Ran into this at a bargain grocer and immediately was drawn to the label. Not on I had seen from this producer and with all the hoopla going on about Lake County lately, I couldn’t resist–especially at the price-point. Asked a Treasury Wine Estates insider I know about it and they were dumbfounded–as I was. What happened here? Why is this 20-30 dollar wine from a stalwart brand with an interesting appellation being offered at closeout? Who knows, but it is not a terrible wine. It is Zinfandel. That’s the nicest thing I can say about it.
In the mouth, instant bite of acid, but around a quintessential core of Zinfandel fruit. The cola of the nose translates seamlessly to the palate alongside robust dark fruit and heady concentration.
This is TRADEMARK Zinfandel and if you like Zinfandel, this is your wine. See, I cut my teeth on this variety in the late 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s and like them a bit more “cab-like”. I like high acid, low alcohols, lots of cassis and petrichor and while this has the former, it completely lacks in the latter. That is not to say it is faulty. It is TEXTBOOK Zin and, again: If you like Zinfandel, this is your wine. It is PERFECT Zin. It absolutely exemplifies the grape in all ways–and with relatively average proof for what we have come to expect. The fact 15+ is now “average” tells you all yo need to know about modern times. Zinfandel in its perfect interpretation comes off a bit flabby and pruney for me and this excels in both those categories–cut short only by great acid and tannins which try to obfuscate the former characteristics–barely.
A little mint, a little earth, gobs of rotund fruit, jammy to a tee, filing in around 15% and a green streak to boot. It’s perfect Zin. It is not MY perfect Zin, but it very well could be yours. I can point out perfect interpretations of the grape but you HAVE to remember I am human and have preferences as to style. KNOW YOUR CRITIC. This is not my style of Zin but oh man it comes fairly close to perfect if you LOVE Zinfandel.
2013 BERINGER Zinfandel Clear Lake Lake County 15.3