Top 10 Zinfandels Tasted in 2021

I’ve done this exercise every year since 2014. Turley and Carlisle are the only wineries to make the list in every single year.

2016 Carlisle Zinfandel Papera Ranch – 96 points
2019 Hartford Family Winery Zinfandel Russian River Valley Old Vine – 95 points
2019 Ridge Geyserville – 95 points
2013 Turley Zinfandel Bedrock Vineyard – 95 points
2017 AldenAlli Zinfandel Limerick Lane Vineyard – 95 points
2017 Gamba Vineyard Zinfandel Old Vine Starr Road Ranch – 95 points
2016 Limerick Lane Zinfandel Russian River Valley – 95 points
2016 Outpost Zinfandel Howell Mountain – 95 points
2016 Once & Future Wine Frank’s Block Teldeschi Vineyard – 95 points
2016 Carlisle Zinfandel Montafi Vineyard – 95 points

What was the best Zin you opened this year?

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Cheers, Tom


A very nice list Tom, fine variety of producers, appellations and vintages!

Some of my favorites are on your list especially the Montafi.

ZOTY for me was the 2014 Ridge Geyserville. It was in an amazing place. Salut.

Most of my Top 10 were from the Old Vines Offline Redux that Mr. Tuite so generously hosted in August. I think my two favorites from that day were the 1988 Dickerson and the 2001 Geyserville. And a recent 2014 Carlisle Montafi was also fantastic. Our last one, unfortunately. Great topic, Tom!

Had one of these a couple of months ago and I absolutely agree. 3 left and tempted to open another.


Didn’t dive deep into Zin this year, and probably have forgotten some, but had a few memorable ones. Think I’ve mentioned the 2014 Fields Family Stampede already a few times. Amazing stuff. Also had a 1996 Turley Dogtown - excellent and still punching vibrantly. 2018 Maitre de Chai Stampede also wonderful.

As a winemaker, I have to say I’m starting to see why Joel Peterson has always maintained that Zin, and working with Zin vines, is much harder to do than Pinot. Very hard to pick that perfect window on them and even when you do, the soak up and behave non-linearly after crush.

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Agreed, great list as always Tom! Very happy to have a handful of those in the cellar.

Zin of the year was for sure the 1968 Mayacamas Late Harvest that I drank the other day. Next on the list would be 2009 Bedrock/Bedrock, 2015 Once & Future Teldeschi Frank’s Block, and 2015 Bucklin Upper Fifth Vineyard.

Cheers bud!

Tom just check out your blog. Nice job!

It reminds me to try more Zins. Only 2 notes this year but I bought half a case that maybe need to open a few soon.

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Blind: call carlisle zin but that was the end of it

Good lord, this wine is spectacular. If you’re every going to drop a “100” on a zinfandel then this would be the one.

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Really good to know! Will have to check in on one! A Geeyser vintage ive liked from the start.

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ZOTY - 2017 Beekeeper Cellars Zinfandel Hidden Hillside Reserve

QPR - 2019 Carlisle Zinfandel Sonoma County and 2014 Sky Vineyards Zinfandel Mt. Veeder

Only a matter of time before I finally open up a Once & Future Zinfandel.

Haven’t tried it yet. Mancini is kitty corner to Papera at Piner and Olivet. Hallowed ground! I’ll open one soon!



2007 Bedrock Lorenzo’s Heirloom is mine for the year, though obviously not 100% zin.

Interesting, my ZOTY (to far) is the 2015 Ridge Geyserville. Had it twice and it was excellent both times.

Love seeing a Beekeeper reference! Opened a 13 Madrone Spring last week that was killer. Just wish they were a little less expensive.

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Yeah and there’s no way I’d pay retail price ($75-80) for their Zinfandel’s. Managed to grab some of the '16 Secret Stones on clearance at Wine Exchange and I’m really excited to open one of those up too.

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Yup! Snagged most of mine at auction. They are PRICEY retail.

We opened a 2014 Black Sears last night. It was outstanding. Perfectly smooth, plenty of spice to balance the fruit and am all around pleasure to drink.

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The two most memorable are 2013 and 2014 Sky Zin - have had multiples bottles of each this year - and a few different vintages of Bedrock Oakville Farmhouse (a field blend with Zin). These are excellent wines.


Had a bunch of good ones this year, but top of the pile would have to be the ‘17 Carlisle Papera and ‘17 Bedrock Papera followed by the ‘16 Carlisle Papera.