mewalk707 wrote:rpm, wonderful information as always. When you say "sound commercial wine", do you have any current examples of some of the more common varietals? I would be very interested to taste say a zinfandel that you consider to be characteristic for that varietal. I love most zins, but they can be so different (which is great, too) that sometimes it tastes like they are a completely different varietal. The other night I had a zin that tasted like I was spooning jam into my mouth. I enjoy fruit-forward but this was just waay too much.
Well, for Zin, you can't go wrong as sound examples of the varietal with Pedroncelli or Dry Creek (Northern Sonoma County, the place that has made excellent Zin for 120 years and provided the backbone of most California good (non Cabernet) dry red table wine for much of that time), Wellington (plugging Peter, but his Zins are really very good) in Sonoma Valley, or either Frogs Leap or Clos du Val in Napa. Those are all wines that are at least two cuts above 'sound commercial wine' but would be my current baseline for good, sound, well-made, not overly jammy, North Coast Zin. In Sonoma, you will also find Ravenswood makes good Zin and so does Gundlach Bundschu (though they're trying to get away from it, it sometimes seems, it was long their best red). In the 'sound commercial wine category, I would probably try BV (Beaulieu Vineyards - make sure you get the Napa Zin, not Coastal), Sebastiani (not what it used to be, but probably fine) or the lower end Ravenswood zins. The used to be a fine but reasonable Robert Mondavi Napa Zin, but it's no more. Clos du Bois, maybe (but it's been chancy). Others would disagree on individual choices. I've left out Scott Harvey, whose Zins are very good, too.