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Is Zinfandel a serious wine?

on 01/02/11 at 9:20 am


“I knew there would be some grumbling over this past Sunday’s Thirst column on Zinfandel — when you suggest that someone’s favorite wine has gone downscale, there’s likely to be that reaction.

To be sure, I got a note from one of California’s one-time top Zin producers exhorting me to “adapt a broader approach and vision in your reporting.” (Also suggesting that Zin is “the best wine value in the New World,” which I suspect Australia and Argentina, to say nothing of bargain Cab producers, might question.)  That offset other missives, including the popular Zin producer who commended my populist-no-more sentiments with a suggestion that Zin “needs to stay like the American hamburger and fries—no one would pay $30 for [it],” and another from a Zin winemaking veteran who had long since shied away from the Zinfandel Advocates & Producers festival, taking place this weekend, because “it seemed to reinforce the cycle of lower prices creating lesser wines.”

Which underscored my original point: that Zin is in the midst of a culture clash right now, between a successful marketing stance that positioned it as the anti-snob wine, and those who still believe in its potential as a serious, nuanced, terroir-expressing grape. That realization came after watching ZAP’s gestalt be pointed distinctly toward the everyman.”

{Full story via SF Chronicle}

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