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19 Sinfully Good California Wines for National Zinfandel Day

It’s National Zinfandel Day on Nov. 17! And no one makes more of it, and at such a high quality, as California. Here are 19 locally grown bottles to toast bold, beautiful expression.

Robert Hall 2021 Cavern Select Zinfandel

Bramble! Bramble! There are luscious heaps of it – raspberries, blackberries and black raspberries, to be exact – in this exquisite expression. Just a hint of chocolate and tobacco are present as well, providing nice balance to the berries. $55

2020 VSJ Zinfandel Reserve

Paso Robles‘ Villa San-Juliette has a complex Zinfandel with this fragrant bottling, offering cranberry and clove but also hints of berry. To the taste, expect a blueberry flavor, of course, but with a zippiness to it that enlivens the palate and then just a kiss of strawberry. $36

Bella 2017 Collier Falls Zinfandel

A Dry Creek Valley Zin at its finest, enjoy surprising notes of vanilla and berry that almost boarder on milkshake-y (in a fabulous way) first. Then, once to the lips, there are lovely notes of blackberry and even a bit of licorice. $48

Grey 2021 Jackal Zinfandel

There are many things happening in this bottle that should not work together, namely marshmallow and cranberry and then star anise with coconut and finally pomegranate and cardamom. However, the ever-so-interesting flavor profile comes together in perfect harmony on the palate. $55

Beekeeper Cellars, Zinfandel, Montecillo Vineyard, Sonoma County, 2018

This near-perfect California wine is the result of besties and heralded winemakers Ian Blackburn and Clay Mauritson getting together to create something special as a team. Inky with a juicy berry acidity but also leather and a touch of earth, every sip reveals something new. $79.95

california wine Valle Di Sotto Zin-5

2021 Valle di Sotto Vineyard Estate Zinfandel

A new release from a prized certified organic vineyard in the Oak Knoll District, expect great interplay with spice and fruit in every sip. The jammy berries are playful on the palate, while the herbs and spice provide layers of complexity and acid balance. $75

Capo Creek 2021 Zinfandel

Any fan of Manhattan will not miss the Luxardo cherry aromatics in this one. They are joined on the nose and then to the taste with flavors of raspberry, rose petal and just the right amount of black pepper. $75

Jeff Cohn Cellars 2019 St Peter’s Church Vineyard Zinfandel

There is no place like home…with this ruby red wine and some slippers. Enjoy cherry along with bramble fruits in this stunning sipper. They are balanced with notes of white peppercorn and a touch of spice. Fun fact: The vineyard where this California wine is sourced has been producing award winners for more than 25 years. $60

2020 Rombauer California Zinfandel

The most pleasing of plum notes dominate this perfect-for-any-occasion option. They set the tone but then welcome vanilla, baking spices and raspberry preserves on the palate with open arms. Tip: If doing a blind wine-tasting party this holiday season, add this one to the mix with more expensive options. See what happens. $38

2021 Luci Zinfandel

Upon opening, all at once strawberry candy, cherry pie and gum drops escape from the bottle, hypnotizing with their alluring aromatics. Vanilla and baking spices – and a little of what tastes like Cherry Coke – follow on the palate for a truly fun take on the big, bold red. PS: The wine is named after a goat that lived on property. $49

california wine BACA Cats Cradle

2019 BACA Cat’s Cradle Zinfandel

Lingering and seductive, from its deep ruby color to its bold notes of star anise, ripe plums and blackberries on the nose and palate, this is a true connoisseur’s expression of the beloved grape. $50

Eleven Eleven 2017 Late Harvest Zinfandel

Yes, Zinfandel makes excellent dessert wine. Case in point: this sweet sensation. It is a celebration of black cherry candy along with vanilla, ultra-ripe plum and even has smaller notes of pomegranate and cocoa. $65

Mt. Brave 2019 Zinfandel

The spice is so very nice in this bottle. It is ever-present but comes in waves of intensity thanks to the complementary notes of dark raspberry, rhubarb pie and flower petals. $80

LangeTwins 2020 Redtail Vineyard Zinfandel

Yes, this winery is really owned by twins. And yes, two heads are better than one when it comes to making this killer expression of Zin. The makers are smart to impart some sweet pipe tobacco into the profile as they play off the sweet cherry, cinnamon and pepper notes so well. $32

2019 Balverne Zinfandel

A stunner from the Russian River Valley. Though best-known for Pinot Noir, the popular region is also a sneaky good spot for Zinfandels in the hands of folks who know what they are doing. It is exceptionally smooth, with notes of berry jam, peppercorns and cinnamon sugar. $30

california wine Opolo Zin

Opolo 2021 Mountain Zinfandel, Paso Robles

Zinfandel is said to have first been grown in this region in the 1800’s. Proving it only gets better with time, this varietal bursts with raspberry, black cherry, dried herb and sandalwood, and then to the taste creates a party of cherry, blueberry and chocolate on the palate. $32

Armida 2019 Il Campo Estate Field Blend

This blend of primarily Zinfandel with just a bit of Petit Syrah absolutely rocks. There is acidity in the form of cranberry, licorice and pomegranate, but also richness from notes of mocha and cedar. Finally, there is this punch of fruit flavor, mostly blackberries and cherry, that rounds everything out and demands another sip. $52

Williamson Wines Scandal Zinfandel

Named because famed winemaker and owner of the brand, Bill Willamson, swore he would never make a Zinfandel, and then when he did, they said it would only be for one year, this single-vineyard varietal is a celebration of black cherry, plum, holiday spices and ever-so-slight kisses of herbs. $57

Peltzer Winery 2019 Aged Bourbon Barrel Zinfandel

Smooth as silk, this California wine was made with Thanksgiving dinner in mind. A terrific pairing for turkey or even dessert, there is heavenly cherry jam on the nose and to the taste as well as notes of vanilla and a touch of spice syrup. $65

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