10 Best Zinfandel Wines in Sonoma (2022)

10 Best Zinfandel Wines in Sonoma Featured

A Traditional Winemaking Region

Sonoma has had a long history of wine production since the first grapevines were planted in 1812. Missionary Padre Jose Altimira planted thousands of vines at Mission San Francisco Solano, the modern city of Sonoma, for religious reasons back in the 19th Century. In fact, cuttings from Sonoma mission vineyards reached Northern California, to start new vineyards. When the United States annexed California in 1854, wine grapes were part of Sonoma’s agriculture.

After the end of Prohibition in 1933, there were only 50 wineries in Sonoma County. However, as wine consumption in the United States grew, by 1999, Sonoma had more than 750 grape growers and at least 180 joint wineries. The major winemaking zones (appellations) in Sonoma are Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley, and Russian River Valley.


Best Cheap Overall Best Value Best Under $15 Best Under $20 Best Under $25 Best Under $30 Best Under $40 Best Under $50 Best Under $100 Best With Unlimited Budget
Bottle
Name Seghesio Old Vine Zinfandel Ridge Vineyards Three Valleys Trentadue OPR Red Seghesio Sonoma Zinfandel Bear Flag Zinfandel Rosenblum Cellars Rockpile Road Vineyard Zinfandel Mount Peak Rattlesnake Zinfandel Turley Fredericks Vineyard Zinfandel Kunde Reserve Zinfandel Century Vines Martinelli Jackass Vineyard Zinfandel
Color Red Red Red Red Red Red Red Red Red Red
Country United States United States United States United States United States United States United States United States United States United States
Grapes Zinfandel Zinfandel Zinfandel Zinfandel Zinfandel Zinfandel Zinfandel Zinfandel Zinfandel Zinfandel
Taste Violet, Apricot, Pineapple, Strawberry, Licorice, Pepper, Cedar Violets, Blackberry, Mulberry, Pepper, Game Meat Plum, Fig, Cocoa, Charred Oak, White Pepper, Vanilla Spice Cherry, Raspberry, Plum, Blueberry, Licorice, Leather, Raisin, Smoke, White Pepper Blueberry, Fig, Strawberry, Blackberry, Charred Wood, Vanilla Spice, Soil Raspberry, Strawberry, Cocoa, Game Meat, Pepper, Vanilla Spice Raspberry, Plum, Pepper, Cedar, Wet Soil Blueberry, Plum, Cherry, Figs, Raisin, Prune, Chocolate, Tobacco, Pepper Blackberry, Fig, Prune, Chocolate, Forest Floor, Flint, Nutmeg, Mocha Coffee Blueberry, Cherry, Plum, Fig, Cedar, Smoke, Leather, Tobacco, Cinnamon Stick
Food Pairing Lamb Burgers, Rib-eye, Stilton, Gorgonzola, Pork Tonkatsu Beef Kabobs, Lamb Rack, Pork With Prunes Braised Lamb Shanks, Fried Chicken, Smoked Sausage, Havarti Lamb Burgers, Rib-eye, Stilton, Gorgonzola Ribeye Steak, Charcoal Broiled Ribeye Steak, Roast Pork Loin, Spaghetti With Meatballs Tomahawk Steak, Shish Kebabs, Shepherd’s Pie, Feta, Aged Gruyere Pulled Pork With Barbeque Sauce, Asian Beef Kebabs, Chili Con Carne, Sirloin Burgers New York Strip Steak, Filet Mignon, Roast Pork Loin, Lamb Rack, Gorgonzola Beef Stroganoff, Flank Steak, Chili Beef Burgers, Pork Tonkatsu, Seafood Lamb Rack, Braised Lamb Shanks With Parsley Pesto, Roast Pork Loin, Smoked Sausage, Grilled Chicken
Alcohol Content 15.6% 14.2% 14.9% 15.6% 14.8% 15.7% 16% 15.8% 14.8% 16.9%
Sugar Content Dry Dry Dry Dry Dry Dry Dry Dry Dry Dry
Our Rating 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5) 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5) 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5) 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5) 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5) 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5) 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5) 4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5) 4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5) 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)
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The Best Winemaking Zones in Sonoma

Located along the Russian River, the Alexander Valley is very densely planted. This is one of the oldest wine-making areas in Sonoma because viticulture has existed there since the 1850s. Alexander Valley wines are famed for their being approachable, reliable, and rich. Cabernet Sauvignon is the star grape variety of the area, noted for chocolate notes, medium-to-full-body, and a warm, sweet mouthfeel.

The Dry Creek Valley might not be as famous as the Alexander Valley, but it has significant Zinfandel production. Many wine experts consider it one of the greatest winemaking regions of Sonoma and the United States. As to the Russian River Valley, it stretches along the southern part of the Russian River.

