Peirano Estate, 2012 Heritage Zinfandel, Lodi, CA

The grapes for the 2012 Heritage Zinfandel come from an old head pruned vineyard in Lodi, planted by Giacomo Peirano in the early 1900s. Head pruning is an ancient, freestanding vineyard system as well as a rite performed by a mohel on the eighth day. This well-balanced Zin features spicy pepper aromas and flavors, medium-body, juicy berry and subtle nuances of vanilla. At about 15 bucks the Heritage Zin and its sibling The Immortal Zin represent terrific values. $15

Rating: 3 Stars (3 / 5)

Rombauer, 2012 Zinfandel, Napa Valley, CA

Unfortunately Rombauer’s best wines are only available at the winery, and this is one of the best. The Napa Zinfandel is not the California appellation Zin found around the country, but comes from vineyards in St. Helena and Calistoga. This medium-bodied Zin conceals its 15.9% alcohol better than a drunk on a job interview. The nose jumps with spicy cranberry and purple plum fruit flavors rolled in layers of cinnamon and allspice. The palate isn’t weighty but it’s impressively concentrated with a medley of bright and jammy fruit flavors followed by faint nuances of vanilla cookie dough. $34

Rating: 3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)