Best local zinfandel and Italian-style wines for the holidays
A list of the best Paso Robles wines for the holidays would not be complete without a section on zinfandel. It’s known as the Paso Robles heritage wine. Great zinfandel wines from Paso Robles are typically full-bodied, fruity with aromas of berries, sometimes jammy, and usually of moderate to high alcohol content. They should pair well with roasted turkey, lamb, red meats and anything Italian you might be making for the holidays.
Top Paso Robles zinfandel and Italian-style wines for the holidays
August Ridge 2012 Ingenious – $44
This bold blend is nebbiolo based with cabernet sauvignon and merlot added for balance. It has aromas of dried flowers and red berry. It offers complex flavors of spicy woods, cedar, plums and pepper.
Bianchi 2012 Zinfandel – $32
This two-year, barrel-aged zin is full-bodied with spicy layers of cherry, raspberry and cinnamon flavors and ends with a wonderful velvety vanilla clove finish. It would pair well with pork, turkey or lamb, especially with a sweet glaze.
Brecon Estate Zinfandel/Tannat – $52
A big, jammy, slightly sweet zinfandel with added boldness from 35-percent tannat blended into this wine.
Burbank Ranch 2013 Sangiovese – $38
While not a zinfandel, this Italian varietal offers some similarity with flair. It has plum notes right upfront followed by slight pepper and very smooth warm aftertaste and finish. While lighter red, it has fine legs on the glass. This wine pairs well appetizers through the final course.
Castoro Cellars 2014 Reserve Zinfusion – $24
Zinfusion has become a coveted wine among zin lovers. It’s a blend of Castro’s best zinfandel vineyard lots. This ruby wine explodes with raspberry jam, rose petals, cherry pie, and wild strawberries. The vibrant, fruity body is balanced perfectly with the chalky tannins and a peppery spice finish. It earned 90 points from Wine.com.
Circle B Vineyard 2014 Zinfandel – $28
This wine has a ruby-garnet color with fresh berries and plums on the note. It has pleasant balance of fruit on the palate with cedar and black cherries. It will pair well with prime rib and game meats.
J Dusi 2014 Zinfandel – $38
This 100-percent zinfandel was grown on the Dante Dusi Vineyard in Paso Robles. It was planted in the 1920s and 40s and is a dry-farmed, head pruned vineyard. This big zin explodes with fruit on the palate and is ideal for holiday dishes like roasted turkey or honey-baked ham.
Midnight Cellars Winery 2012 Estate Zinfandel – $39
This Willow Creek District zin is ruby red in color with aromas of red raspberries and cherries. It has flavors of fig, black currant and a touch of spice with the right amount of jasmines. It recently earned an impressive 91 points from Wine Enthusiast.
Nadeau Family Vintners 2015 Critical Mass Zinfandel – $30
Another big zinfandel from this renowned zin producer. Nadeau’s motto is “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth over-doing.” I say, well done. It has bold jammy cherry and raspberry flavors that big zin lovers will really enjoy.
Peachy Canyon 2014 Westside Zinfandel – $20
Our holiday zinfandel recommendations would not be complete without a nod to one of Paso Robles’ most-famed zin producers. This bottle delivers classic westside Paso Robles zinfandel flavors at a great price point. It earned 91 points from Wine Enthusiast. This wine is flush with aromas of ripe fruit and baking spices. On the palate, look for red and black cherry, huckleberry, and dessert spices like vanilla and clove. Lush fruit and supple tannins lend structure to this delectable zin.
Peachy Canyon 2014 Incredible Red Zinfandel – $15
Yet another hit zin from Peach Canyon at a great price. It earned a gold medal at Jerry Mead’s New World International Wine Competition. The wine has a rich and fruity nose with black cherry, blackberry and nutmeg, and vanilla. On the palate the wine is round and sumptuous, with notes of cherry, clove, and orange oil. This Incredible Red meets and exceeds the promise in its name.
Pomar Junction 2014 Zinfandel – $38
This estate wine’s intense berry flavors and supple tannins will pair with holiday meals of rich meats such as rack of lamb, prime rib, and roasted duck with grilled vegetables or a hearty beef stew.
Ranchero Cellars 2013 Carignan – $32
An interesting Italian varietal that was once popular in the Central Valley for bulk wine, premier Paso Robles winemaker Amy Butler has turned its reputation around and made a gem. It offers aromas of clove, black cherries and hints of ginger. On the palate taste holiday spice and plum fruit with a medium tannic finish. It’s delightful!
Sextant 2014 Central Coast Zinfandel– $16
This delicious zin is a stand out for its value. It’s a blend of 75-percent zinfandel and 24-percent petite sirah. It has a bold fruit-forward flavor with a juicy mid-palate and finished with light tannins.
Vista Del Rey 2013 ‘Comida Simpático’ Zinfandel
“Comida Simpático” translates to “nice food.” The light and fruity zinfandel is also nice with food. It’s from Dave King’s 35-year-old dry-farmed vines off San Marcos Creek Road. The wine is a traditional approach to zinfandel. It’s flavors are subtle and flawless with just 13.5-percent alcohol. It will pair well with a turkey dinner.
Victor Hugo 2013 Estate Zinfandel – $24
This wine brings very distinct intense aromas of black raspberry, boysenberry, along with a hint of bittersweet chocolate. Full berry flavors lead the way in this wine. The combination of flavors left a desirable long lasting flavor on the palette. This wine pairs wonderfully with rich red sauces as well as seafood and chicken.
Vina Robles 2013 Zinfandel – $32
This classic zin shows ruby garnet colors and flavors of black raspberry and plum with notes of amaretto and spice. It will pair well with pork, lamb and filet mignon.
Paso Robles wine recommendations
- Best local sparkling wines for the holidays
- Best local rosé wines for the holidays
- Best local white wines for the holidays
- Best local Rhone-style white wines for the holidays
- Best local pinot noir wines for the holidays
- Best local zinfandel and Italian-style wines for the holiday
- Best local cabernet sauvignon and Bordeaux-style wines for the holidays
- Best local Rhone-style red wines for the holidays
- Best local dessert wines for the holidays
Publisher‘s note: For the third year in a row we thought it would be a great idea to recommend local wines for upcoming holiday parties and dinners. Once again, I had no idea how much participation we would receive from our local wineries. Over the last few weeks we received more than 100 entries. I was originally planning a list of 10 or so of the best wines, but after tasting and tasting and tasting, there were just too many solid, well-made wines to recommend. So we decided to break up the list of top local wines into categories. The recommended wines are in alphabetical order.