Mauritson Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley 2017

Mon, Sep 12, 22

Mauritson Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley 2017

When I’m on the sales floor, the question I’m asked most often is…  Well ok, it’s “do you have any Blanton’s Bourbon?” But when I’m specifically hanging out in the wine section, and we’re talking about wine, it’s usually “What’s your best cab under $20?” Of course the answer to that question depends a lot on what I have in stock, but lately, more often than not, I’ll answer “Zinfandel.” And it’s not just because I like to be a smart @%!. It’s also because I genuinely think that Zinfandel is the most underrated thing coming out of California right now. It has everything most of us want in a Cab. Wines from Zinfandel are universally juicy and packed with big ripe California fruit; but they’re also potentially very muscular, extracted and dense.  So it’s big and bold dry red with lots of f ruit. If that’s your thing, read on.

Just as with Cabernet, place matters. Most of the stuff simply labeled “Old Vine Zinfandel” will be sourced from vineyards in Lodi. If you’re budget is sub $15, these are a fine choice.  They offer a lot of bang for the buck. But don’t expect any level of finesse. That’s not what those wines are about. For really interesting Zin, we’re going to have to spend a few more bucks (but really, just a few more) and get something from a better situated piece of land. And that brings us to the Mauritson Dry Creek Zinfandel. The winery sits on the “Block 5” vineyard in Dry Creek Valley, and those 35+ year vines provide the heart of this Dry Creek Zinfandel. The remainder of the juice is sourced from estate vineyards in the overlapping Rockpile AVA and supplemented with grapes purchased from Mauritson’s neighbors in Dry Creek.  For Zinfandel, this is a prett y good pedigree.

But how does it taste? I split a bottle a few nights ago while I was cooking dinner, and I wouldn’t be writing about it now if it hadn’t been fantastic. Of course it was good, I expected it to be good. The Mauritsons have a long reputation as growers, and more recently as a top tier winery. And our own Mike Brown had chosen it for the shelf at our Jefferson store. Mike and I don’t agree about every wine, but I respect his taste. I knew it was going to be good. I just didn’t expect it to be as graceful as it was. If you’d put a blindfold on me, and told me I was drinking Ridge (an all-time favorite), I would have believed you. Maybe that shouldn’t be surprising as Ridge’s own Lytton Springs vineyard and tasting room is a brief 5 minute car ride from Mauritson. But it was Ridge’s more supple and approachable wine from the Geyserville vineyard (also not th at far, but in Alexander Valley) that this really reminded me of. I’d love to tell you how it paired with the food, but to be honest it didn’t make it to the meal.

And now for the sales pitch… Buy this. If you love a robust but drinkable California red, just buy it. This is a great price for this level of quality. If you love it, shoot me an email at If you hate it, you can reach Mike at