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Must have BIG Zin

Please help me find some great big Zins to enjoy by themselves in the backyard with my chickens and a good friend. I'm close to a TJ's and a GO... located in Livermore.

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  1. Not sure what you're thinking of when you say "big"--e.g., lots of tannin, high alcohol...but you might try the Bogle Old Vines, or one of the Cline zin's; they tend to be jammy, quite full bodied, and relatively high alcohol...and the price is right...

    1. Not sure about Big but Cline and Rosemblum are our budget favorites. Also some GO may still have the $2.99 Renwood Zin which is an awesome value and delicious.

      1. For big meaning a HUGE over the top wine with lots of extraction I recommend the following. The only one you're likely to find at TJ's is Rosenblum.

        Rosenbloom Zin
        Anything from Four Vines (though "Biker" is probably their biggest Zin)
        Ridge Lytton Springs (not a Zin per se, but hits the right spot for the foods you mentioned)

        1 Reply
        1. re: openhelix

          Ridge Geyserville was my go-to in the 90s. That, Seinfeld and pizza from a joint called Dolce Carini. Ah memories.

        2. There's a BevMo in Livermore where you'll find more and better selection than TJ's or GO.

          1. Some budget friendly choices that should be available (<$20) would be Rancho Zabaco '08, Dancing Bull '08, Boeger 07.

            1. Rosenblum is a good choice, and the Seghesio Zin's are also very nice.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Cookiefiend

                Seconding the Seghesio recommendation.

              2. Read the Zin threads for recs.
                Go to Cellar Tracker and look for Zins with 15% alcohol and higher.

                1. Find some Tobin James zinfandels. Absolutely massive. Something from Turley is another good option. If you want something more concentrated, and not as massive, look for some Carlisle. -mJ

                  1. I love Ravenswood's Teldeschi Vineyard Zin, which has some decent distribution.

                    Also..... any Zin you find using fruit from Monte Rosso Vineyard should be a good bet. Ravenswood used to do one, but I believe they lost that contract somehow.

                    Bogle Old Vines IS very good too, but it tends to have a very quick life on shelves (sells out very fast).

                    If you should find it, Norman's The Monster is a good bet as well.

                    1. I have found that old vine zins to be lusher, “bigger” than regular offerings. For example, I find Seghesio Old Vine bigger than regular Seghesio. Wines from the Lodi area are usually bigger than other AVAs. Good choices from that area would be: Bogle Old Vine, Klinker Brick Old Vine, Jessie’s Grove “Earth Zin & Fire” Old Vine, Macchia “Mischievous” Old Vine and so forth. From Contra Costa, another warmer area, there’s Cline, “Ancient Vines”. From the Sierra foothills comes C.G. di Arie “Southern Exposure” plus other labels using the Grandpere Vineyard. Dry Creek in Sonoma yields the Seghesio, Forchini. “Proprietor’s Reserve” Old Vine and many others. The “biggest” zin I’ve had in a long time was an excellent 2006 Louis M. Martini, “Gnarly Vine”, Monte Rosso Vineyard. Personally, I prefer the more restrained versions, since I enjoy my wine with food. Ridge “Lytton Springs” is a good example of this style. I’ve also found that, for me, French oak yields a more elegant zin than American oak. Most California Zinfandels are very good, and thankfully, I have zillions more to try.

                      1. Terra D'Oro Deaver Vineyard Old Vine Zin from Amador is a big zin.

                        1. General question about zin. I understand that it isn't very age worthy wine. Are there any over wines that are this big that aren't age worthy?


                          7 Replies
                          1. re: Chinon00

                            The common wisdom about Zins not being ageworthy is -- to say the least -- debatable. Some well structured, "big" Zins age extremely well. But it is true that most zins are made to drink young, and many wineries that use to make zins for the long haul (Phelps!) no longer do. Just don't rule out the varietal.

                            Syrah has, to a lesser extent, suffered the same misconception about aging. There are simple, big fruit, dark purple syrahs that are use-it-or-loose-it, but that style is happily in decline, or reserved for blending. Plenty of nicely made syrahs now that get better and better.

                            1. re: Chinon00

                              Well, Ridge is -- of course -- the flagship for age-worthy Zinfandels, but there are many others which produce Zins that mature and develop beautifully with bottle age.

                              That said, it's all about balance, and overripe, jammy, high alcohol Zins are often handicapped in that department. But it's quite right to say that the grape variety is itself *very* age-worthy -- it all depends upon how it is made.


                              1. re: zin1953

                                I had a '77 Ridge Zin at Bern's Steakhouse in Tampa last year after the bar exam and it was absolutely beautiful. Do not remember which vineyard it was from unfortunately.

                                1. re: mikek

                                  That's cool. Was it outrageously expensive? I don't recall seeing any older Zins at least at East coast restaurants. Are aged Zins more common out West?

                                  1. re: Chinon00

                                    It was actually at Bern's, which is in Tampa. I believe they have the largest restaurant wine cellar in the country. Another nice feature - their wines are outrageously affordable. This bottle ran for $55, which was an absurd bargain.

                                    If you ever find yourself down there, it is absolutely worth the experience and price. Their steaks are as good as their wine list too, and the dessert room is a whole other experience. Truly a memorable dining experience.

                                    Here is a link to their BTG list, which is 9 pages in itself. Their regular list exceeds 6500 unique labels.


