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Monday, January 25, 2016

Where to get your Zinfandel fix in Sonoma County

Zinfandel, Sonoma County's grape. Okay, other areas of the state grow it too, but Sonoma is really home to Zin and Dry Creek Valley is Zin Central. There are lots of great Zinfandels from other parts of the county, but this list will concentrate on Dry Creek Valley.

Old vines at Lytton Springs, Dry Creek Valley
Following are recommendations for starting your Zinfandel search in Sonoma County. Many Zins are done as a high alcohol fruity wine (with alcohol content of 15% or higher). I've tried to cover good producers in all styles so you can decide for yourself.

All are open to the public daily, except as noted, and are in Dry Creek Valley.

David Cofaro. He's mostly about blends. Mostly soft, approachable, and balanced. He's got a style you might just love.

Dry Creek Vineyards. One of the old-time producers (if you consider the 1970s the old days). Still making solid, ageable Zinfandel. Their Heritage Zin is one of the better deals around.

Mazzocco. One of the big boys, in that the wines are big in fruit and alcohol. They make about a zillion different Zins.

Mauritson. Though located in Dry Creek Valley they're all about a small growing area called Rockpile. This area, in the hills north of Dry Creek Valley, puts out some excellent Zinfandel.

Nalle. When I think of food friendly I think of Nalle. Small, family owned, and not open every day. A hidden gem.

Pedroncelli. Looking for bang-for-the-buck? This is your place. Outstanding wines at outstanding prices from nice people.

Preston. He's a small producer and you can only get the wines here. Worth searching out because the wines are great.

Quivira. A high-quality producer who really cares about the land. A nice setting. Wander through the gardens while you're there.

Ridge / Lytton Springs. A top Zin producer for many decades making lots of different Zins--many of them can age for years. You'll find at least a few to like.

Seghesio. They've been making Zinfandel since forever and make several.

Wilson. The Gold Standard for the jammy, red fruit, higher alcohol style of Zin. You have to try them once. The winery can be pretty crazy on weekends as they are very popular.

In Preston's tasting area

It was difficult to limit this list as there are so many great Zinfandels in Dry Creek. You'll also find them in Alexander Vly, Russian River Vly, and Sonoma Vly. Plus there is outstanding Zinfandel produced from the Rockpile appellation though there are no wineries there. Zinfandel is grown almost everywhere in Sonoma County except the coolest areas of Sonoma Coast and Carneros.