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A Pair Of K&L Favorite Zin Values from Artezin & Sobon - 04/14/2017 - Zinfandel (domestic)

There are plenty of producers out there making top-notch bottles of Zin, but two we return to time and again are Artezin and Sobon Estate. Each has been making otherworldly Zins that deliver on every level, yet manage to remain very reasonably priced. The pair of 2014s featured here continue on in that tradition and are among the best red values we’ve encountered this year. These aren’t Zins made in the standard cookie-cutter style, but offer a broad range of flavors and textures that are sure to appeal to a very wide audience. If you are looking for the perfect bottle of red to pop open any night of the week this pair should rise to the top of your list. With terrific balance and composure, these aren’t the kind of reds that are all fruit and heat without any depth, on the contrary they are remarkably evolved given their modest price. Buy a case or two as you’ll want to come back to these gems again and again.

Vintage Item Name Score Qty Retail Link
2014 Artezin "Old Vine" Mendocino County Zinfandel 92 >60 $12.99 View
2014 Sobon Estate "Rocky Top" Amador County Zinfandel 90 >60 $13.99 View

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2014 Artezin "Old Vine" Mendocino County Zinfandel ($12.99)

92 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* 'Wow' is the first word that comes to mind when tasting this superconcentrated and immensely fruity wine. It practically overwhelms the nose and the palate with ripe, jammy boysenberry and blackberry, sprinkled with licorice and black-pepper nuances that add attractive complexity. It's a big wine all the way, but not extreme in alcohol. (JG)" (03/2017)

91 points Vinous: "One of the more striking wines in this range, the 2014 Zinfandel Old Vine is absolutely gorgeous. Dark cherry, plum, sweet tobacco, menthol, licorice and spices hit the palate as this flamboyant, juicy Zinfandel shows off its personality. This is one of the best wines I have tasted from winemaker Randle Johnson. Best of all, the Old Vine is a superb value. (AG)" (02/2016)

Connoisseurs Guide: "This wine may lack the vineyard pedigree of its fancy sibling below, but it more than makes up for that modest shortcoming by delivering mid-volume, nicely articulated berryish fruit with brambly and dried flower stem adjuncts. Veering to the supple, slightly round side in texture with just enough of a tannic bite for grip, this direct, no-nonsense Zinfandel sits near the very top of the priceworthy list in this Issue." (01/2017)

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A blend of 70% Zinfandel and the rest Petite Sirah, the 2014 Zinfandel from Mendocino has a deep color, loads of raspberry and blueberry fruit, a spicy earthiness to it, and a medium-bodied, zesty finish. This should be drunk over the near-term. (RP)" (12/2015)

Staff ImageGary Norton | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 28, 2017

Old Vine Mendo Zin? Count me in, especially at less than fifteen bucks. These are spicy and forward, boasting notes of white pepper, dark fruit preserve, cocoa and a touch of grip on the back end. Very complex wine for the money.

Staff ImageJim Boyce | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 28, 2017

Mendocino Valley Old Vine Zinfandel from the Hess winemakers at $13?! Sign us up! Full of lush and jammy blackberry and blueberry fruits, cracked black pepper, slight tanin, and enough acid to keep it from being over the top, this wine is a no brainer for zin fans.

Staff ImageAnthony Gittings | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 27, 2017

This might be one of the best Zinfandel's we have for under $15. Ample amounts of plum and fig fill this full bodied red. Hints of cedar, blackberries, and licorice round it out, while the juicy acid makes it bright and vibrant.

Staff ImageStephanie Vidales | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 21, 2017

This Zinfandel has a good amount of complexity for being only $12.99! Made from vines that are 40+ years old, this juicy wine is loaded with brambly red and black fruits, cedar, vanilla, sweet tobacco and black pepper. Load up on this wine for you and your Zin loving friends!

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2014 Sobon Estate "Rocky Top" Amador County Zinfandel ($13.99)

90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Rich, spicy aromas and flavors of black cherry and cedar make this fullbodied wine from one of the longest-running wineries in Californias Sierra Foothills hard to resist. It has a feeling of breadth and depth on the palate alongside lush layers of tasty fruit. Editors Choice" (03/2017)

K&L Notes: From one of the few remaining blocks of pre-prohibition era Zinfandel on the Estate, this ridge top vineyard of cobbly loam gives a full-bodied wine of great depth, structure and character. From dry farmed sustainably grown vines, the "Rocky Top" offers notes of summer berries, licorice and a woodsy earthiness with hints of white pepper and allspice. Heady aromatics lead to a rich, long, lingering finish. This wine is best served with spicy slow cooked BBQ, grilled meats and sausage or pepperoni pizza.

Staff ImageJim Barr | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: August 25, 2017

Planted before the turn of the last century by the original owners, the dAgostini family, this old, head-pruned vineyard sits at an elevation site in the Sierra foothills that is one of highest in California (bordering 3000 feet). Yet, it consistently produces one of the riches, most complete and complex Zins to be found domestically, and at an unheard of ridiculously low price. This lovely 2014 Rocky Top continues that tradition and consistency. Deeply colored, the nose gushes with the classic Amador white pepper spiciness, blackberry, and anise fruit characteristics that is accentuated by that typical, classic Amador County mineral earthy quality created by the lava based soils in which the vineyard is planted. Broad, concentrated, viscous, and creamy across the mouth, this Gem is remarkably balanced and finely focused, yet powerful, full, and complex, with a long, warm, juicy finish. This striking Gem drinks fantastically right now (realize that I dont age my Zins for any length of time), and, as a result, Rusty wants me to bring home several cases for our consumption over the next three to five years. One final quick note: I was lucky enough to get a half of a ton of grapes, two years running, from this vineyard from Leon Sobon in the mid-1990s that, in both years, made some of the best wines that I have ever created. A REALLY GREAT VALUE!!! ***** 14.5% ABV *****

Staff ImageJeffrey Jones | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: April 03, 2017

Not only is this Zinfandel a great value it is delicious. It full bodied with soft juicy dark fruit flavors that are enhanced with a touch of spice. For people who love big red wines this drinks well alone and will go well with hamburger and other hearty foods.

Staff ImageJim Boyce | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 28, 2017

The Sobon Estate Rocky Top just may be the most consistent K&L staff favorite Zinfandel every release. This all estate, single vineyard wine has an incredible nose of dark cherry, blackberry, and baking spices. Blue fruits shine on the palate, alongside beautiful oak spices. This is clean and focused zinfandel that is perfect with any red meats on any day of the week!

Staff ImageAnthony Gittings | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 27, 2017

I have always enjoyed the Rocky Top Zinfandel and this vintage is no exception. A rich and structured wine with ample amounts of rich blackberry and cherry fruit. Hints of spices, menthol and earthiness offer complexity and help round out the wine.

Staff ImageStephanie Vidales | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 21, 2017

The Sobon Estate label was established in 1989 with the purchase of the D'Agostini winery which is one of the oldest in California and has been designated as a California State Historic Landmark. The old vine Zinfandel was kept on the property and is used in this Rocky Top Zin. Aromatic and full-bodied, this wine is loaded with blackberries, earthiness and peppery notes that would make a fabulous bbq wine!