                                    Here is their list of dessert wines and spirits too:

                                    1. re: Chinon00

                                      1977 was the second of the two drought vintages, and many of the wines aged quite well.

                                      The short answer is "no," older Zins are *not* that common in (high-end) West Coast restaurants, save for a handful that know what they're doing. Then again, few restaurants outside of Bern's would have a 1977 ANYthing on their list (save, perhaps, some 1977 Vintage Porto).

                                    2. re: mikek

                                      As l have a home in Sarasota, go to Bern's about once a month when in Florida. Last time through had a vertical of Dr Parce Banyuls from 1978, 1980, 1982. All in the $36-$50 range. They have Ridge Geyserville, Lytton springs in many vintages of the 70's. All seem to run in the $ 50-$ 70 range

                                2. I recently had a really big and tasty Zin from Michael Pozzan. Very enjoyable at about $20.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: CocoDan

                                    Murphy-Goode Liar’s Dice

                                    Jed Steele’s Shooting Star

                                    When we visited Cline, I thought the standout was the Big Break Zin…very big as the name implies.

                                    1. re: bte576

                                      RAVENSWOOD, DICKERSON is more difficult to find but very, very good. Watch the near 15% alcohol.

                                  2. Canard Sauvage: Dry Creek Valley; 15.8 alcohol: $9.99 TJ's
                                    Big, burly, spicy, yummy and cries out for grilled meat. Our First Mate's in-store favorite.
                                    The Bogle Old Vines is much smoother and "quieter" at the same price point.

                                    Sausal Private Reserve (90 yr. old vines : $24 from winery) is an excellent, well-made wine that I could definitely sit out on the porch and finish off a bottle with a good friend.

                                    1. Without price-points, I will shoot blind. My go-to "big" Zins are:

                                      Ridge (many, though not all)

                                      For "over the top big," I also like the Edmeades Alden Ranch, but that might well be TOO big for some tastes.

                                      As for where in Livermore, I cannot help you.



                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                                        don't drink much zin anymore but here are some:

                                        agree with above on
                                        ridge geyseerville or lytton spring

                                        linne calodo outsider or problem child
                                        martinelli giuseppe & luisa
                                        orin switf "the prisoner" or "saldo"
                                        outpost howell mt
                                        rosenblum rockpile vyd
                                        neal family

                                        1. re: rickym13

                                          I didn't think of The Prisoner - but yeah - Big Zin

                                          It's a blend but none the less, a zin and big. ;-)

                                          1. re: rickym13

                                            I also agree with Orin Swift. Why it did not cross my mind is probably due to too much big-Zins... ! [Grin]


                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                              Mazzocco, which is part of the Wilson winery group, makes big, round, briary, delicious Zins, with several to choose from. I second the Bogle Old Vine recommendation, and in the same LOW price point, Cline makes several very nice old vine type Zinfandel bottlings.

                                              The Dry Creek Zins tend to be very full, rich and extracted. Sausal is definitely in that category. David Coffaro is another I would highly recommend.

                                              1. re: rruben1

                                                Just drank our last bottle of the 2007 Mazzocco Maple, which was outstanding.

                                                In addition to some of those mentioned (Turley, Ridge, Biale, Swift - love "Prisoner"), we also like Seghesio's Home Ranch (and their Sonoma is my go-to in the $20 range), Carol Shelton's Karma Zin (and several of her others), Ravenswood "Big River", Brown Estate, and zins from T-Vine.

                                            2. re: rickym13

                                              Big 2nd on Rosenblum Rockpile or Linne Problem Child. these will not be shy! i probably would save them for drinking by itself, as I prefer more of the Ridge-Geyserville style to pair with meals.
                                              speaking of Ridge, their Del Carlo Ranch (Dry Creek) Zin could probably also sneak into the OP's 'big' category.

                                          2. Someone brought an Opolo (sp?) that he bought at Costco to a dinner not too long ago. I think you could consider that a great big Zin.. it was way over the top. Overripe, heavy, lots of heat, overbearing, too extracted.. like the LeBron James of Zinfandel.

                                            1. Two of my favorite Zins are from Lodi. Klinkerbrick and Brazin, both smokey and luscious, big beasts.

                                              1. I'm not a lover (or even a liker) of ridiculously over the top CA zins. With that being said, I tasted an 07 Mauritson Rockpile Cemetary Vineyard yesterday that surprised me. It wasn't gaudy or tacky, even with the 15%+ ABV.

                                                1. Suprised that nobody has mentioned any of my faves yet: Cardinal Zin, Haywood Los Chamizal, Nalle and Quivira.

                                                  1. Fess Parker's "frontier red" should also satisfy if you're looking for big fruit. As I recall it is a blend of zin, mouvedre, probably more. I don't know the exact blend; I wish I had a bottle in front of me right now....

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Dave_in_PA

                                                      Carignane, Cinsault, Grenache, Mourvedre, Petite Sirah and Syrah.
                                                      Quite a mouthful of fruit there, as you say.
                                                      Fess Parker passed away at age 85 on March 18th of this year.

                                                    2. Try value-priced zins from top producers in Lodi...$15-35. That area routinely sees 16% wines, and crazy-rich concentrations.

                                                      1. One of my favorite Big Zins is by Boogle "The Phantom"

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: cfisch

                                                          The current Phantom is over half Petite Sirah. It's definitely not considered a Zin.