After attending the ZAP tasting at the end of January I found a few gems which are well worth you trouble to obtain. Each winery produces Zinfandel from estate grapes. There are so many styles of Zinfandel. What stands out for these producers is their ability to produce solid food friendly wine which has the ability to age for a hand full of years if not longer. Cost wise they would be considered in the low to mid range: $17-$27. I would recommend using Google to put them into your travel plans if you are in their geographic area. Here we go.
Dancing Lady Winery: The Passalacque family have been owners of the vineyard land since the turn of the century. I am very fond of their Old Vine Zinfandel '08 and '09. Each is rich in color and full of the berry fruit which makes Zinfandel the favorite of so many wine consumers. It retails for $27. The production is not very large and they sell a good portion to their wine club. They also grow Merlot and Syrah. As a family venture the viticulture is done by Fred P. and the wine making is done by their grand daughter. Highly recommended.
Ancient Peaks Winery: This winery south of Paso Robles is one of the outstanding dollar value producers in the state. Their Zinfandel as well as all of their other wines come from estate fruit. The Margarita Vineyard is large enought that they sell fruit to many other outstanding wineries in the area. The Zinfandel vineyard will see some Rockpile clone grafted into a parcel as well as the Swan clone. Their Zin is rich and round with a dry earthy finish and mild tannins. If you are in the Paso Robles area their tasting room is a must. South of Paso Robles take route 58 and at 22720 El Camino you will find their tasting room. Well woth a visit as they are the only show in town. They also produce excellent Cabernet, Syrah and Merlot at the same low price of $17. They have in the past made wine in a private label for Trader Joe's and also sold some Merlot through the Costco chain. Very high dollar value wines.
Ballentine Winery: Originally founded in the early 1900's it closed and was opened once again in 1992. The orginal family vineyards as well as added land now accound for vineyards of about 100 acres in Napa. Their Zinfandel is top notch and quite rich. They also sell quality Merlot, Cabernet and Syrah. Their price range is $24-$29 a bottle. What makes them special is they have sold their estate fruit to the likes of Ravenswood, Mondavi, Caymus Rosenblum and Rombauer. This is a clue to the quality of fruit they grow. The other plus is their tasting room is not a dollar first visit. They welcome you and are most pleased that you have chosen to taste their wines. I have visited in the spring when they have a wine sale and made some excellent buys. They would like a call prior to arrival, (707/ 963-7919. Well worth your time and money.
Next post is discuss What is Old Vine Wine?