EP 945 Blind Zinfandel Tasting

With Thanksgiving around the corner, Gary Vaynerchuk blind tastes four bottles of Zinfandel at a variety of price points.

Wines tasted in this episode:

Bogle ZinfandelCalifornia Red Zinfandel
2008 Seghesio Sonoma ZinfandelSonoma Red Zinfandel
2006 Louis Martini Monte Rosso Zinfandel Gnarly VinesNapa Red Zinfandel
2007 Outpost Zinfandel Howell MountainNapa Red Zinfandel

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luca bercelli


line of the day – ‘This feels like an enhanced man or woman’

Blind shows are always a fun watch

Tags: california, napa, review, Sonoma, wine, wines, zinfandel

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  • F*@#$*@*# JETS!!! my lions. 🙁 *sniffle*

  • Hotspur75

    WOW! Congrats to the Jets!
    I’m in for some of the matured French stuff for right now, but it changes daily!
    Sorry, gotta do some nerdin’: I think Zin was introduced to the US by a Hungarian guy named Haraszthy (ring a bell?). The family went on to produce famous Eclipse Champagne.
    All the best!

  • Wife loves Outpost Zinfandel. Great video, go Jets!

  • Anonymous

    If they’re not that great and cost about the same as champagne, then here’s a suggestion: JUST BUY CHAMPAGNE!!!! Grower champagne blows away pretty much ANY Cava, Prosecco, domestic sparkler, etc…of course, you do what you want, but if ya just wanna throw yer money away I have a place you can send it! 😉 Cheers, bloke!

  • Bradengillespie

    While I would generally agree with that it totally depends on the zin. I opened a 2007 A. Rafanelli zin for thanksgiving (a month or so ago in canada) and it was absolutely sublime. There is more of an understated elegance to a Rafanelli zin than you would find in some others such as Earthquake, Rosenblum and so on. And half the fun is trying them to decide which one to crack on thanksgiving!

  • Anonymous

    Hi Gary! Keep doing blind tastings!!

    QOTD: leaning old world.

    P.S. I saw that the jets barely made it against the lions!

  • Anonymous

    Gary, how much did you pay Julian Peterson? Man, Jets should have lost that game!

  • Anonymous

    Had another bottle of 2005 Chateau Larrivaux Haut-Medoc this weekend mmmmmmmmmmm goooooood! Absolutely wonderful.

  • QOTD: My palate is this: I prefer the unoaked Chardonnay; I prefer really grapefruity, New Zealand Sauv. Blancs; I prefer spicy, smokey, dirty big reds…
    THERE, I said it! : )

    Phil Anderson
    General Wine Thoughts

  • Anonymous

    QOTD: I think my palate is more open to diversity now than it has ever been. I love ‘geeky’ wines that offer something beyond the ordinary. For every day drinking, the only thing I can’t take are the fruit and oak bombs. Hate to feel like I’m drinking syrup!

  • Anonymous

    The Jets won, now it’s time to watch a new episode with THUNDER. 🙂

  • Mad5268

    Newbie lurker coming out now

  • YEsssss!

  • Ohhhhhh yes!

  • WOW!

  • 🙂 and sorry!

  • WIN!



  • Kfrost29

    Aged napa cabs and wines from Portugal (I also have a case of the Seghesio)

  • Whateva Green and White. 😛

    That one field goal! Ugh. That’s like the 3rd loss because of a blasted lost field goal.

  • WineCutter

    QOTD: Still don’t like the super tanic wines that dry your mouth out to the point that you can’t enjoy the fruit, but getting tired of the fruit bombs. Loving good Alsace and/or Austrian Riesling.

  • Thanks for the review…I know a number of people that will probably flip for the Bogle at that price point.

    QOTD: all over the place…
    there will definitely be riesling at the T-Day table…as well as some home made stuff. The nouveaux Marquette is a cherry bomb.

  • OverTheTop

    Great show! As my moniker may indicate, I have always loved the big guys, but I also enjoy drinking the more balanced wines, zins in particular. I have tasted the Seghesio and Bogle and liked them both (great QPRs!) and looking forward to trying the Outpost.

