Tuesday, October 7, 2008
In recent years, the Seghesio Sonoma County Zinfandel has enjoyed a steady rise north of 90 points in Wine Spectator's ratings. Since 2004, their mass produced (68,000 cases in 2007!) Sonoma County Red Zin has climbed from 88 to 90 to 91 to 93 BIG points in 2007.
It's worth noting that Spectator's James Laube, who has historically covered all California wines, has given up the Zinfandel beat. Laube is focusing on the more prestigious varietals of Cabernet, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and has transferred the task of rating California Zinfandels to Tim Fish. Nonetheless, Fish's 93 points is worth taking note of. It is a huge number at this price point, and in my experience every point north of 90 is harder and harder to come by.
I haven't tasted this latest vintage, but I've been a *huge* fan of Seghesio in the past. It's just one of those consistent go-to wines that I love, is readily available at local wine stores (including Costco) and is enjoyed by wine fanatics and novices alike- I've never met anyone who didn't like this wine. Though the alcohol content is high (15.5% woo hoo!) I've never felt this wine was too hot. On the contrary- it sneaks up on you after a couple of glasses and you're like "man- where did that come from?"
Though the release price was $24, I've seen it south of $17 (and no tax in Massachusetts) at Costco and I just got an E-mail from The San Diego Wine Co. announcing it as their wine of the week at a similar price. You may be asking yourself- why does a Wellesley wine blog pay attention to wine shops in San Diego? More on that another time- but for now I'd just like to note that the San Diego Wine Co. is a *great* wine shop.
The first exposure I got to this brand was at a winemaker's tasting at the nearby Lower Falls Wine Co. One of the Seghesio family members came in from California to put on a tasting that was very similar to what you'd experience at a winery tasting. I enjoyed trying their smaller production Zinfandel offerings as well as some really nice Italian varietals. Next week, I'm looking forward to a similar Seghesio tasting at the Hingham Wine Merchant. I wish more shops would do these kinds of focused tasting which closely replicate the winery tasting room experience.
I put this wine in similar company as the Buehler Cabernet Sauvignon and the Columbia Crest Grand Estates Merlot. They're great, consistent wines at reasonable prices that should find their way onto your shoppping list. I'll update this post when I get a chance to try some of this vintage.
Update! (10/19/2008): I had a chance to try a bottle of this wine. Still nice, but I do not sense an uptick from previous vintages. In fact, I think I like the 2006 better- it seemed more dense and distinctive than the 2007. I went 91 points on the 2006 and on the 2007 I say 90 points. Read my cork.com review here.
Question of the Day: Have you tried Seghesio wines in the past? What did you think of them?