I love Zinfandels. They can be dark, spicy and fruity all at once. They can be appreciated on their own, or a great accompaniment to a meaty, rich meal. My first "wow" wine was Zinfandel. As in, "wow, I can't believe how amazing this tastes!" Which is why I like attending the ZAPfest every year here in San Francisco - the annual crazy, overwhelming event that brings out hundreds of Zinfandel producers in one massive warehouse. Madness ensues, as it's the kind of event where people get plastered and cheer loudly every time someone breaks their glass on the cement floor. But it gives you a chance to really compare some great zins and see the full range of what the grape can do.
A few months ago I purchased the Sobon Estate 2006 Rocky Top Amador County Zin, for about $16 from Farmstead Cheese & Wine in Alameda. The wine is 92% zin, with the addition of 4% Petite Syrah, 2% Carignane and 2% Barbera. About 4,050 cases were made, and it has a 14.5% alcohol level.
Among the zins I've had, this one falls in the middle. It has that classic zin nose of blackberries, cherry cola and black pepper, with a touch of honey sweetness. These flavors continue in the mouth, dominated by cherry cola, violets and black pepper.
It wasn't a disappointment, it wasn't a superstar, but a good everyday drinking zin.