Recently in the San Francisco Chronicle, Jon Bonné, the Wine Editor, wrote about Zinfandel in his column. One of his praises of Zinfandel was its roots as The People’s Wine because of its long history in places like California as being one of the first grapes grown and turned into wine. However, the notion that Zinfandel is a People’s Wine is becoming a thing of the past with more Zinfandel bottles crossing the $40+ Rubicon. Today we are going to look at a wine which is certainly in the price range of most of The People, $4.
The Wine: A quick glance to the back label of Trader Joe’s 2009 Coastal Zinfandel reveals that this wine stems from the winery of Castoro Cellars, which is a winery we are going to re-visit on Saturday with their own Zin labeling. Unlike most of Trader Joes’ private label wines, we can clearly see where this wine comes from, no searching the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau’s website for clues. When I quickly compared the alcohol contents of the Castoro Cellars and Trader Joe’s offering, I see they are vastly different (Castoro 15%, TJ’s 13.9%), so I say with great confidence they are not the same wines. So how is this wine?
Color: You’ll find a plum hued purple presentation which is neither too dark nor too light, I believe this is what we call ‘medium’. Nice color, though.
Nose: Is that sulfur? Is that pickle juice? I’m pretty sure that smells a bit like fig. Or maybe is that a ficticous jam? Did someone put Charles Shaw in my glass? There weren’t many notable fragrances rising out of this juice which were getting me excited about this wine.
Palate: This is a flabby combination of red and darker fruit, digs, dates and really not much of any spice to entertain or beckon you for another taste. There is a minute level of tannins to dry your palate but that dissipates in a matter of two seconds and you’re left with a cheap wine aftertaste I would best describe as pickle juice’esque with flabby fruit tones.
Bottom Line: Next-Wine-Please!
I was really hoping to be writing about what I really felt was a People’s Wine worth raving about. I certainly am not looking for perfection, but I’d at least hope for more palatable nose and flavor profiles. For $1 more, you can buy a much better People’s Wine called Benefactor Cellars’ Red Wine. I really can’t get behind this wine beyond recommending it perhaps for passing around a campfire with a group of friends, after several bottles of better wine have been consumed – but you might as well break out the $2 stuff at that point…
Question: What do you consider to be The People’s Wine? And why?
Wine Dork Info:
- Price: $4
- Appellation: Central Coast, California
- Cellar: Castoro Cellars
- Alcohol: 13.9%