    Personally, my favorite zins are made by a small winery in Sebastopol, CA by Fred Scherrer. I like his zins when young, but I really LOVE them when they are old – we have recently drunk some of his 2001 and 2003 Old and Mature Zins – they are some of the best wines I’ve ever had, great with food and great on it own! it’s the kind that makes me say, “This is why I drink wine”!

  • Anonymous

    Excellent episode, really enjoyed the blind tasting.

    QOTD – I like the style of refreshing, light, high acid, crisp, white wines as my primary favorite New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadet from the Loire Valley, Vino Verdi from Portugal, Reisling from Alsace region, unoaked Chardonnay from the Chablis region, etc, etc,etc.

  • Anonymous

    Good episode. I liked the blind tasting (as always) and I’m not at all surprised by the results. I love Seghesio’s Zins for the most part.

    QOTD: My palate is generally similar to your, GV. I am turned off by buttery, oaky Chardonnays. I like the bombastic fruit bombs from time to time because, as you say, they are often just plain delicious. But I tend towards “old world” wines that have balance. I don’t mind the New World wines either, because that California sunshine isn’t a bad thing, but they need to hold down the alcohol levels and get balance in their structure. I also really like complex wines and lesser known varietals to keep expanding my palate (yes, I am a true Vayniac – you sold me on the “try new things” concept a long time ago and you are so right!).

  • NY Pete

    Monday ….

    after a BIG Jets win …

    where’s the thunder?

  • Elegantcatering

    I thought this show was interesting because I am a huge Zinfandel fan and have been for years. I think what I like about it is the Port-like quality and “bigness”. I can enjoy drinking it by itself and with many foods. By the way, I just bought 6 bottles of some Zin from Wine Library (it’s in the basement now and I can’t remember the name). I’m sure we will drink a bottle for Thanksgiving with our Mark Bittman turkey.

  • Hey Gar…always fun to see you get nervous!

    QOTD: My palate is like a kid growing up. Picky at first and then eventually picking up aquired tastes. Growing up in the desert I’ve always liked cold drinks. I went from whites, to reds, to sparkling wine and back, and then forward, and then back again. Because I’m constantly pairing food with wine, I’ve learned to love and appreciate every glass and admire how each wine has its role to play with food…

  • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    QOTD: Sometimes it is hard to say where my Palate is going. I rarely like fruit bombs I like whites reds and everything in between. I stand stand something that is too sweet (especially when you can tell its an added sweetness). Right now i’m still all about balance in taste and texture.

  • mikek

    Gary, first the Jets looked sickly against Green Bay and BARELY survived the MIGHTY LIONS!??! BUT that’s just the tip of the iceberg when the Browns BEAT the PATS like they were big, bad, bullies! Will this be the Jets v Giants Superbowl (Mott … link THAT up)! LOL!or do we have to wait for them to play at the NEW SWAMP! Karma is a killer!

    I hope you and yours are well! Ian is still the best!

    QOTD: Spanish Ribero del Douro, Chilian Cabs, & Carmenere, South African Chardonnay, New Zealand SB, California PS & my new favs: CDP & southern Rhones Gigondas, Vacqueryes!

    oh snap…almost forgot Italian super Tuscans too !(Piedmonte)

    I feel like a lurker … it’s been almost a year! Wine makes everything fine! Best to you & the crew, GV. Still love ya after all this time!? Thanks for the awesome content! (can’t wait for episode #1000)! Mike

