Friday, April 01, 2005

Wine: Spenker Zinfandel

One of my favorite wine sources in this country is the Lodi Appellation (as may already be apparent). The area gets its fair share of press on its Zinfandels and for good reason. The Spenker Winery's Zinfandels are superb examples of the excellent quality to cost ratio usually seen around Lodi.

Their 1999 Zinfandel can still be purchased directly from the winery, and at $19/bottle, it's a killer deal. I had a chance to open a bottle at a dinner party recently and attempted to spring it on some folks who aren't familiar with Zinfandels.
I tried to pour it without introducing it, but by the time I got to the third person's glass, the first two were singing its praises and demanding to know the name of it.

The Spenker Zinfandel has an impressively dark, inky color. Typical Zinfandel aromas come alive with one swirl: coffee, dark fruits, and violets all play together in its bouquet. The carmelized notes (coffee, chocolate) are subtle and quickly nudged out by the floral scents. As with many recent Zinfandels, it's a bit hot (at 14.5% alcohol it's hard not to be) but definitely not overwhelmingly so. Aside from that nit, the Spenker is a very well balanced wine with just enough acidity and tannin.

The 1999 may be reaching the end of its lifetime in the next few years.

Value: 3.5
Color & Clarity: 4.0
Bouquet: 4.0
Flavor: 3.5


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