Approximately one-sixth of Sonoma’s vineyards are planted in this appellation, with 79 wineries operating. Renowned for its success with cool climate varieties, Russian River Valley produces world-class Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. If you find yourself asking what is the best Zinfandel in Sonoma, read on:


Best Zinfandel Wines in Sonoma

Best Overall

  • Name — Seghesio Old Vine Zinfandel
  • Winery — Seghesio
  • Country/Region — United States, California, North Coast, Sonoma County
  • Type — Sonoma Zinfandel
  • Aroma — Raspberry, Blackberry, Peach, Garrigue, Cinnamon Stick
  • Grapes — Zinfandel
  • Taste — Violet, Apricot, Pineapple, Strawberry, Licorice, Pepper, Cedar
  • Alcohol Content — 15.6%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Lamb Burgers, Rib-eye, Stilton, Gorgonzola, Pork Tonkatsu
Overall Rating: 4.8

Positives
  • Powerful Nose
  • Structured Palate
  • Incredible Aging Potential
Negatives
  • Flat On The Mid-palate

Tasting Notes

An Old Vine Zinfandel, brimming with elegance, mouthwatering acidity, and a long, dynamic finish: the best Sonoma Zinfandel! Opening with a nose of briary raspberry, blackberries, and peach aromas with touches from garrigue, sweet spices, and cinnamon stick, Seghesio Old Vine Zinfandel has a surpassing bouquet.

On the palate, earthy notes mingle with a frame of dried violets, apricot, pineapple, and strawberry tastes. Notes of blueberry, licorice, pepper, and cedar define the lengthy finish, as the racy acidity offers freshness. This is an exuberant, beautiful Zin, perfect for enjoying again and again.

120 Years of Zinfandel Production

The Seghesio Family Vineyards winery is considered one of the most respected in the United States. They have been cultivating Zinfandel vines for over 120 years in Sonoma County. Sure, Zinfandel’s popularity has declined over the years, but that doesn’t mean that the people behind Seghesio don’t remain committed to producing some of the world’s best Zinfandels. Thankfully, their passion for making good wine remains fierce.


Best Value

  • Name — Ridge Vineyards Three Valleys
  • Winery — Ridge Vineyards
  • Country/Region — United States, California, North Coast, Sonoma County
  • Type — Sonoma Zinfandel
  • Aroma — Raspberry, Strawberry, Cherry, Mint, Tropical, Wet Forest Floor
  • Grapes — Zinfandel
  • Taste — Violets, Blackberry, Mulberry, Pepper, Game Meat
  • Alcohol Content — 14.2%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Beef Kabobs, Lamb Rack, Pork With Prunes
Overall Rating: 4.7

Positives
  • Elegant Texture
  • Savory Mouth
  • Delicate Tannins
Negatives
  • Lacks A Bit Of Consistency

Tasting Notes

Starting with an attractive deep garnet-red color, Ridge Vineyards Three Valleys is an engaging Zinfandel blend and one of the best Zinfandels in Sonoma. As the bottle is uncorked, distinctive aromas of cherry, raspberry, mint, orange blossom and cinnamon emerge, joined by subtle touches of wet soil. In the mouth, juicy cranberry, blackberry, and bay leaf flavors are present, producing an elegant texture.

Meanwhile, pepper, smoke, and Asian spice notes combine with sweet tannins for a delicious but balanced style that is irresistible. A long, persistent finish concludes the tasting profile dynamically. Ridge Vineyards Three Valleys is a robust wine, ripe and structured. Enjoy it over the coming years at a barbeque, where grilled meat is the center attraction.

Fine Zinfandel Winemaking

Established in 2001, Ridge Three Valleys has a history of producing hand-harvested wines. They crush and ferment their wines on native yeast, enabling the malolactic bacteria to soften the wine. This process adds flavors of brioche bread, cream, and butter to the mix. In a way, Three Valleys reflects careful blending and passionate wine production. The prime grape of their blends is Zinfandel, but they also employ Carignan to bring acidity and vibrancy, and Petite Syrah for spiciness, tannins, and color.


Best Under $15

  • Name — Trentadue OPR Red
  • Winery — Trentadue
  • Country/Region — California, United States, North Coast, Sonoma County
  • Type — Sonoma Zinfandel
  • Aroma — Cherry, Blackberry, Blueberry, Cherry Cola
  • Grapes — Zinfandel
  • Taste — Plum, Fig, Cocoa, Charred Oak, White Pepper, Vanilla Spice
  • Alcohol Content — 14.9%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Braised Lamb Shanks, Fried Chicken, Smoked Sausage, Havarti
Overall Rating: 4.5

Positives
  • Impressive Nose
  • Perfectly Balanced
  • Fruity Aftertaste
Negatives
  • Acidity Could Have Been More Uplifting

Tasting Notes

A Zinfandel blended with Carignane and Petite Syrah results in a complex, medium-to-full-bodied Rhone-style wine. This wine shows ample black and red fruit on the bouquet, as notes of blackberries, blueberries, and cherry cola make an immediate impression on wine enthusiasts.

The palate sees smoky hints and nuances of cocoa, vanilla, charred oak, and plums. In addition, the mouth manages to find a perfect balance between maturity and freshness, finishing with a long and fruitful aftertaste. As to the tannins, these are smooth and silky and add characteristic depth and elegance.

Unrestricted and Expressive Wine Production

Trentadue has a long reputation in Sonoma winemaking. In fact, the people behind the winery arrived in Sonoma way before the region gained popularity as a winemaking area. On an interesting note, in 1959, the Trentadue family fled from developers encroaching on their orchards in Sunnyvale.

Today, this same area is known worldwide as Silicon Valley! The Trentadue family moved their base of operations to Alexander Valley, and since then, they have stayed true to the commitment of producing vintages that are unrestricted and expressive of the terroir.


Best Under $20

  • Name — Seghesio Sonoma Zinfandel
  • Winery — Seghesio
  • Country/Region — United States, California, North Coast, Sonoma County
  • Type — Sonoma Zinfandel
  • Aroma — Blackberry, Sage, