VinCrush Zinfandel Value Challenge Results! Find the best $10 Zins at Total Wine & More!


Zinfandel Challenge 2017 Results

Zinfandel Challenge Results

The results are in! At the bottom of this post, you’ll find the final rankings and links to the individual wine reviews.

Across the board, the Ravenswood Zinfandel offerings did really well.  They all showed more power, body, and flavor than average.  I’d certainly consider any of their bottles as a safe bet.  Definitely worth exploring there.  I think I’ll go back and pick up their Sonoma bottle to compare to the Napa and Lodi versions we tried this month.  The Gnarled Vine and Rancho Zabaco were really nice as well.

In general, Zinfandel performed quite a bit better than Malbec in our $10 challenge.  I found the average $10 Malbec to be overly acidic, overly sweet, or just unbalanced. And, although there were a couple of delicious bottles last month, many of them had just very simple generic fruit flavors.

Malbec Challenge Results

(Click here to see the Malbec results summary.)

Thankfully, only a couple of the $10 Zinfandels fell into this same category.  Instead, most of them were well balanced and displayed at least hints of typical Zinfandel flavors.

Of course, even the best of these $10 bottles isn’t quite going to be on the same level as a nice $25 or $50 bottle. (Think Ridge or Carlisle.)  Flavor-wise, many of the value  bottles do, indeed, provide interesting aromas and flavors.  Maybe not quite as complex or strong as a more expensive bottle, but good enough to be interesting and enjoyable.  Only the bottom few value  bottles lacked interesting flavors or aromas.  The real difference between the value Zinfandels and the expensive Zinfandels is in the structure. A more expensive bottle generally gives you more body, concentration, and balance.  Just more oomph all around!

But, trust me, even without that $50 structure, the top few $10 bottles this month are more than worth your time.  Pick a few of these up and dig in!

Links to individual reviews

#1 – Ravenswood Old Vine Zinfandel Lodi 2014 – $9.99 at Total Wine

Best flavor profile of the month… fruit, vanilla, hot cocoa, black pepper, yum.

Ravenswood Zin Lodi Rating

#2 – Gnarled Vine Zinfandel 2014 – $9.99 at Total Wine

Great nose and flavors. Lacking a bit of power.

Gnarled Vine Zinfandel Rating

#3 – Ravenswood Zen of Zin 2014 – $8.49 at Total Wine

Nose of candied fruit and buttercream.  Needs more oomph.

Zen of Zin Rating

#4 –Ravenswood Old Vine Zinfandel Napa 2014 – $11.99 at Total Wine

Earthy on the front of the palate and fruity on the back. Nice but doesn’t excite.

Ravenswood Napa Rating

#5 – Rancho Zabaco Zinfandel Heritage Vines 2014 – $11.99 at Total Wine

Most complex aromas and flavors of the challenge. Slightly too much alcohol.

Zabaco Zinfandel Rating

#6 – Oak Grove Reserve Zinfandel 2013 – $8.99 at Total Wine 

Easy drinking and tastes like Smarties candies (chalk and cherry)!

Oak Grove Zinfandel Rating

#7 – Peachy Canyon Incredible Red Zinfandel 2014 – $9.79 at Total Wine

Roasted marshmallows on the nose.  A bit too much acidity.

Peachy Canyon Zinfandel Rating

#8 – Bogle Vineyards Zinfandel – $7.97 at Total Wine

Total middle-of-the road crowd pleaser.

Bogle Zinfandel Rating

#9 – Coppola Red Label Zinfandel 2014 – $9.79 at Total Wine

Some nice baking spices on the nose, but a bit too sweet on the mid-palate.

Coppola Zinfandel Rating

#10 – McManis Family Vineyards Zinfandel – $9.49 at Total Wine

Basic fruit flavors. Too much acidity and overly dilute.

McManis Zinfandel Rating

#11 – Cline Lodi Zinfandel – $9.29 at Total Wine

One dimensional with metallic edge.

Cline Zinfandel Rating


(Click here to see the results of all of our other Value Tasting Challenges!)

3 thoughts on “VinCrush Zinfandel Value Challenge Results! Find the best $10 Zins at Total Wine & More!

  1. Pingback: VinCrush Pinot Noir Value Challenge Results! Finding the best Pinots for around $10 at Total Wine & More!

  2. Pingback: VinCrush Merlot Value Challenge Results! Finding the Best Merlots for Around $10 at Total Wine & More!

  3. Pingback: VinCrush Cabernet Sauvignon Value Challenge Results! Finding the Best Cabs for Around $10 at Total Wine & More!

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