Renwood Zinfandel 2004 Sierra Foothills
In reference to Zinfandel, when in doubt, find one from a winery beginning with the letter “R”. Renwood, Ravenswood, Ridge, Rosenblum, and Rabbit Ridge, for example, all offer fine examples of California Zinfandel, at various price points.
While perusing the local Total Wine & More — which is kind of like the Home Depot of wine shops — I came upon a shelf with a number of 2004 Zins at unusually lower-than-normal prices. Not crazy low, but a few dollars and enough to make me notice. This told me one of three things: 1. the retailer was running a special sale; 2. the distributor needed to clear out some old inventory; 3. 2004 was a poor vintage for California Zin; or 4. all of the above.
I figured, what the heck, and picked up this red-labeled bottle with the cute little bird.
What I found out later is that Robert Parker Jr. rated 2004 Zinfandel as merely an 82 in his venerable snob scribe The Wine Advocate (interestingly, the Wine Enthusiast lists ’04 Zin as between 87 and 90). According to Parker, “82” falls in the range of “above average to excellent”. Luckily for us bargain hunters, the nose-turned-upward crowd rarely pick up a wine that is scored less than 90, so these “above average” bottles can often be had at rock-bottom prices. Generally, this bottle can be found for somewhere between $10-12, but I found it for less than nine bucks.
Nose is fairly open, showing dirty earth, some black fruit, and a smoky element. Texture is very smooth, carrying black cassis fruit, significant earth, tar, and tobacco flavors. Acidity is mild, tannins are medium, alcohol is refreshingly low for a Zinfandel. Overall, this wine is OK on its own, a soft style of Zin without the over-the-top, jammy fruit you may find in other California Zinfandels. Enjoy it with food, particularly simple bistro fare such as chicken pot pie, mac and cheese, turkey burgers, shepherdâ€™s pie, lean meat loaf. Reminds me of an easydrinking Cotes du Rhone.
a-7 t-7 b-7 fc-7 v-7 ~ 85 Points