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Zinfandel update: Yes, there are some worth paying for

The Wine Curmudgeon spoke too soon last month. I’m still not overwhelmed by what is happening with zinfandel in the U.S., but – as Rich Coughlan’s comment in that post noted – there are still some wines that are made to be wine and not port, which means they have too much fruit and too much alcohol.

I did go to the Dallas stop on the Zinfandel Advocate & Producers tour, and found several wines worth trying. Plus, my chat with Ravenswood’s Joel Peterson, which will go up next week as a podcast, helped. And his Sonoma County zinfandel isn’t bad, either.

The ZAP wines included:

• Ridge’s product line. Don’t know how I could overlook that, since I think Ridge is, dollar for dollar, the best winery in the U.S. The Lytton Springs (about $35) remains one of my all-time favorites (though the current vintage could sit for another year).

Pedroncelli Mother Clone 2007 ($12): An old-style zinfandel that isn’t old-fashioned – affordable, moderate alcohol, and jammy, brambly fruit.

Ironstone Old Vine Zinfandel 2008 ($11): I was quite surprised by the quality of this wine, which you might be able to find for as little as $10. This is what inexpensive, value-oriented zinfandel used to taste like, peppery and with decent fruit.

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