  • Anonymous

    late again, w/ laptop annoyances, & busy weekend… but, I likethe way you handled it! I’m still, way beyond the Zin years, and even American wines in general, have to be limited, cause of the huge push of fruit and alc. to the front. I too , would expect Outpost (and Martini Gnarly) to scream out of the line up, but I had one, not long ago, and I had a similar feeling on it. (For my palate). TONS of people, I KNOW, respond to this style in a big way (!!), and I don’t just turn my nose up at Mountain, or Pedigree vineyard/estate fruit.
    QotD – My palate always liked acid, and tart. ‘s great for food. makes things I didn’t like at a younger age, such as capers, even MORE delicious (w/ tarty wines). The fruit quotient was enjoyed, and over long term, downplayed, as wines got ridiculous in the last 10 years (and longer). Before that, – 20 years ago, wines w/ such fruit intensity – High end Zin, Silver Oak) were more special, a bit more uncommon, and easier to glorify. Big & high end Aussies were next, and again, in a league of appreciation well beyond the wines in the regular supermarket realm and p.p. Last, were the huge outpourings of the most modern Spanish wines, and even as I love Ordonez, et al, or Priorat, Bierzo, etc., the amount of big wines I personally want to take home for myself, is kind of tapped out.
    I like to taste wines of any nation and geographic region, and not factory/industrialized brands, if can be avoided. I am a freak for Grower- Producer Champagnes. I can enjoy many other bubbles, even well made charmat/ tank fermented stuff of quality. As an industry -type, I’ve led trends, and don’t follow them, hence I’m very tired of mediocre Malbecs (having discovered Cahors, and in fact, all the main varietals’ history/geographies many years ago), would prefer even a Methode Traditionelle Franciacorta, or even a sparkling Lambrusco to Prosecco, for my own purposes. But, ouside of the home, am well adjusted enough that that is no problem. I could esily enjoy several Bordeaux of varying qualities, every week, and not get bored. To attempt to do so in Burgundy would be too expensive, AND too rich in hedonistic decadently intoxicating fumes. I can like Chards in most of it’s broad ranges, but easily can do without (sic) the over ripe, fruitified ( w/ varying degrees of unmentioned blending), and Love S. B., Cali, and otherwise, to it’s numerous glories. I have a Scotch at home when mom wants, and having worked in fine Rests., C.C.s, and liquor retail for years, know good singles I like, and know good blends. And most of all, as a pretty long time, solid, bicycle subculture type (was a courrier, 95-96), and having repped a really strong Belgian ale book for years, am a huge beer lover. There. that’s prob. too much. sorry.

  • Anonymous

    Drinking lots of grenache, syrah etc. type blends from cotes du rhone, spain. Lots of rose over the summer, less now. White I am liking torrontes, albarinos, viognier. Always try to have variety, enjoyed a 2003 Puygueraud with lamb tonight.

  • Anonymous

    My favorite wines are lighter bodied and old world reds, and acidic whites. Also enjoy sparkling wines and dessert wines. But all are good if well made. After all, it makes you feel good and helps you enjoy food and friends. What’s to not like?

  • bayouwino

    Glad for the cool weather. Time to enjoy bold, peppery, dusty zins from Northern Sonoma (Bella, and some Rockpile Zins). For something perhaps more refined and earthy, Willamette Pinot Noir is fitting the bill. (Both of these are good for Thanksgiving, especially when you have roast duck to go with the turkey.) Summer was full of Pinot Gris, Albarino, Gewurtz and SB.

  • Paco

    Hi Gary; Great show…. When can you do blind tasting comparing carmenere against Zin.- Thanks..

  • Anonymous

    QOTD – I am still on the constant quest to try as many things as possible. I have moved from a Rhone and South France kick more into a Pink and Sparkling wine phase. I love the food friendlyness and easy drinking factors.

    Now I feel a pull back toward some of the more fruit forward styles becasue I can more enjoy those Reds alone, after dinner. Speaking of dinner, then it is all about pairing and coming up with a good match up…

  • Justin l. Ove

    Great question for me at this moment. I just attended a wine tasting featuring a lot of big california cabs. These were wines that I would have been in love with about 4 years ago. Massive fruit, big Ink, tannin, etc. I still enjoy these wines, but after tasting through them I found myself asking a simple question: Where is the acid??? I remember you mentioning once that after a while we wine drinkers can become acid fiends. I finally understood in a major way exactly what you meant! Those over the top wines were just TOO MUCH.
    I’d say the state of my palate is still very experimental. I’m the wine store clerks worst nightmare…”What do you mean you don’t carry a dry Furmint?” The grape I’ve been after lately though is Bonarda. I’ve had two exceptional Bonarda’s recently that have me on the hunt for more!
    Great show Gary!

