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Top 10 Zinfandels Tasted in 2016

It is the time of the year where every wine blogger publishes their lists of Wines of the Year or Values of the Year, etc. Although I try to blog about all the wines I taste it is clear that Zinfandel is definitely my grape of choice. With that in mind here are my top 10 Zinfandels of 2016.

The link for each wine will take you to the detailed Bottle Note on Zinfandel Chronicles. All of the older wines were stored in my cellar since release.

  1. 2008 Carlisle Zinfandel Papera Ranch – 95 points
  2. 2010 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Monte Rosso Vineyard – 94 points
  3. 2008 Turley Zinfandel Zampatti Vineyard – 94 points
  4. 2008 Carlisle Zinfandel Carlisle Vineyard – 94 points
  5. 2010 A. Rafanelli Zinfandel – 94 points
  6. 2012 Brown Estate Zinfandel – 94 points
  7. 2012 Ridge Lytton Springs – 93 points
  8. 2007 Williams Selyem Zinfandel Papera Ranch – 93 points
  9. 2012 Ridge Zinfandel Pagani Ranch – 93 points
  10. 2009 Outpost Zinfandel Howell Mountain – 93 points

A few observations after compiling the list:

  • Papera Ranch very well might be my favorite vineyard for Zinfandel.
  • Brown Estate should not be overlooked in a conversation of best CA Zinfandel producers.
  • It’s not too late to track down any Ridge Zin from 2012. Ridge crushed it in this vintage!
  • Monte Rosso is consistently the best Zinfandel from Bedrock Wine Co.
  • Carlisle is the only winery with multiple wines in my Top 10 going back the last 3 years.
  • 2008 was a better year for Zinfandel than the critics claimed it was.

Last year’s list can be found here.

What was the best Zinfandel you opened this past year?

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6 Comments Post a comment
  1. Mark Leyendecker #

    Had the 2011 Ridge Lytton Springs and 2012 Geyserville from magnum at Thanksgiving. The 11 Lytton was singing…the 12 Geyserville was great but needs more time. These are such great values…they age like champs.

    December 9, 2016
    • Hard to go wrong with mags of Ridge. I need more of those.

      December 10, 2016
  2. Matt Ploetz #

    Had the 2011 Bedrock Papera Ranch last month. Definitely was my Zin of the year. Tough year, but good producers dropped profits in the name of quality.

    December 9, 2016
    • Same with 2008. Tough vintage but the producers I follow did well regardless.

      December 10, 2016
  3. Mike (@mbb71) #

    Tom,

    I love this list. One other observation, as I know you do love Napa Zins. Did you notice that 8 of your top 10 are from Sonoma County? IMO, when you consider RRV, DCV, SV, and AV, and the distinctive and excellent Zins each of these AVAs produces (many of which you have featured), Sonoma County is the greatest place on the planet Earth for Zinfandel. What other variety can some place in the US claim that about?

    December 9, 2016
    • I saw that as well. Not entirely surprised as I drink more Zins from DCV and RRV. That area is definitely ground zero for my favorite vineyards.

      December 10, 2016

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