There’s no wine more American than Zinfandel. It’s our grape, and no one else makes wine from it like we do. However, in the American public consciousness, it remains an underground grape—still requiring an explanation that, yes, you can make a pink wine out of it, mysteriously called White Zinfandel, which happened to be an extremely popular product in the late 80s like wine coolers were, but it’s actually better as a red wine. Thankfully, Pink/White Zinfandel, like wine coolers by Bartles & James (for those too young to remember, a wine cooler is a beverage that mixes wine with fruit juice, carbonated soda and high-fructose corn syrup), have fallen by the wayside in popularity and have ignominiously entered the What Were We Thinking? Hall of Fame. Red Zinfandel, or rather, just plain Zinfandel, is creeping into the American consciousness as a prestigious and artful wine but remains an aficionado’s favorite rather than commercial entertainment. Think of it as Merle Haggard as opposed to Florida Georgia Line.
America’s oldest vines are Zinfandel vines, dating back to 1888. Their American roots run deep, and they’re the most important part of California’s wine heritage. KRUTZ FAMILY CELLARS is a small, independent and family owned winery in Sonoma, who put together this magnificent 2012 Magnolia Series Zinfandel with grapes sourced throughout Napa Valley, with the largest part of the balance coming from Howell Mountain. Start with the homespun and agrarian quality of the wine, full of rustic notes of raspberry and cherry shrubs, earth and cedar. It’s folk music as sung by The Weavers back in the early music scene of Greenwich Village. The wine’s texture and body is full, round, robust and expressive, touching the palate with a bit of sweetness that hints at nothing less American than cherry pie. Here’s a red wine that bears the stamp of a great American heritage artfully handcrafted by a family winery that hasn’t yet gotten swallowed up by the big conglomerate corporate machine—really, is there anything more patriotic than pouring a glass of this Zinfandel? –J.M.