2008 Sonoma Zinfandel

Kicking off #GTiZinfandel


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2008 Sonoma Zinfandel
I’m kicking off 2012’s first Global Tasting Initiative with Zinfandel, one of my favorite domestic wines and one that seems to be too easily dismissed by many self-proclaimed wine experts. 

The truth of the matter is that Zinfandel is almost a uniquely American phenomenon, though the grapes are the same as those grown as Primitivo in Italy.  You might ask why that is important, and rightly so. It’s not really, but the problem with many domestic wines is the ease with which a critic can say, “well this is fine but it doesn’t compare with the version made in Lichtenstein or Andorra.”

Guess what bonehead, maybe you shouldn’t be comparing those wines at all. Maybe you should just be judging each wine for what it offers and how it stands up to the best of its peers! And peers are not located oceans away. Since American Zinfandel is essentially the only expression of this fine grape, we tend not to encounter such boneheaded comments when talk turns to enjoying the exuberance of a great Zin!

So that leaves us to examine the real story behind the 2008s, the vintage of the extremes, as well as some of the best wines from this difficult growing season!
Photo courtesy schnaars via Flickr/CC

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  • Snooth User: svhamge55
    140884 2

    I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the picture on the opening page of 2008 Sonoma Zinfandel.
    We have that exact picture blown up on canvas!!! only difference is it's earlier in the season and all the grape leaves are still green.

    So as not to spoil it for other readers we won't tell them where that sign is...
    hint... it aint Sonoma :)

    Jan 02, 2012 at 1:35 PM

  • No Mazzocco.... No way.......

    Jan 02, 2012 at 2:07 PM

  • Now that you've commented on American Zin, it's time to talk about Primitivo. Pilastro Primitivo from southern Puglia is the only wine I drink here in the UK. When I go to a dinner party, I take a bottle along and insist (My rudeness is excused as I'm an American) that I drink only Primitivo.

    My Dad, when we were living in Baltimore, would make his own wine. As as kid helping him, I always looked forward to the truck that would bring the zinfandel grapes from California.

    Jan 02, 2012 at 2:30 PM

  • Snooth User: EMark
    Hand of Snooth
    847804 10,477

    I, too, loved the picture of the old Zinfandel sign in the old vineyard..

    It looks like you had a very nice streak of good wines, here.

    Pumped about the Zinfandel GTI.

    Jan 02, 2012 at 2:31 PM

  • I love Seghesio Zinfandels.

    Jan 02, 2012 at 2:31 PM

  • Mazzocco should have been top of the list :)

    Jan 02, 2012 at 3:00 PM

  • Snooth User: ANTONZ
    622685 7

    For great incite on the vintage
    Insight, we presume?

    Jan 02, 2012 at 3:09 PM

  • Snooth User: LanceH
    1010535 0

    I'm new to Zins but really like the Earthquake Zinfandel and The Grigich HIlls as well

    Jan 02, 2012 at 6:44 PM

  • Snooth User: bmproshop
    628303 14

    Great reviews on these Zins! Feeling a big bummed that Turley zins werent mentioned since he makes 25+ single vinyard zins, that are all so different. Also love the picture and wish I had it on canvas! Cheers!

    Jan 03, 2012 at 3:07 AM

  • Snooth User: msanford
    393635 1

    I love your comments on different wines and wine regions, and I too am a lover of good Zinfandel. I'd love to get your impressions, good and bad, of Lodi as a Zinfandel growing region, as compared to Sonoma. There are a number of good, maybe great, Zinfandels coming out of Lodi these days.

    Jan 03, 2012 at 6:06 PM

  • Glad to see some of my favorite Zin producers like Dry Creek , Sausal and Dashe on the list.
    Looking forward to volunteering at the ZAP festival (Jan. 26-28th) in SF and learning more Zinfandel.

    For more information about ZAP 2012: http://www.zinfandel.org/default.as...

    Jan 04, 2012 at 11:47 AM

  • Snooth User: spoonman
    100712 51

    Zins have risen to the top spot on my wine list especially since finding good Pinto Noir's in Massachusetts is not all that easy. Seghesio 2006 Sonoma County and Candor Lot 1 are my favorites. They go with lots of different foods and are reasonably priced, too. Great to see this article on an overlooked variety. Go Zins !

    Jan 04, 2012 at 12:24 PM

  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 236,215

    Glad to see all the enthusiasm for Zinfandel here. Getting ready to taste a second round today. Wish I was able to taste them all but I just can't get to them all.

    My favorite California wine by the way, and Petite Sirah is my second!

    Jan 06, 2012 at 11:09 AM

  • Snooth User: EMark
    Hand of Snooth
    847804 10,477

    We're barely into the Zinfandel GTI, and, now, you have me excited about a future Petite Sirah GTI. Hold it, Mark. Let's not get ahead of ourselves, here.

    Jan 06, 2012 at 12:46 PM

  • Snooth User: cocofireah
    1014544 0

    Cool, loved the picture of the old Zinfandel sign in the old vineyard

    Jan 08, 2012 at 9:16 PM

  • Snooth User: cocofireah
    1014544 0

    Cool, loved the picture of the old Zinfandel sign in the old vineyard

    Jan 08, 2012 at 9:16 PM

  • Snooth User: yankee5
    991105 26

    Enjoyed the article which led me to do some searching about availability of these recommendations. Sorry to report that at least 3 of the zins listed are apparently sold out. Kind of cruel to list wines that aren't available to the average consumer!

    Jan 10, 2012 at 9:55 AM

  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 236,215

    Good point. I'm assuming you're saying they are sold out on Snooth. Some of them are new releases that have yet to hit the retail shelves, which might be one issue but another is that Snooth, while a great resource, dis not comprehensive and does not list selection from stores without an on-line presence. You're local wine shop can probably order these wines for you, or might even have them in stock already!

    Jan 10, 2012 at 10:07 AM

  • Snooth User: yankee5
    991105 26

    The majority of my research that led to my conclusion about availability was either directly at the winery website and/or wine.com

    Jan 10, 2012 at 10:25 AM

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