British wine critic Jancis Robinson has something of a romantic debt to American wine. Robinson and co-author Linda Murray have now written American Wine, a comprehensive book encompassing a range of United States wines from the well known to the obscure.
At 143 years of age, the Original Grandpere Vineyard in the Sierra Foothills is the oldest documented Zinfandel vineyard in California, and it still produces wines of high quality.
Combining the pleasantly mineral and grippy character of Carignane with rounder notes from five other grape varieties, this inexpensive offering from Bonny Doon is rather easy-going, despite the contrarian attitude implied in the name (which also refers to Contra Costa County, where most of the grapes come from). That contradictory character may be found in the fact that it is, in fact, so lovely and elegant and pleasant to drink, despite having fairly moderate alcohol (13.5%) and none of the overbearing fruit that so many Californian wines (certainly in that price range) would have you believe is balanced. At $14, there’s a lot of great stuff in there. A great deal—and just a really pleasant wine to drink. Recommended. RC