Seghesio Zinfandel Review

vineyard sunsetSeghesio Vineyards is one of our favorite all-time wineries. We’ll tell you that right off the bat and admit possible prejudice in our wine review. One of the reasons we love Seghesio is that it’s one of the few family-owned wineries left in a sea of corporate-owned wine conglomerates. When you visit the Seghesio tasting room, you feel like everyone there actually CARES what you think and WANTS you to have a good experience. And we always do.

Just about every wine lover who hasn’t been in a cave for the last 18 months knows that Seghesio’s 2007 Sonoma County Zinfandel was launched into the stratosphere when it received a 93 rating and earned the #10 place on Wine Spectator’s “Top 100 Wines of 2008.” Not bad for a $25 wine.

So why would a Zin be so highly rated, when this is a grape that, as Rodney Dangerfield would say, “Don’t get no respect.” Many Zins, especially those from California’s Lodi region, are the WWF version of California wines. They’re too high in alcohol, too big, too “fruity”, too “raisin-y” on the palate. Frankly, they give Zinfandel a bad name.

Enter Seghesio… Their Zin pedigree dates back to 1866, when young Edoardo  Seghesio came over from the Old Country and found in California’s Sonoma County a countryside that reminded them of his native Piedmonte, Italy. During the decades that followed they grew grapes and sold them to many buyers, and only started to bottle it under their own name in 1983. Our store actually sold those early Seghesio’s because we recognized that they were great wines for the money (a measly $10 back then!)

So enough preamble — why do we like the 2008 Sonoma County Zin? First, the balance is right on. It’s neither too high in alcohol nor overly fruity. There’s no cloying raisin character, and the body is only as heavy as it has to be to carry the blueberry and blackberry fruit. There’s enough structure to keep this red drinking well for a few years, but it’s certainly not overly tannic. There’s enough acid to make this a good food wine — we’ve enjoyed it with everything from Fried Calamari (believe it or not!) to Seared Tuna to Grilled Chicken.

In short — this ranks high on our RECOMMENDED list. Grab a bottle now, because Seghesio tends to sell out the vintage before the next one is released. And if you’re ever in Healdsburg, Sonoma County, be sure to stop by the winery and have a really good time!


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