Zinfandel is a powerful, fruity, spicy red wine, and it's easy to find some great Zinfandels at an affordable price of $15 or less. California - especially Sonoma County and Lodi - excels at creating balanced, delicious, and affordable Zins that offer a great wine for a reasonable price.
Michael David Winery 7 Deadly Zins
This juicy, affordable Zinfandel from Lodi's Michael David Winery frequently tops critics' lists of great value wines. Wine-searcher.com notes it has an aggregate critics rating of 88 out of 100 points, which is a great rating for a wine that costs around $10 for a 750 mL bottle. Wine Enthusiast says it's "bold and polished" offering a score of 91 points.
Bogle Zinfandel Old Vines
Bogle Vineyards old vine Zinfandel only costs around $10, and for that you'll get a powerful yet pleasurable juicy, jammy wine with flavors of peppercorns and raspberry jam. Wine Enthusiast gives the 2015 vintage a solid 90-point rating, which is sky high for a wine costing less than $10.
Chronic Cellars Purple Paradise
At around $14 a bottle, Chronic Cellars Purple Paradise is a Zinfandel from California's Central Coast and Paso Robles. While Zin is the primary grape here (it's 79 percent Zin), it also has Petite Sirah, Grenache, and Syrah to create smooth and balanced aromas such as vanilla and cinnamon to compliment the fruity, jammy, strawberry flavors of the wine. The 2017 vintage receives a solid 89 point Wine Enthusiast rating.
Gnarled Vine Zinfandel
Another Zinfandel from Lodi, Gnarled Vine, receives 5 out of 5 stars from tasters at Total Wine & More, an excellent rating for a wine that costs around $10 per bottle. With flavors of blackberry and licorice, this wine is equal parts smooth, fruity, elegant, and spicy.
Kirkland Signature Sonoma County Old Vine Zinfandel
Costco shoppers take note. Kirkland Signature Old Vine Zinfandel is available at Costco stores for around $10, and it's a powerful, delicious Zinfandel that's a true bargain. With flavors of cherry jam, chocolate, and spice, it's no surprise Reverse Wine Snob picks this as their favorite affordable Zin. Kirkland sources the grapes from 45+ year old vines grown in Sonoma County, a great place to produce spectacular Zins. It's only available at Costco, so if you spot it there, be sure to pick up a few bottles.
Big Six Bourbon Barrel Zinfandel
The Big Six Bourbon Barrel Zinfandel costs right around $15. With primary juicy flavors of raspberry backed up by caramel, oak, and spice, this wine is aged in bourbon barrels to add interesting character. Reviewers from Total Wine give it 4 out of 5 stars.
Rancho Zabaco Sonoma Heritage Vines Zinfandel
The Sonoma Heritage Vines Zinfandel from Rancho Zabaco costs right around $15 for a 750 mL bottle for a juicy, spicy Zinfandel from Sonoma County's Dry Creek Valley. This dependable red is approachable and easier to pair with food than other over-the-top Zinfandels.
Primitivo is Italy's version of Zinfandel; the name is different, but the grapes are genetically alike coming from the same Croatian grape. The Cantele Primitivo from Italy costs around $15 per bottle, and it consistently receives ratings in the high 80s with spicy aromas and fruity flavors.
Low Hanging Fruit White Zinfandel
It's impossible to discuss affordable Zins without at least a mention of white Zinfandel, a blush wine made from the Zinfandel grape that is highly affordable and relatively easy to drink. The Low Hanging Fruit White Zinfandel is Total Wine & More's top pick for best tasting white Zins, and it costs less than $10 for 1.5L. This is a light, refreshing, easy drinker with flavors of strawberries and melon.
Zins are tasty, juicy wines that pair well with many foods. While it's increasingly difficult to find good wines for under $15 per bottle, it's worthwhile to take the time to discover these palate-pleasing, budget-friendly wines.