favorite varietals are Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah from Sonoma and Napa, Pinot Noir from Oregon, and Bordeaux, Burgundy and Rhone wines from France.