Zinfandels Fit For A Thanksgiving Feast

By Robert Parker

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Zinfandel is the all-american wine, since just about all the commercial production of the grape takes place in California. These deep, dark reds work beautifully with that all-American meal, the Thanksgiving turkey dinner. A few weeks ago we visited one of the top producers of zin, Turley Wine Cellars (BW--Oct. 30). Here are some other terrific zinfandels worth serving your family and friends on that special day. They're all from the tasty 2004 vintage.

Ridge Vineyards Buchignani Ranch

91 points.

A blend of 82% zinfandel and 18% carignane, this full-bodied, inky ruby/purple-tinged cuvée reveals abundant quantities of raspberry, blueberry, black cherry, and loamy soil notes as well as a subtle hint of oak in the background. Nicely layered with good acidity, an opulent, powerful finish, and a relatively low 14.4% alcohol content, it can be enjoyed now and over the next four to six years. $24

Elyse Winery Korte Ranch Vineyard

94 points.

This outrageously superb, dark ruby/purple-hued blend of 93% zinfandel and 7% petite sirah boasts crème de cassis, blackberry, raspberry, and sappy cherry-like characteristics. Full-bodied, dense, and concentrated, it is remarkably well-balanced for its potency and flavor depth. It should be enjoyable for many years. $30

Hartford Court Russian River

93 points.

A blend from seven different vineyards (the average age of which is 80+ years), this gorgeously rich effort reveals a pinot noir-like sensitivity along with a seductive, fragrant nose of black raspberries, cherries, spice box, pepper, and earth. In the mouth, it's a flamboyant, expansive, full-bodied, savory wine with beautifully integrated acidity, wood, alcohol, and tannin. Drink this decadent zin over the next five to six years. $30

Robert Biale Black Chicken

93 points.

With 16.5% alcohol, this Black Chicken (a Prohibition-era term for bootleg wine) sure can party. The wine has a blockbuster perfume of briery fruit, spice box, pepper, sweet currants and cherries, and licorice. Spicy, with fabulous fruit, a full-bodied opulence, loads of glycerin, and a heady finish, it can be drunk now and over the next five to seven years. $34

Carlisle Tom Feeney Ranch

95 points.

A deep ruby/purple color is followed by a glorious perfume of creosote, garrigue, ground pepper, black raspberries, and cherry liqueur. This deep, full-bodied, concentrated, unctuously textured, rich zinfandel should drink well for seven to eight years. $38

Linne Calodo Problem Child

92 points.

A 320-case blend of 72% zinfandel, 17% mourvèdre, and 11% syrah, this wine exhibits gorgeous notes of sweet and spicy black pepper, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries, a wonderful texture, and hints of graphite, minerals, and white flowers. It is a classic, full-bodied, powerful (16.2% alcohol) zin capable of lasting 6 to 10 years or more, but who will be able to wait that long? $42

Wines rated from 96-100 are extraordinary; 90-95, excellent; 80-89, above average to very good.

Visit www.eRobertParker.com for the Internet's most active wine bulletin board, tens of thousands of tasting notes, or to order his recent book, The World's Greatest Wine Estates: A Modern Perspective. You can also subscribe to Parker's newsletter, The Wine Advocate. Request a sample copy at: The Wine Advocate, P.O. Box 311, Monkton, MD 21111

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