Posted by: Dallas Lawrence | February 25, 2010

Lodi, California, Are You Listening? I’m Mad As Hell And I’m Not Going To Take Your Zins Anymore

Perhaps it is just me, but for some reason I keep getting lulled into the budget Zinfandel isle and suckered into picking up the latest pretty bottled budget Zin from Lodi, California.

And each time, like a member of a dysfunctional family, I blame myself for my disappointment. It must have been my fault I tell myself. I must have picked the wrong Lodi Zin. Maybe I opened the bottle wrong? Maybe I let it breathe too much?

Next time, I coach myself, I will be a better wine shopper. I won’t make the same mistakes that forced this wine to treat me so poorly. If only I could give the next bottle a second chance! Next time, surely Lodi will treat me right…

Well, enough is enough. I am breaking the cycle. It’s time to stop the madness. I am going on record as being sick and tired of the crappy Zins that keep coming from Lodi, California.

These wines are giving the entire varietal a bad name. The latest assailant: the 2007 Gnarly Head Old Vine Zinfandel.

The only thing this wine has going for it is truth in advertising – it tasted gnarly. The overpowering fruitiness feels like it would be more at home in a vat of fruit filled sangria rather than a $10 bottle of California Zinfandel. Several minutes after opening, the wine just seemed to fall deeper into the abyss tasting like a cheap and unremarkable red table wine one would expect to pick up in the half off cart for around $3.

Lodi, you temptress, I am through with you.



  1. I am so enjoying your blog. Not only am I learning a lot about wine but these posts are truly funny 🙂

    • Thanks mary – if only i could make a career out of this! 🙂

  2. Well, I can tell you almost all of the well-made Lodi Zins (i.e., that don’t depend on added concentrate to boost RS) are going to be above your $15 threshold.

    So you are probably making the right decision to move on.

    (The better Zins from Harney Lane and Heritage Oak are a couple of good examples of what Lodi Zin should be.)

  3. Do not write us all off yet! Feel free to schedule a tasting with me at Van Ruiten Family Winery and taste what we do for less than $15/bottle. I will be happy to take you through a tasting of our wines and explain our terroir.

    Ryan Leeman
    Van Ruiten Family Winery

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