2012 Rancho Zabaco "Heritage Vines" Sonoma County Zinfandel

SKU #1150111 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 A stunning wine made from Gallo’s holdings in Sonoma, Dry Creek and Lodi, this 2012 Zinfandel Heritage Vines (100% varietal) tips the scales at 15.26% alcohol. Displaying lots of pepper as well as full-throttle, pedal-to-the-metal intensity, briery, berry fruit and a big, juicy, succulent mouthfeel and finish, this $15 Zinfandel offers a lot of wine and considerable flavor as well as authority. It is a sensational bargain.  (12/ 2013)

Connoisseurs Guide

 **Good Value** Lightly smoky to start with reasonably well-defined fruit backing up its momentary smells of burnt wood, this gutsy young Zinfandel finds very solid varietal footing once in the mouth. It is a bit rough and rustic, and it is pushed clearly by ripeness, but it gamely hangs on to saving fruit, and a few years of smoothing are earnestly recommended even it is not priced like a wine that is meant for aging.  (1/ 2014)

K&L Notes

Recommended in the San Francisco Chronicle: "Score one for Gallo knowing what many Zin lovers want. This latest Zabaco is jammy, sure, but also chewy and bright, with birch-bark spice, cherry skin and a sweet blackberry finish." ("Sonoma Zinfandel shifts to its classic roots," 2/8/14)

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Price: $9.99

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Product Reviews:

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By: Michael Jordan |  K&L Staff Member  |  Review Date: 1/14/2014  | Send Email
Every now and then you get a $10 bottle of wine that surprises you. The 2012 Rancho Zabaco Heritage was a pleasant surprise for me. This is a big, opulent red wine with in-your-face ripeness. The surprise for me was the lovely spice, backbone and complete dryness of the wine, which for the $9.99 price was a real shock. Weekend BBQ, steak dinner or just a glass after work--this wine will please the California Zinfandel fan.

By: John Majeski |  K&L Staff Member  |  Review Date: 1/14/2014  | Send Email
Film often informs my comments, so I just saw The Wolf of Wall Street with a flash shot of the iconic, massively bronze Merrill Lynch bull snorting like someone just stole his lunch money or last martini, which reminded me of the wine I just tasted with another bull on it, this one much smaller and on the label but inside the bottle just as much bold, brawny, effusive snort-and-stuffing as the bronzed behemoth. We're talking big bovine wine here, but in this case, one possessed of a deep red heart and fabulous imposing flavor, a wine with velvet hooves, if you will, or won't. As impressive as the full depth charge of pure, high-toned Zin fruit and lush spice is the unbelievable price. And to say I'm rather bullish on this wine, well...
Top Value!

By: Mari Keilman |  K&L Staff Member  |  Review Date: 1/14/2014  | Send Email
Sadly, it's all too often that when you find a red Zin for under $10, those sweet notes so easily associated with the white version tend to encroach. But not with the Rancho Zabaco. Pleasant aromatic notes of vine-ripened berry and spice are balanced by a solid mid-plate full of juicy black raspberry.

By: Jim Barr |  K&L Staff Member  |  Review Date: 1/14/2014  | Send Email
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For those of you who want a concentrated, deeply, jammy, in-your-face Zin, this is the puppy. Inky in color, this wine has an immense core of powerful, ripe, almost sweet fruit, with well-integrated tannins and near-term structure. According to Rusty, this Gem will be our go to pizza wine. It is not for the weak of heart... Enjoy! 15.3% ABV
Drink from 2014 to 2016

By: Steve Bearden |  K&L Staff Member  |  Review Date: 1/14/2014  | Send Email
This has a briary, earthy quality which adds intrigue and helps dampen down the overt fruity character of the wine. There is plenty of deep blackberry fruit and spice but good acidity from the cool Sonoma nights makes this more juicy than jammy. Although fairly high in alcohol, there is no noticeable heat on the finish of this screaming bargain.

By: Christie Cartwright |  K&L Staff Member  |  Review Date: 1/14/2014  | Send Email
If you're a Zin lover and are always looking for that next bargain, well here it is! Classic aromas of dried black and purple fruits, slightly jammy on the palate but not sweet, with juicy acidity and a clean finish. This is perfect for anyone with a Zin palate!

By: Sal Rodriguez |  K&L Staff Member  |  Review Date: 1/14/2014  | Send Email
This savory, fruity and bright Zin starts with a sumptuous nose of ripe fruit and dried flowers. On the palate it delivers delicious fruit with the typical peppery notes. The earthiness and lively acidity help to make this Zin quite balanced and it ends with a velvety richness that I don't often associate with Zin, and definitely is not typical of the varietal at this price. Pick up a few bottles soon, as I'm sure this won't stick around for long.

By: Bryan Brick |  K&L Staff Member  |  Review Date: 1/8/2014  | Send Email
We all need a wine for the little times. Things like the month of January, Monday nights, or those friends that pour their wine glasses up to the top. This Rancho Zabaco Zin is one of those kinds of wines: simple, drinkable and kind of unassuming but fully enjoyable. The thing I like most about this wine is that it has become very hard to find a fully dry Zin at this price range and this is dry in spades. It also has much more stuffing than I expected with a nice peppery streak to the dusty blackberry fruit. If you’re looking for an everyday red you certainly could do a ton worse for the value.

By: Alex Pross |  K&L Staff Member  |  Review Date: 1/7/2014  | Send Email
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When I first read the critic’s review for this wine I was worried it would be over-the-top, but any time I can get a quality Zinfandel for under $10 I am excited to try it out. When I did finally crack open the bottle I was blown away by how well this wine is made, this wine has good deep fruit, nice pepper notes and a firm structure that nicely frames all the elements without coming off as heavy, sweet or out of balance. For $10 this wine is an incredible buy and easily merits a case purchase as your new house wine or party wine. Pair this with pizza, pasta, barbeque or burgers where its rich fruit and hearty palate will provide the perfect foil.
Top Value! Drink from 2014 to 2015

Additional Information:

Varietal:

Zinfandel

- The bid to name Zinfandel California's "State Varietal" may have failed, but this red wine grape, grown extensively in California since the mid-1800s, is grown in few other places in the world. Sadly, much of what's cultivated today is planted where it's too hot and flat. But when planted to well-drained, hillside vineyards that are warm but not too hot, like those in Sonoma County's Dry Creek Valley and Amador County in the Sierra Foothills, Zinfandel can produce wines with plenty of character. High in natural alcohol and tannin, grown carefully it can be rich and complex, with dark fruit berry fruit and peppery spice. The most known example of Zinfandel outside of California is Italy's Primitivo, which can be similar in style, but is often a bit lighter and less alcoholic than West Coast examples.
Country:

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.
Sub-Region:

California

- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Sonoma County

- Second in fame only to Napa, this "other" valley offers just about every climate and topography imaginable. From its cool and fog-enshrouded coastal regions on the far west, to the sprawling Alexander Valley on the boarder of Napa and the many little dips and peaks in between, Sonoma has been a vital wine-grape-growing region since the mid 1800s. Important sub-AVAs include Chalk Hill (known for chardonnay and sauvignon blanc), Dry Creek Valley (where zin is king) Knights Valley (largely cabernet land), Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast (both celebrated pinot and chardonnay zones).