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Zinfandel Port Recs?

I had only rather recently discovered Zinfandel ports. Had the first one at Bouchon in Las Vegas last year and was blown away by it - but don't remember the brand.

Had another one recently up in Napa, at Mustards Grill which was equally wonderful. My husband and I are now on a quest to acquire some for our home consumption, but alas, this seems to be somewhat difficult.

None of my local wine stores have any in stock (I live in a small town) and I haven't been able to find much information on line as to which wineries are producing these.

Can anyone help?

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  1. I googled zinfandel port and can up with a few places. www.rutherfordhill.com/ourwines/ports... and www.normanvineyards.com Give these a try . Hope they help

    1 Reply
    1. re: pamela1366

      Thanks Pamela. What kills me about that, is we were just in Napa and tried to get to Rutherford but were there too early for the tour. We left, intending on coming back but got involved in other tours, and never made it back. If we had only known this when there...but hindsight, you know?

    2. Depending on whether you want the best example of the style, or are simply looking for it locally, you might choose different bottles. Rosenblum makes a late vintage Zinfandel; Evenus makes a port-style wine from Zinfandel which is quite affordable at $10 for 375mL. The latter is available at Trader Joe's; the former at places like BevMo.

      I have no complaints with the Evenus; it tasted like spicy berries to me, which is what I want from a Zinfandel. Of course, that's just my tastes, yours may be totally different.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ttriche

        I'm looking for good quality, not just something to suck down :-)

        I happen to enjoy Rosenblum's other Zins so that would be a good choice.

        And while I'm no wine snob, I do know enough about them to be able to tell good quality from poor, so finding good examples is important to me. My husband, on the other hand, would probably enjoy the Evenus since he's not as picky as I am.


      2. I think my number one rec would be to have some fun and try to pick up on distinctions btw the various great zinfandel vinicultural regions of California...

        Whatever you do, when you're talkiong late harvest zins and Zinfandel port, be sure to taste some Amador offerings in there ! Enjoy :)

        2 Replies
        1. re: Chicago Mike

          Amador! I already love Renwood :-) One of my favorite Zins!

          1. re: sivyaleah

            they make nice Zins, but their "Port" is actaully made from traditional varietals that they grown on the property, not Zin.

        2. Ballentine makes a great Zinfandel port if you can get your hands on it. Very rich and flavorful.

          1. With all the usual provisios that "Zinfandel Port" isn't really Porto, etc., etc., etc., you should be able to find several examples of this type of Zinfandel wine, depending upon where you live. (They will either be available on the shelves of wine merchants, or you maybe able to have the wine shipped to you.)

            In addition to the two excellent examples provided (with links) by pamela1366:

            -- Rutherford HIll (Napa Valley winery/grapes) http://www.rutherfordhill.com/ourwine...
            -- Norman Vineyards (Paso Robles winery; Cucamonga grapes) http://www.normanvineyards.com/html/2...

            Other examples (in alphabetical order) are avalable from a variety of wineries:

            -- Ballentine (Napa Valley winery/grapes) http://www.ballentinevineyards.com/st...
            -- Brutacao (Mendocino winery/grapes) http://www.securewineshop.net/brutoca...
            -- Charles Krug (Napa Valley winery/grapes) http://www.charleskrug.com/store/inde...
            -- Dover Vineyard (Paso Robles winery/grapes) http://www.dovercanyon.com/index_2003...
            -- EOS (Paso Robles winery/grapes) http://www.eosvintage.com/winenotes/0...
            -- Freemark Abbey (Napa Valley winery/grapes) http://www.securewineshop.com/freemar...
            -- Galleano (Cucamonga winery/grapes) http://www.galleanowinery.com/priceli... [scroll down
            ]-- Jessup (Napa Valley winery/grapes) http://www.jessupcellars.com/index.cf... [scroll down
            ]-- Jocelyn (Napa Valley winery/grapes) http://www.jocelynwines.com/trade/200...
            -- Kent Rasmussen (Napa Valley winery/grapes) http://www.kentrasmussenwinery.com/wi...
            -- Kunde Winery (Sonoma Valley winery; grape origin unknown) http://www.kunde.com/wines/wine.asp?w...
            -- Lolonis (Mendocino winery/grapes) https://www.lolonis.com/index.php?pag...
            -- Mayo Family Winery (Sonoma Valley winery; Russian River Valley grapes) http://www.mayofamilywinery.com/zinfa...
            -- Monteviña (Amador winery/grapes) http://www.montevina.com/site.php -- and then click on the links to wines > dessert wines > Zin Port
            -- Rosenblum (Alameda Co. winery; SF Bay grapes) http://www.rosenblumcellars.com/trade...
            -- Selby (Sonoma winery/grapes) http://www.selbywinery.com/vintages/c...
            -- Sobon Winery (Amador winery/grapes) http://www.sobonwine.com/pdf/2004-SE-...
            -- Stuart Cellars (Temecula winery/grapes) http://www.stuartcellars.com/2000_zin...

            AND there are many, many more . . . .


