With tastings and special events at more than a hundred Paso Robles wineries during Vintage Paso: Zinfandel Weekend, there are plenty of opportunity to sample and savor the region’s heritage grape.
To kickstart your zinful celebrations, here are some steals and splurges recently rated over 90 points by Wine Enthusiast magazine.
$19, 90 points
Named for the matriarch of the Riboli family — which started San Antonio Winery in Los Angeles 100 years ago and has been expanding its presence in Paso Robles for the last decade — this label encompasses the family’s Paso estate wines. This 2015 zin embraces the region, brimming with herbs and minerals but retaining a juiciness that made it one of Wine Enthusiast’s Editor’s Choice picks.
Info: 805-226-2600 or anantoniowinery.com
Pear Valley Vineyards
$24, 90 points
The recently released 2014 zin has all the hallmarks of an expensive wine. It’s grown at low yields to produce intense flavo, hand harvested from the family-owned estate vineyard and held back until ready to drink. Throw in elegant but varied flavors that meld well, and the recently released 2014 vintage is a true steal at $24.
Info: 805-237-2861 or pearvalley.com
$25, 92 points
Tooth & Nail Winery lets loose this tempest in a glass. A whirlwind of flavors such as berries, chocolate and peppery spice comes together with bright acidity that stems from harvesting the grapes before they’re overly ripe. Wine Enthusiast named the 2015 zin an Editor’s Choice, noting it competes with much more expensive bottlings.
Info: 805-369-6100 or rabblewine.com.
Thacher Winery & Vineyard
$40, 90 points
Brewer-turned-winemaker Sherman Thacher calls this a “village zinfandel.” It’s deftly woven from several vineyard sources to showcase Paso’s soil and the vanilla, licorice and currant flavors it can produce in addition to pepper and plum. If you can find the reserve-tier Triumvirate, plunk down the extra $8.
Info: 805-237-0087 or thacherwinery.com.
$60, 91 points
The 2013 Old Vine zin, an Editor’s Choice, is just one of the expressive bottlings Neil Collins (also winemaker for Tablas Creek Vineyard) creates from the region’s oldest dry-farmed vineyards. This one comes from the almost 100-year-old former Martinelli property, recently purchased by Turley Wine Cellars. Interspersed with fruit trees, the vines give rise to delicate, flowery aromas and chalky, baking spice flavors.
Info: 805-238-0845 or lonemadrone.com.
Peachy Canyon Winery
$38, 91 points
It’s hard to go wrong at this 30-year-old zin palace, from the $15 Incredible Red recently featured on NBC’s “Today Show” and the only slightly pricier Westside zin to the $85 D-Block, which features 18 plantings from hundred-year-old vines around the state. Want to strike the middle? Try the 2015 Vortex, Bailey, each $38 and rated 91 points, or other single-vineyard offerings.
Info: 805-239-1918 or peachycanyon.com