Have This Red Zinfandel on Hand Next Time You Fire Up the...

Have This Red Zinfandel on Hand Next Time You Fire Up the Grill

A juicy red Zinfandel that has a hankering for grilled foods


When’s the last time you drank a truly lovable glass of wine? Italian immigrants set up shop in California’s Dry Creek Valley in the early 20th century. They were looking to grow vines that produced copious amounts of grapes to provide for their mealtimes in the manner of the old country. Yes, we’re talking about “Dago Red” and I can proudly, apolitically and genetically, understand what they wanted. A hundred years later, Pedroncelli Winery is still making solid Zinfandel wine (their ancestors grape of choice), but today’s wine is surely smoother, refined and more expressive. Pedroncelli’s “Mother Clone” Zinfandel, cloned from ancient vines in the 1980s – with some juice still coming from century-old vines – is today’s selection. I’ve enjoyed this bottle in previous vintages but don’t ever remember it being this good! Not a bruiser nor heavy-handed, it carries its 14.9% alcohol deftly, and cries out for anything cooked on the grill. I had it with salmon!

2014 Pedroncelli Winery Mother Clone Zinfandel $18-20 srp

A translucent ruby color. A fruit compote nose of plum, dark berry with crushed roses, pepper, smoke and cinnamon highlights. An extroverted explosion of fruit essences that make you anxious to drink it. Flavors are fruit-forward yet layered with spicy blackberry and cherry notes on a medium body frame with a long smooth aftertaste And, yes – a touch of elegance. Totally lovable and perfect for grilling season. Drink now-2019. (90% Zinfandel, 10% Petite Sirah) Good value.

90/100 points 

Arturo Ciompi
Trained as a classical clarinetist and conductor, Arturo plied his trade for many years in New York, performing with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, New York City Opera, the American Symphony and countless chamber music groups. While living in Durham, Arturo became the wine manager at two iconic gourmet stores: Fowler’s in Durham and Southern Season in Chapel Hill. He had a wine spot on NPR in the ’90s and has been a continuously published wine journalist since 1997. He has won national awards for his work and is currently writing for Durham Magazine and its weekly blog, “Wine Wednesdays”. In addition, he loves teaching the clarinet. Read more on his website.