Plungerhead Dry Creek is an excellent Zinfandel for under twenty dollars. Mrs TWC found it for a tease over half that, so pay attention when you're shopping.
TWC is a big fan of the Dry Creek appellation, and is rarely disappointed in any wine that hails from that valley. I am particularly fond of the valley's namesake Meritage.
Just so you know, Meritage (Merit + Heritage = Meritage~~I know, lame, but it is a done deal) is a term invented by California growers to side step the legal requirement that Bordeaux-style red blends were required to be labeled as Red Wine or Red Table Wine. Mr Mondavi and his compatriots wanted to convey to the public that their big, bold, blends were a bit more than just red table wine.
TWC RULE NUMBER SIX
Plungerhead defies TWC's rule number six which holds that the cutsey or kitschy factor of a wine bottle's label is inversely proportional to the quality of the wine. The Other Guys, which is another effort by the Sebastiani wunderkids, have created an awesome Old Vine Zinfandel. Yes, awesome is overused, but this wine is really molto bene. In fact, I've got a jones on for some right now, and it's barely half past cup of joe number two here on the west coast.
Y'all know me and cork. Cork and me get along. We have a good thing going and the fact is that God planted all those Cork Oak trees in Portugal for a damn fine reason.
That said, the wine is sealed up with Zork, which the label deftly refers to as a plungerhead [rim shot]. Zork closures reputedly seal as reliably as a screw cap (gah!) and when unwound and removed, the Zork provides a nice pop, reminiscent of a more proper closure.
Stick your nose in a glass of Plungerhead Dry Creek Zin and you are rewarded with aromas of blackberry and spice. On the palate the wine exhibits black cherry, raspberry, plum. There is also some cedar and a bit of exotic spice, which adds interest without being distracting from the lovely fruit. The wine lingers on the palate and then finishes nicely.
Serve this wine with the usual suspects. Grilled steak, Italian with red sauce, or any hearty beef dish. The wine is elegant enough to serve with standing rib roast at a formal dinner yet is comfortable with simple pizza and salad.
I love this versatile wine and if you're a Zinfandel fan, you will too. Better step on it, though. The Other Guys didn't make all that much of it and the word is out.
The wine rates a 40 on TWC's Standardized Wine Price/Value Ratio® scale, meaning the price is excellent relative to the enjoyment you can expect from it.
Thanks to those of you who asked about this:
TWC didn't mean to imply that there is anything particularly wrong with the Plungerhead Lodi Zinfandel (it is perfectly drinkable and it is less expensive).
The headline is just an attempt to be clear about which wine was being reviewed. Saying Not Lodi is meant to be a memory marker for later. At the store. It is also helpful that The Other Guys chose a completely different label for the Lodi zin and it looks like this.
Photo credits: The House Blond