The 2011 VINTJS Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel is a $7.99 Trader Joe’s exclusive, made for them by Delicato Family Vineyards . A 3rd generation, family owned winery that has been involved in Lodi wine since 1924, they also produced Gnarly Head Zinfandel and Brazin Zinfandel, along with many other wines. The Lodi AVA is northeast of San Francisco and is well known for its abundance of old vine Zinfandel vineyards, Trader Joe’s is defining old vine as 20 years plus and those are comparatively young compared to many of Lodi’s Zinfandel vineyards. Grapevines that struggle produce nuanced complicated grapes and older grape vines naturally struggle to produce fruit. The alcohol content is 14.5%.
The color is cherry red with black highlights and a pink halo. The nose is dark berries and oak spice, with a little plum, smoke from the grill and spearmint gum. This is a ripe, juicy, spicy but balanced Zinfandel. It starts with a mix of cherry and plum, licorice, somewhat subdued Altoid’s spice and Dr. Pepper. The mid palate brings blueberry, curry spice and POM Wonderful. The tannins provide a nice bit of structure, but do not bite, the acidity is well balanced. The finish is full and long.
The 2011 VINTJS Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel is a solid, tasty, full bodied, no issues $7.99 Zin. It is a little less jammy than some old vine Zinfandel and it has a nice display of spice tastes and textures. Five years ago you drank under ten dollar wine at your own risk, you might come across a good wine, but the odds were not in your favor. Today, there are $5, $6, $7 wines that go beyond competent and simply varietally correct, they are desirable, delicious wines that are well worth drinking. Since the fruit and spice interplay in the VINTJS Lodi Zin is subtle and surprisingly delicate, I wouldn’t necessarily pair it with BBQ, it will do well with BBQ, it is a ZIn after all, I think it would be better suited for Cajun or Caribbean foods, or just drink it, it tastes great.