            1 Reply
            1. re: zin1953

              Wow! Thanks for that long list Jason. I can't even begin to tell you how much I appreciate it (BTW, I know Zin Port isn't Port per se, but a "port style", which is why I specifically said "Zinfandel Port" :-)

            2. You have gotten some good recs. for Zinfandel port-styled wines. One of the main pluses for US port-style wines, is that often the varietal characteristics do come though. While I am a bit more of a fan of true Port, I do enjoy the Zin & Cab port-styled domestic offerings. I often include one, or more, in my Port/port tastings, just for the counter-point that they offer.

              Also, look for "Late Harvest Zinfandel," as it has many of the characteristics of the various port-styled wines.

              Glad you liked those, that you have sampled,

              1. Would add Four Vines' zin "port" to the list. Totally delicious, and a touch drier than some other fortified zins i've found.

                1 Reply
                1. Better producers will generally call such wines "late harvest zinfandel."

                  Dashe makes one of the best:


                  Ridge occasionally produces one, they call it "zinfandel essence":


                  5 Replies
                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    >>> Better producers will generally call such wines "late harvest zinfandel." <<<

                    Robert, I'm not sure which post you wre replying to, but a Late Harvest Zinfandel is not the same as a Zinfandel Port. To be called a "port," it is my understanding that -- as with a true [Portuguese] Porto, it must be fortified. See http://www.atf.gov/regulations/27cfr4...


                    1. re: zin1953

                      Right, LH zins are not fortified. They're still better wines.

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        I agree with you Robert - I happen to love Dashe's LH zins myself. But, as zin1953 points out, for this thread, I am looking specifically for zin style ports.

                        But, I am interested in what the Ridge Zin essence is all about, so thanks for the link on it.

                        1. re: sivyaleah

                          Over the years, Beringer has done both a Zin and a Cab port-styled offering. I do not know what the frequency, or the distribution on either is, but have found both at retail, not just at the winery.

                          In Napa, Prager Port Works does several, however, I do not recall a Zin. Two producers that I would look into would be Renwood (Amador) and Rosenblum (many AVAs), as both do a wide range of Zins. I do not know if either does a port-styled wine, but would hazard a guess, that they might. Both are top producers, so anything that they make should be nice.

                          Let us know where your searches lead, as this is a fun wine, and not often talked about. As stated, I enjoy the "varietal" port-styled wines, as so much of the grape's character comes through.


                        2. re: Robert Lauriston

                          Don't know about "better," but certainly very good. As an adjunct to the OP's request, I think that LH Zins should be experienced - some strong similarities, but with a few differences. Good, none the less.


                    2. also not a port-style wine, but you might want to try meeker vineyards frozin, a zinfandel icewine. i normally don't go for that sort of thing (i'm a very serious person), but i thought it was tasty, fun, and most important, not cloying.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: warrenr

                        Van at Edmeades makes a stunning Alden Vineyard Late Harvest Zin.

                        Highly recommended.

                      2. Look no more for a good Zin Port. Rombauer Winery off of Silverado Trail in Napa Valley has the best. You can taste, the chocolate, pium, cherry and of course, the port. It is a pleasant surprise and a must have

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Carneros Valley

                          Seconded, and thirded. Rombauer's Zin Port is like heaven in a glass.

                        2. Montevina Terra d'Oro makes a wonderful Zin Port

                          1. Peju makes a Zinfandel Port that is fantastic. It's not as sweet as your traditional Port, so I think it pairs with food in a way that, to me, is really impossible with most Ports.
                            Chocolate, spice and dried cherry are the predominant notes, with perhaps a little prune flavor on the finish.
                            It's absolutely delicious and I think you can find it online.

                            1. With the Parkerization of California wines in full swing, ABV levels of regular zin and zin port will soon converge. Discuss. MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA.

                              (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

                              1. The first and only time I got to taste Zinfandel Port was at the Rutherford Winery. I had never heard of this type of wine...it was soooo good that I had to purchase a bottle. Next time I visit, I will see about purchasing a case =)

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: Dolce_Vita_SF

                                  Do you mean Rutherford Hill? We call it The Swill on the Hill.

                                  If so, their port is really good, and probably the best thing they make, just like Charles Krug (post below). I've had it many times. I think I prefer the Charles Krug.

                                  1. re: maria lorraine

                                    "We call it The Swill on the Hill."


                                    Inspiration for future descriptors....

                                    The dreck on the deck

                                    Le juice de obtuse

                                    Le Plonk from Le Banc

                                2. Not an overall fan of the winery, but the Zinfandel Port produced by Charles Krug Winery in St. Helena is amazingly good. In fact, it's the best thing they do. You'll have to order it from the winery, but it truly is delicious. I've had it at least 20 times, and every time I'm impressed.
                                  And I'm picky.

                                  1. I was searching the board to find the same and I'm glad to see so many suggestions. Although it's three years late I have to concur with what many have already said, Rutherford Hill produces an amazing Zinfandel port-style wine... very rich chocolate and cherry flavor, I just with I could find it in Canada =(