California Zinfandel:  Three of the Best

California Zinfandel: Three of the Best

Zinfandel dates back to the early days of California winemaking.  During the Gold Rush, miners mostly turned to Zinfandel as their wine of choice as the vines were so prolific in the region.  Today, "Zin" is planted on over 20% of vineyards in California.  Fruit, jam, and spice are abundant in these wines.  Red Zinfandel is one of the better options for Thanksgiving dinner.  It pairs extremely well with BBQ and smoked meats.  Priced lower than most California wines, it offers consumers an outstanding value when done right.  Here are three great wineries to consider when looking for the best of California Zinfandel.


Founded in 1993, Turley is long known for producing some of the best Zinfandel in California.  Proprietor Larry Turley (brother of cult winemaker Helen Turley) previously co-founded Frogs Leap Winery.  He maintains 3 wineries and tasting rooms located in Templeton, Amador County, and St Helena.   Estate owned vineyards like Pesenti in Paso Robles consistently produce outstanding wines.  You will find Turley on the wine lists of top restaurants nationwide.  Pricing on some bottles are above average and definately worth the price, while others like the Juvenile Vineyard are an outstanding value at around $20.

Recommended:  Dusi Vineyard, Pesenti, Ueberroth, Bedrock, & Hayne


Founded by producing 5 gallons of Zinfandel out of their kitchen in 1998, Mike Officer and wife Kendall consistently produce wines scoring in the mid 90 point range with most critics.  This past software developer left his day job in 2004 to focus on winemaking, and the increased demand for wine coming out of his garage every vintage.  How much demand?  At one point before he was able to increase production, there was a wait list over 6 years long to join the mailing list.  Prices are reasonable across the board, with most all bottles priced under $40.  Mailing list customers receive a pre-order discount.

Recommended:  Carlisle Vineyard, Limerick Lane, Montafi Ranch, & Hayne


Started in 2011, Day Zinfandel is the new project of Ehren Jordan.  He is the owner of Failla Wines, carrying an impressive resume including past winemaking duties at Turley and Neyers.  It is a return to his roots with the same philospohy...."Great sites, old vines, & gentle winemaking."  Sello tasted the first release in winter 2016 at $26 per bottle and swifty bought a case.  It is that good.

Recommended:  Sonoma County, Grist.  More single vineyard wines upcoming in 2017.

The best way to acquire any of these wines is via the direct mailing list as demand is high.  Contact the winery directly via the addresses below to sign up for future offerings.

More wine discussion coming soon to the blog at

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1 comment

Feb 17, 2017 • Posted by Turley Wine Cellars

Thank you for the mention Cindy! We love hearing feedback regarding our wines. We now have a third winery and second tasting room in Amador County as well!

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