  • QTOD. I’ve always been an Old World guy that likes to try everything and anything. I’m lately moving more and more towards more lower alcohol, naturally made, easier to drink and distinct wines that speak of the place. I dislike more an more wines that just try to be a varietal.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with you on bogle, I recently had the Bogle Phantom and it was great quality for $20.
    Qotd: Right now I tend to like the red blends. especially from california meritage style, but i also like rhone and bordeaux right now too. i am also floating back to light white wines, but i still require good bit of acidity to help it have some back bone.

  • Jasonbcarey

    They are bigger but have serious structure tannin and acidiy.,.. that is the difference.. Also the Single Vineyard Ravenswoods are more dialed back fruit wise these days

  • Red Shouldered Hawk

    I’m looking for intrigue. M2 in Lodi has an old vine zin from the Soucie vineyard that has a hard to place taste in the middle of it. Some say mushroom. Reminds me vaguely of strawberry compote. Anyway, I went tasting in Napa a few weeks ago and was grossly disappointed. Cabernets tasted overly extracted and uniform. We were in the Yountville area. Maybe the northern part of the valley would have been more to my liking. I also loved loved loved the Old Ghost Klinker Brick 2008 zin from Lodi. It finishes with chocolate cherry, not pepper, but don’t hold that against it.

  • Anonymous

    Whites: Starting to Enjoy Oak in my whites esp Southern Rhones, Full Bodied

    Reds: Med Body, Sour Cherry Fruits [Sangiovese, Nebbiolo etc]

  • Scott

    Well around 97 I was working on some lucrative films and we went shopping for wine mostly in Sonoma. Rafaneli was big on the list, also Lymric Lane and a lot of Petit Sarah and Cab and Gevertz from Field Stone. Now 13 years later the big Zins are still very delicious but we don’t drink them with food. We have come to appreciate the wines that go well with food a lot more. Everete Ridge had a Zin called Workhorse that is Much more food friendly. That still works well. Times are a lot tighter so $30 a bottle (at the case price) is a lot less attractive, but also good food wines are very attractive. We went to Portugal in 06 and that opened a whole new vein with the Vino Verde and the generally low alcohol food friendly wines.

    So now our palates are kind of scitzo with California BIG wines as sipping and sit around and have wine as a meal kind of wines, but much lighter “firmer” wines with food.

    The big plus of course is, as you mentioned, the big$$$ seem to be more connected with the BIG wines and we drink a lot less of those.

  • Scott

    Side note. You might want to consider doing a show with the guy who tastes Coffee (and owns) Sweet Maria’s. His coffee reviews are a bit like your wine reviews and I would love to have you two taste each others specialties.

  • Thubten2001

    I live in Zin country. The oldest zin vineyard in American is here. It is also hot so the over ripe zin is common. I love Gary and I have the book crush it. Great Book. I really think there is a more honest way to taste wines. I call it Technical wine tasting, but really it gets down to there are really four main elements to wine and if you over describe the any one element then you really aren’t doing your job. The elements are aroma (fruit esters), acid, sweetness, and tannin or other (wild yeast) flavors. Gary keeps using the word Big. Gary you are better than that. Big is meaningless. I think you mean very ripe (you explained some in this video) which really means high alc., sweet, and low acid. Please just describe what we can tast like sweetness alc. and acid. and forget the flower ambiguous language. I would love to call your radio show get you to admit that I am right. I know underneath you agree with me.

  • Pete C

    My palate is curious.

  • I’m learning to decipher between vague flavor descriptions: smoky, fruity, spicy, earthy, vegetable-y, marshmallowy.

  • I like big wines, I do. But I’ve just been trying alot of different stuff lately. Really excited about New Zealand Pinot. Also, exploring Veneto and Bolghieri lately. But with all the heavy food that’s eaten in the winter, I’m definitely leaning towards big dark fruit.

  • Mlnutter

    Zinfandel, all sub 90 points (sorry Gary can’t reverse the call without instant replay) big surprise! In my opinion this grape is very overrated, and if didn’t come from California (world’s 7th largest economy, and economically powerful), it would be an afterthought.


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