In the not-so-distant past many California zinfandels were elegant and supple, with upfront fruity appeal and the depth to age. While there were also a number of ripe, weighty examples, including sweet late-harvest renditions, those were usually exceptions rather than the rule. The restrained style was especially true of zins emanating from the cooler North Coast regions of the state.
Styles changed drastically in the early 1990s with the arrival of a tidal wave of full-throttle zins that still define the variety for many wine lovers. While flamboyant monster zins with huge fruit and volume can impress with their sheer power, they are notoriously difficult to pair with food. They can also knock you on your keister, as they regularly cruise past the 16% alcohol mark. READ MORE »