The Scarlet Path Lodi Zinfandel 2014 is a $7.99 ALDI exclusive. Lodi is south and east of Napa County with most of the vineyards planted in the Delta region which is a series of river valleys coming from the San Francisco Bay and ending at the Sierra Nevada foothills. This area is 100 miles inland and is a warm climate growing region, but the cool winds off the ocean that follow the river valleys get trapped by the mountains and cool the vineyards a night. The Scarlet Path Zin is made for ALDI by a custom label wine company out of Napa, Ca., if you have the cash they will make wine for you too. Lodi is in many ways the home of Zinfandel, the expensive Zins are produced in Napa and Sonoma, but the solid, affordable and increasingly complex Zinfandel comes from Lodi. The grape has a long history here, it was saved during Prohibition by the Catholic Church. The Church was allowed to give growers exemptions to produce wine for Communion and they approved far more exemptions than they could possibly have needed for church functions, while the State authorities pretended not to notice. These Zinfandel growers also did good business selling grapes to home wine makers which was still legal. ALDI never gives out much information concerning the making of their wines and I do have a concern that this wine seems to have been released in late 2015, so its been on store shelves and warehouses for a couple of years. Normally 2 years is no big deal, but ALDI is mainly a grocery store and not a wine shop, so how the wine was stored can possibly be an issue. The alcohol content is 13.5%.
The color is a see-thru purple with an almost clear halo. The nose is blackberry, dark chocolate, black pepper, plum, and spice. This is a medium-bodied Zinfandel with a burst of spice on the mid-palate and a solid amount of acidity. It tastes of blackberry, licorice and a little Dr. Pepper (not sweet), and pepper. The mid-palate adds exotic spice, tart cherry, along with a slight “pull” from the tannins. The acidity is strong, but balanced and the finish fades before long but never completely goes away.
The Scarlet Path Lodi Zinfandel 2014 is a very drinkable 8 buck Zinfandel, I wouldn’t say it is delicious, but it does fine for an inexpensive single AVA wine. It stakes a place between the jammy and juicy Zins normally in this price range and the more refined expensive Zinfandel. Be sure to pop the cork an hour or two before you are ready to pour because this wine takes a bit of time to open up. When I took my first sip it was way out of balance, but 20 minutes later it was drinking fine.