"It's time to heal the great Zinfandel divide," writes wine editor Jon Bonné in the Sunday, January 23, 2011, San Francisco Chronicle.
Anticipating ZAP's 20th Annual Zinfandel Festival to be held at San Francisco's Fort Mason January 27-29, Mr. Bonné addresses what he perceives to be the pros and cons of Zinfandel now-a-days.
Generally speaking, this pro-con judgment hinges on three "overs." Mr. Bonné is "con" Zinfandel wines that are over-ripe, over-oaked, and/or over-priced. He is "pro" wines that aren't "over" anything.
You can read the column HERE. It is interesting and entertaining, if you're interested in and entertained by Zinfandel, and this "usual suspects" approach to wine by most wine critics.
Most wine criticism these days (and by "criticism" I do mean when the writer or reviewer is being "critical" of a wine) is about the three "overs" identified above.
This sort of criticism feels to me like the swinging of a pendulum, back and forth every decade or so. I remember when wines "weren't ripe enough" and the wineries that made bigger riper wines were more successful.
Then wines weren't food friendly enough, and wineries began making leaner more acidic wines, presumed to be better with food. Of course, the pendulum swung back and those food wines were condemned for not being ripe enough.
Now we're back in the "over" world, and I expect the pendulum will swing back again. And again. And again. By which time I'll probably be retired (or dead) and no longer worried about wine critics.
In my wine tasting and drinking experience, there have always been a wide range of Zinfandel styles, with the general trend shifting back and forth between lighter/leaner and riper/oakier. And the prices have always been getting higher (although I do find occasional budget delights … and I seek out those great values to write about here).
Mr. Bonné did recommend six Zins he's recently tasted, wines that "treat the grape with proper respect" (his words). I've tasted all these wines, although not necessarily these vintages, and I agree that they are all worthy:
- 2009 Brown Estate Napa Valley Zinfandel ($36)
- 2007 Dashe Cellars Florence Vineyard Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel ($32)
- 2009 Foxglove Paso Robles Zinfandel ($14)
- 2008 Frog's Leap Napa Valley Zinfandel ($27)
- 2008 Ridge Geyserville Sonoma County Red Wine ($35)
- 2008 Seghesio Home Ranch Alexander Valley Zinfandel ($36)