Good Red Zin?
I have a friend who really like red zin. There's a special birthday coming up in March that would be the perfect time to give him a really special bottle. I'm willing to spend up to $50. Recommendations?
The Ridge Vineyards Zin bottling are traditionally very good and highly recommended, though I have to say that one of the best ZIns I've ever had was a Rosenblum Monte Rosso Vineyard. I've also always liked A. Rafanelli ZIns, but they're difficult to find outside the winery.
Just about every Zinfandel produced by RIDGE VINEYARDS -- http://www.ridgewine.com/ -- would be a safe bet, but especially those with the following designations (in alphabetical order): Geyserville, Jimsomare, Lytton Springs (or any "Lytton" variation thereof), Pagani Ranch, York Creek.
There are, of course, many other excellent Zinfandel producers, but you have to deal with what is available in Pennsylvania. That said, keep an eye out for the following wineries: Chateau Montelena, Dashe, Rafanelli, Robert Biale, Rosenblum Cellars, Saddleback Cellars, Spelletich Cellars, Storrs Winery, Storybrook Mountain, T-Vine Cellars, Turley Wine Cellars, Unti Vineyards, and Venge Vineyards, among others.
Zins come in different styles. My personal preference probably is for Rafanelli Zins, though those are lighter and more floral than most.
Other producers I would be on the lookout for:
Ridge (particularly Lytton Springs)
Rosenblum (particularly the Rockpile and Monte Rosso)
or, you may be able to order a bottle of Guisseppe and Louisa directly from Martinelli, which could be your best bet if possible.
Order a bottle or two from Sandler, if possible. Here is the website: http://www.sandlerwine.com/
I'd be surprised if you're not mailing list that you can just order the Martinelli G&L, aside from which I believe that PA still has not sorted out the whole direct-ship thing.
In addition to those producers already mentioned (some of which are among my favorites too) I would also throw out there Seghesio, Hartford, Radio Coteau, JC Cellars.
Some of these (Turley, Martinelli) may be tough to find for under $50 if you can find them at all in PA.
Although you already have plenty of suggestions, what Zinfandel wines do you recall your friend enjoying in particular? As with most varietal wines, there are different styles. With Zinfandel, you'll see a style difference between Turley and Scherre, for example, or even between Biale and Ridge. Certainly between Storybrook Mountain and Martinelli.