XYZin with Malnati's pizza.
XYZin with Malnati’s pizza.

XYZin Zinfandel 2011, California

Cost: $15-17

What: Zinfandel is one of my favorite grapes. It’s about as American a wine as you can find. And it is nearly always good, often great.

XYZin makes great wine at a good price, medium bodied with plenty of rich fruit.

The wine is a beautiful deep red in the glass, with some blue notes around the edges. It opens with a beautiful raspberry/cherry nose.

XYZin Old Vine Zinfandel 2011.
XYZin Old Vine Zinfandel 2011.

In the mouth it is an explosion of ripe fruit and spices typical of Zinfandel with round mellow flavors that make you think of caramel. It has a lush mouthfeel with a little zing of acidity to make it pop in your mouth. It is a very nice simple dinner wine.

More than 70 percent of the grapes came from Sonoma County vineyards at various elevations from the valley floor to hillside locations. This adds complexity to the wine.

The grapes are 91 percent Zinfandel with small amounts of Petite Sirah, Tannat and Syrah. The wine is aged 15 months in French and American Oak before it is released.

Winery: XYZin is part of Accolade Wines, a global wine company with some well-known brands, such as Geyser Peak, Hardys and Banrock Station. XYZin produces only Zinfandel, focusing on small-batch, old-vine wines.
The winery also produces XYZin 50, featuring grapes from vines at least 50 years old, from the Russian River Valley; and XYZin 100, featuring grapes from vines at least 100 years old in the Dry Creek Valley. Tasting these three wines is a good way to discover the effects of old vines when making quality Zinfandel.

The 2011 vintage features a new label with bold red letters on a black background.

Tastings are available at XYZin’s sister winery, Geyser Peak, in Geyserville in Sonoma County.

XYZin makes the perfect pizza wine.
XYZin makes the perfect pizza wine.

Goes with: Zinfandel is a great pizza wine so my wife Teri and I had the XYZin with one of my favorite Chicago deep dish pizzas from Lou Malnati. It was a heavenly pairing.

This also would go well with everyday foods such as burgers and grilled meat, as well as spicy Indian food such as curry. I would serve it slightly chilled and allow it to warm up in the glass. I decanted the wine about 30 minutes before dinner and it opened up nicely.

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