Bonterra 2019 California Zinfandel ($13.99)
Bonterra Zinfandel, a good-value California Zin made with certified organic grapes, offers an appealing introduction to Zinfandel at a rational price. Its fresh, fruity aroma offers characteristic Zin raspberries and strawberries, with distinct touches of blueberry and black plum that might signal the splash of Petite Sirah in the blend. A heady overtone of strawberry liqueur comes along for the ride. Plums and blueberries are more evident in the flavor, with food-friendly acidity and a light buzz of tannins that linger. Notes of oak show as pleasant black coffee and dark chocolate as the wine airs in the glass. Sturdy 15.3% alcohol is worth noting, but to the wine’s credit, it handles the high alcohol well without unpleasant harshness or heat. (Aug. 26, 2021)
FOOD MATCH: This hearty, fruity aromatic red is a natural with just about all forms of red meat: Steaks, prime rib, roast pork or venison. Creamy cheeses also bring up its flavor nicely, and it goes surprisingly well with fiery fare: We enjoyed it with a Cajun-Italian mix of spicy okra and tomatoes over penne rigate.
WHEN TO DRINK: A couple of years in a good cellar will do this wine no harm, but I advise drinking Zin within five years or so after the vintage, while its trademark fruit is fresh.
Wine-Searcher.com lists a $15 average U.S. retail, the winery posts a $16 suggested retail price. I was delighted to pick up a bottle locally for $14; it’s certainly a good bargain throughout the middle teens.
The winery offers a short fact sheet and a purchase opportunity at this link.
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