We all have our favorites. I find a really good California Cabernet hard to beat, but often the price of a “good one” puts it out of reach for more than just the occasional drink. I end up trying a bunch of bad ones, my frustration builds, and to restore my faith in reasonably-priced red wine, I open a bottle of Zinfandel. This has been the pattern of my wine exploration for more than 20 years!
Zinfandel, particularly old vine Zin, tends to be a more consistent red wine at generally affordable prices, compared to Cabernet. The other side of this is, there are fewer truly outstanding ones, so I always strive to review those that do stand out, such as the 2017 Dry Creek Heritage Vines Zinfandel.
Dry Creek Vineyard is one of the few remaining family-owned wineries in California, with more than 45 years of grape growing and winemaking experience. Founder David Stare began the winery in the late 1960s with a single-minded effort to offer the highest quality wine possible at a reasonable price. Dave realized that the success of the winery hinged upon providing that “something special” in the bottle to keep customers coming back for more, and this year’s finish in the Wine Spectator Top 100 Wines of the Year is proof that his initial vision has succeeded.
I really like the 2017 Heritage Vines Zin because it over-delivers on flavor for the price (around $20 locally). This wine offers lush red fruit, brown sugar, and sweet tobacco aromas. It’s got layers of tangy raspberry and dark cherry flavors, followed by dark chocolate, coffee, and spice, and a finish that goes on and on.
On my five-cork scale based on taste and value, the 2017 Heritage Vines Zinfandel from Dry Creek Vineyard gets a solid four corks. Find it everywhere for around $22, and often less. Look for the label with the sailboats – you won’t regret it.
If you’d like to try interesting wines like this, please join me at our next private wine party at Eighteen the Radisson Cincinnati Riverfront Hotel’s rotating steakhouse in the sky! I host a wine dinner there every month, and we feature several interesting wines, each paired with a delicious course. There are always cool prizes to win, too, so listen Wednesday at 4:15 to win your spot on the guest list, or click here for a chance to win!