The ebook Top Ten Zins was one of the many recommendations to show up on my Facebook page. Skeptically, I clicked through to the website and downloaded the free pdf, expecting to get a short list which I could then proceed to blast with my “superior” Zinfandel expertise, especially when it came to the treatment of some of my favorite Zins.
The first thing that struck me was how long the file took to download, since it was supposedly only to include information on ten wines. In fact, I initially canceled the scan, fearing I had stumbled across some sort of malware.
But, my curiosity eventually got the best of me, and I soon downloaded the file.
Well, that mystery was soon solved, as the ebook is 115 pages, and it covers the top ten Zinfandels in 10 price ranges – brilliant! And a great reminder how versatile the Zinfandel grape can be.
The book does not just contain lists, but tasting notes and other information provided by each winery.
I asked the head of this project, Chris Allen, for more information:
“I think it definitely helps to have a community of regular people offering their opinions, instead of a reviewer’s lone palate. Not a knock on wine critics; it’s only natural that what Robert Parker likes is going to be a far cry from I like — since he’s been exposed to so much more — just like a music or movie critic can’t help but develop more eclectic tastes than the average audience member.
I like relying on the “wisdom of the crowd” to find the hidden gems out there. Ultimately, too, I hope it frees the winemaker from having to taste a barrel sample wondering, “What’s Parker gonna think of this?”
Dividing the wines into distinct pricing categories makes sense to me, too. You have to have the wines “punch their weight,” or you do a disservice to both the wine lover and maker. Sugar Ray Leonard would simply never beat Ali in a hypothetical match, but they both have the heart of a champion. I don’t like using the same 100-point scale for all wine.
There are so many great Zins out there, we also decided to weight the results in favor of availability. If we had two wines battling for a slot and say one was only 115 cases, which are now gone, how would that really be of any benefit to our community of Zinfandel Enthusiasts? Sure, it would be a feather in the cap of the winery and the reader might be alerted to be on the lookout for next year’s release, but I’d prefer not to read about a fantastic “Independence Day Sale-abration” on the 5th of July.”
The plan is for the website to be a go-to site for all-things Zin, and the books is to be updated annually.
I am not going to go into details about each list, as I think you should explore it on your own. Most of my favorite wineries [such as Carlisle, Turley, Biale and Outpost] did make appearances, but there are lots of others worth seeking out. I urge anyone, expert or novice, to sign on to this website, get this book and use it and the website as a resource.
Michael Perlis provides outsourced controller services to businesses that do not need a full-time controller. He balances this with his interest in wine: reading and writing about it and, of course, drinking it. He is still trying to figure out how to combine these two pursuits. Feel free to contact him about either at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.