A Question for Zin Fans

I have a question about style. What is your favorite? It seems like most of the Zin fans here like them pretty big and burly. Is the light and fruitly Zin dead? Some people seem to think so. So, what are your favorite Zin attributes? What do you like the least?
I would have posted a poll, but I didn’t want to be restrictive.


high-octane blackberry jam.

Bright raspberry/ cherry/ strawberry, with some nice spice and good acidity. Oh, and not too much new wood.

Ravenswood before the sold… early 90s. Each site showed something different, but they all shared bramble, earth and good fruit, but not over the top disgusting fruit. If I want cough syrup I’ll go get Robitussin…

Good question. I don’t really have a preference, I like both styles. That being said, the one thing I HATE when drinking a Zin is when I get any sort of Prune notes. Either on the nose or the palate (this usually happens though, with the bigger ones as they age, for me at least.) The second I get any sort of Prune in the wine, it immediately becomes undrinkable to me. I do, however, love spice in my Zins…

+1 I really don’t care for the big ripe style, but Red fruits and acidity and you have a winner.

Scherrer and a lot of the Swan zins

I love the brambly dark fruit flavors along with some higher toned red fruits. Minerality is important as is acidity; new oak is fine with the “bigger” styles as long as everything is in BALANCE.

Some that I like:

  • Scherrer (Old & Mature Vines)
  • Nalle
  • Radio-Coteau (pricey and it might be discontinued)
  • Swan
  • Four Vines
  • Seghesio
  • Ridge
  • Renwood (past vintage, winemaker might have left recently)
  • St. Francis

Still haven’t tried…shoot…forget the name, but I know a few people talk about it here.

Oh yea, Carlisle! [tease.gif]

No jam, no heat, and no excess of Petite Sirah ruining what is supposed to be a wine with rustic and brambly flavors. (Note that this has nothing to do with alcohol content, plenty of 16+ Turleys satisfy these criteria for me). A happy medium, in other words. (Unlike how I like my Cabs, which I prefer to be big bruisers).

  • High-end Turley (their lower-end stuff is blah)
  • Bucklin
  • Joseph Swan
  • Ridge
  • Not really much else, too much crap Zin being made these days, I’ve mostly abandoned it (no I don’t like Carlisle or Seghesio, too much PS leaking through).

exactly the opposite.

i prefer light, feminine-styled, lovely fruit and that great Zin nose, minimal heat and acidity for aging. keep the EtOH manageable please.

Like many styles but I agree with Yoni, prune is no good. Also wood. Nothing worse than a woody zin.

I like balance and a little structure – my favorites are Carlisle, Rafanelli, and Ridge. I can appreciate Turley but it’s just not my style.

What Yoni said, with plenty of pepper notes. Some of my favorites lately have been zins showing bright red fruit like Scherrer. Old vine Zin is like dope to me.

balance…I really like the rich black/blue fruits, but I also like decent acid and structure…if you can combine those things, that is the best…from around Paso, I really like Nadeau, Ancient Peaks, Minassian-Young, Four Vines (particularly the Sophisticate, which I believe is the Sonoma fruit), Dover Canyon, and Caparone…the ones I don’t really like are the Opolo zins

this is my preference, but I do sometimes like other styles as well (as reflected in my list below). Another way of putting it is that I prefer Syrah-like Zins.

As much as the Paso wineries seem to think Paso does Zin well, my palate generally disagrees (of course, with some requisite exceptions). Overall, I think I lean towards Sonoma Zins (and a glance at my CT scores for Zins actually bears this out quite clearly), but my favorites are from a selection of areas.

The “favorite” ones I can think of off the bat:
’04 Rubicon “Edizione Pennino” – very much in the “brambly dark fruit” category
Seghesio “regular” Zin
Turley’s Uebberoth
Turley’s Atlas Peak
Turley’s Cedarman
(although I’ve heard a report that the '07 lacks the distinct pepper note that I love about this bottling)
’05 Dover Canyon - Old Vine Benito Dusi (this vintage, in particular, struck me as being amazingly similar to the '04 Rubicon)
’05 Caymus – this was a big surprise to me b/c I never hear anyone talk about their Zin … fact is, they make a damn good one. (to be fair, I should disclose that they did put a whopping 21% P.S. into it)

Anything Rafanelli makes, especially the 2007.

I like all kinds of zins except the Pruny Port-ish Rombauer type.
As long as they are well balanced, nice black fruits, some pepper and a bit of bacon fat. They can be big or not so big, depends on what I’m in the mood for.
Some that come to mind: Hartford, Valdez Rockpile, Outpost, Brown Estate, Gamba, Lamborn.

Is that your thumbs up or thumbs down?

Ridge Geyserville & Lytton Springs (although they are Zin-dominated blends as opposed to straight Zin). I used to also like Rosenblum, but I haven’t seen them discussed lately, so I’m not sure what they’re doing now. I have had some stunning Turley Zins & Petite syrahs in the past, but stylistically they are really not in my wheelhouse.

Like a lot of other varieties I like them made in an age worthy style. I really like how the old school field blends work out as well where they have some Petit, Alicante Bouchet, Carignan, Mataro or whatever else in there. Seems to help the over all structure of the wine. Big fruited Zin can work if it’s not pulled too ripe and is left with some tannin and acid. Not a common occurrence but they happen.

Favorites would be:

D-Cubed (I am Extremely biased on this one, still it is very good!)

I am not a fan of the over-the-top, kick you in the face style. I like the more subdued types, something that won’t wreck my palate in one shot. I had the D-Cubed Napa 99 last year for Thanksgiving in Napa, and it was still tasting great.

ZAP is at the end of the month. Will you be going??