Best zinfandel and Italian-style wines in Paso Robles 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 grape varietal. Great zinfandel and Italian-sttyle 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 local zinfandel and Italian-style wine recommendations
Ancient Peaks 2018 Zinfandel – $20
This wine offers deep, savory aromas of black cherry and plum with notes of vanilla, and tobacco. It has bright flavors of red raspberry and boysenberry and a juicy texture with hints of cedarwood. It finishes with fresh acidity. It’s a good value in this category.
Broken Earth Winery 2019 Nero d’Avola Zinfandel – $29
This is a red grape variety originally from Sicily, not often seen around Paso Robles. It has loads of fruit, ranging from black cherry to black plum with hints of tobacco and licorice. The palate is rich and meaty, really mouth-filling and vibrant. While tannins are evident, they sit nicely in the background and support the delicious fruit.
Brecon Estate 2018 Zinfandel – $58
The bulk of this zinfandel blend comes from the dry-farmed, organic, Four Hearts Vineyard. A bit of tannat, petite sirah, and petit verdot were added, giving the wine a meaty structure. Rather than being jammy, it’s a rich and complex wine with an intriguing spice layer. 15.9-percent alcohol.
Bushong 2018 Sleep Angels $37
This wine is 100-percent barbera from the Famous Author Vineyard. It’s a zesty Italian cousin to the more common zinfandel. This wine is rich, smooth, and balanced. It has aromas of incense and butterscotch with flavors of dark fruit and gentle acidity with low tannins. It earned 91 points from Wine Enthusiast. It’s 14.5-percent alcohol.
Castoro Cellars 2018 Reserve Zinfusion – $24
As the name suggests, this popular wine is a blend: 60-percent zinfandel and 40-percent primitivo. It presents dark raspberry red color, aromas of vanilla, sweet coconut, and fresh red fruits. It delivers flavors of raspberry and sweet vanilla, and black pepper spice with a smooth finish. It’s 14-percent alcohol.
Castoro Cellars 2018 Primotivo – $30
It is a medium ruby red in the glass with aromas of black cherry, black licorice, and a hint of white pepper. It offers flavors of black cherry, red plum, and vanilla with soft textured tannins. It’s 15-percent alcohol.
Felten Cellars 2015 Zinfandel – $28
An overall robust wine delivering intense spicy complexity that goes down easy. Blackberry, pepper, and cocoa blend to deliver a full-bodied tasting experience. A glass of this wine pairs nicely with a BBQ steak or any chocolate dessert.
LXV 2018 The Jewel – $65
This rich red blend is 76-percent of the Italian grape nebbiolo and 24-percent cabernet sauvignon. The wine has notes of pressed red rose petals, red cherry, and some earthiness with medium tannins. The cab lends the wine a certain gravitas. LXV offers beautiful boxes with their wines, making them a perfect gift.
Opolo 2018 Mountain Zinfandel – $30
This is one of Paso Robles’s iconic zinfandel wines. It’s a decadently jammy and fruit-forward wine. Opens with rich aromas of raspberry, rhubarb, and Bing cherry with hints of vanilla, cedar, and tea leaf. Flavors of dark plum and cherry are married with silky smooth tannins that lead into a long and satisfying finish.
Peachy Canyon 2018 Baily Zinfandel – $48
Made by one of Paso Robles’ premier zinfandel producers, this wine was farmed organically by the Bailey family for generations, the fruit for this 100-percent zinfandel wine was fermented in small lots with hand punch-downs three times daily. After a gentle pressing, this wine was aged for 18 months in a combination of French and Hungarian oak barrels and puncheons. It has a deep garnet color, aromas of white pepper, cocoa, and olallieberry. It delivers flavors of bright berries. It’s a delicious treat.
Peachy Canyon 2018 Mustard Creek Zinfandel – $45
This wine was farmed at Peachy’s Mustard Creek Vineyard, the fruit for this wine was fermented in tank where it received two to three pump-overs daily. The alluring result has aromas of dried berries and dried herbs, the flavors are textbook zinfandel, with flavors of berry cobbler, cranberries, cherry cola and cedar.
Pear Valley 2018 Charbono – $29
This is a dark wine, opaque to a deep crimson rim. It leads with aromas of berry compote, dark chocolate, and subtle violets. It is soft in tannin and with great acidity and flavors of pomegranate, black cherry, and a hint of tar.
Pear Valley 2018 Nero d’Avola – $38
This is Pear Valley’s first-ever bottling of this Sicilian variety. It has sweet aromas of peach yogurt, raspberry, and subtle white pepper spice. On the palate, this wine is rich and full with dark plum, anise, and more raspberry. It has elegant tannins and acid.
Seven Angels Cellars 2016 Grace – $28.80
This wine is a blend of 60-percent zinfandel and 40-percent syrah. It has a garnet hue, jammy aromas on the nose with notes of blackberry and ripe tannins. It has a lingering finish with a touch of spice. Pairs well with roasted lamb or prime rib.
Tobin James 2015 Ballistic – $18
Many moons ago, this wine served as my first introduction to Paso Robles zinfandel. It has aromas and flavors of juicy raspberry jam, pepper, and spice. They call it, “Paso in a glass!” and they don’t disappoint. Plus, you can’t beat the price. It is 15.6-percent alcohol.
Victor Hugo 2017 Estate Zinfandel- $26
This zinfandel from the Templeton Gap AVA is full-bodied, and wildly aromatic, with hints of toasted oak, blackberries and velvety tannins, this wine has a rich bold finish and is well-balanced. Delightful first sip but crisper after breathing in the glass. This Zin would pair perfectly with a Rack of Lamb or a Filet Mignon. Bring home this big bold varietal for the holidays!
Vista Del Rey 2017 ‘Bomba Ciruela’ Zinfandel – $30
A robust mouthful of dry-farmed zinfandel grapes from long-time local winemaker Dave King. It’s a big, spicy wine with dark berry, plum, and cherry flavors. Drink all by itself or pair with grilled meats, pizzas and pastas. Enjoy a glass while decorating for the holidays.
Vista Del Rey Zin-Bera – $30
This is a non-vintage blend of 67-percent zinfandel and 33-percent barbera. It is a fruit-forward wine with rich notes of cherries and berries and spice. It’s is quite tantalizing. The acidity lingers with a smooth velvety finish. This wine would pair wonderfully with a juicy steak or an Italian meal with marinara sauce.
See more 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 zinfandel wines for the holidays
• Best local Rhone-style red wines and red blends for the holidays
• Best cabernet, Bordeaux-style, and red wines in Paso Robles for the holidays
• Best local dessert wines for the holidays
Publisher’s note: For the seventh year in a row we thought it would be a great idea to recommend local wines for the holidays. Once again, we received an amazing amount of participation from our local wineries. Over the last two weeks, we received more than 100 entries. After tasting and tasting and tasting, there were many solid, well-made wines to recommend. We have created several lists of top local wines into categories. The recommended wines above are in alphabetical order.