by Fred McMillin
for February 3, 1997

A Zinfully Good Bargain

"One day the Zinfandel will rival the great clarets of France." Count Agostan Haraszthy, the father of California viticulture, 1864.

The Rest of The Story: The gifted, flamboyant Hungarian count may have overstated the case for Zinfandel a bit, with good reason. After all, he was among the first to bring the vine to California, and to try to sell it to others. But even if the Zin doesn't yet rival the quality of claret varietals Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, it has accomplished a lot. It is the most widely planted red wine grape in the Golden State, boasting 6,000 more acres than Cabernet and 19,000 more than Merlot. Even more important, my panel usually finds the Zinfandels are better buys than the claret (Bordeaux) varietals. That is, a $10 Zin outscores a $l0 Merlot or Cab.

We had a typical one in the last tasting.. moderately rich berry and cherry flavors.. subdued tannins so its ready to drink today... And it outscored five Merlots that averaged $5 a bottle more than the Zinfandel. Which Zin was it? The envelope, please.

1995 Special Reserve Zinfandel, Amador County Shenandoah Vineyards of California Plymouth, CA Phone: (209) 245-4455, FAX: (209) 245-5156 Price: ONLY NINE BUCKS!

Category: Highly Recommended In Its Price Range

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College and is Northern California Editor for American Wine on the Web. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.

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