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The Parasphere Sonoma Zinfandel 2014 is a $7.99 Trader Joe’s mystery wine. There are several things here that do not add up to an aged Sonoma County Zinfandel for under eight bucks.
The first point is obvious, Sonoma Zinfandel at 6 years of age selling for $7.99 does not exist in the wild. Generally speaking, the difference between a ten-dollar Red wine and a twenty-dollar Red wine is the production techniques the winemaker chose to use.
A ten-dollar wine is designed to come together quickly, to be bright and juicy, and to be a drink-it-now wine, that is not to have much aging potential.
A twenty-dollar has a more elaborate production, it typically has more oak aging and the wine is designed to handle stand up to the extra oak influence. A $20 wine is still made to drink-it-now, not made to age.
The properties in the grapes that would allow the wine to age well are not accentuated. Those properties are not removed either, so while it will last for a few years most people are drinking these wines within hours of purchase.
The next point is the bottle, it is rather heavy and somewhat unique. It is thinner and taller than a typical Red wine bottle. With most under ten buck wines, they use generic wine bottles that are eco-bottles, with thinner than usual glass that is lighter and save some money on shipping.
The Parasphere Sonoma Zinfandel 2014 has an actual cork stopper. I know that sounds like a small thing, but I keep all my corks (I don’t know why) and maybe 2 or 3 out of 50 or 60 corks are actual cork and not some composite or synthetic material.
This may be a little excessive, but I google Parasphere Trademark and found that this name was trademarked in November of 2019. The company that trademarked the name circles around to a privately owned Napa winery. Not exactly the kind of place that would be associated with Trader Joe’s 8 dollar wine.
So, this is an odd wine, it is too old a vintage, with an upscale bottle and a real deal cork to be selling for $7.99.
Parasphere Sonoma Zinfandel 2014 Tasting Notes
The color is a deep dark black cherry red. The nose is large and in charge, there is deep, ripe blackberry, herbs, a savory note, black pepper, spice, those hard red cherry candies with liquor inside that your Grandmother had, and raisin.
This is a full-bodied Zinfandel with lots of spice and an aged wine taste, I think this is a wine that needs to be consumed in the next few months, next year maybe a bit too long.
It starts with bright, still juicy blackberry, a substantial slap of spice, light herbs, pepper, and plum. The mid-pale brings blueberry, soft chocolate, orange zest, and tart cranberry. The tannins are sweet and the acidity is well-balanced. The alcohol content is 14.5%.
- A six-year-old Sonoma Zinfandel is a rarity in this price category, even the high-end Zins are currently on the 2018 or 2017 vintage.
- And I think it is true that most Zinfandel drinkers in this price range will likely prefer the more youthful newer vintages. Aged wine is not for everyone.
- With all that said, the Parasphere Sonoma Zinfandel 2014 is a must-buy. When are you going to stumble upon another aged Sonoma Zin at this price point?
- This wine is a one time deal that you should not pass up. It is a solid Zinfandel, may be nearing the end of its shelf life, but still a wine well worth trying.