Zinfandel Showdown – The Under $20 Showdown

What do you get when you combine high fruit, high sugar, high alcohol, high flavor, and traditionally smooth flavor?

My favorite wine varietal.

Some oenophile’s think Zinfandels are too sweet to be considered among the elite, but the grape that makes up 10% of the California production is a complex, challenging grape to coax consistent flavor out of.

Tonight the everyday man Zinfandel gauntlet is thrown down. Hulk Hogan, Rowdy Roddy Piper and Brett Hart in a cage match to the death. Okay, so no death was involved, but this taste test certainly exposes three under $20 Zinfandel wines! Check out the NectarView and tasting notes!

2007  RedTree Zinfandel – Cechetti Wine Company; CA $8

  • Swirl – Light in color, could see all the way to the bottom of the glass.
  • Sniff – Aromatically challenged with hints of pepper and red fruit, cherry and strawberry.
  • Swirl – More pepper than fruit on the front; fruit comes through on the back. Like biting into a sweeter green pepper with a mild cherry finish. Not enough acidity to compete with the big boys.
  • Price to Value Ratio: $$$+

For $8, the wine wasn’t offensive or negative in taste. Overall there wasn’t anything exciting to write home about. Your everyday Hulk Hogan wine that has a lot of talk but not much substance.

2006 Roseblum Cellars Zinfandel; CA $12

  •  Swirl: Darker plum in color with slight cloudiness, mild legs representing mild acidity
  • Sniff: Musty wet basement smell was overwhelming. With effort a little bit of spice comes through. Pretty offensive to the nose
  • Sip: Now the fruit, strawberry and cherry, comes through. More acidity and tannin on the finish
  • Price to Value Ratio: $ – Not recommended. Could be an issue of poor storage or a bad bottle, but the musty smell was difficult to overcome.

Like Rowdy Roddy Piper very offensive, but tries to compete with the big boys.

2004 Brassfield Estate High Valley Zinfandel; $22

  • Swirl: Dark pearlescent plum color with good color. Good strong legs representing good acidity
  • Sniff: Wow, before I even put my nose in the glass I could smell the amazing berry fruits – especially strawberry. More investigation revealed more mild pepper, rhubarb cinnamon and vanilla – it smelled like I was going to bite into a freshly made strawberry rhubarb pie.
  • Sip: The flavor did not disappoint. Just beyond the berry was a great cinnamon flavor paired with just enough spice and acidity to cut through a roast, pizza, or turkey dinner. Would even be a great dessert wine!
  • Price to Value Ratio: $$$$ – Maybe not an everyday value for those on a budget, but definitely a crowd pleaser for the holidays or to show your wine sophistication.

One again Brett Hart shows everyone up as the best and most entertaining of the bunch.

Overall, this was the most interesting taste review. It was super cool to have three different price points side by side to explore the grape quality and wine making quality differences.

Enjoy life with friends and DRINK.HAPPY


Owner of Nectar Tasting Room in Spokane, WA. (@nectarwine) Publisher of Spokane Wine Magazine (@spowinemag), author, speaker, consultant and internet marketer with Nectar Media (@nectarmedia)

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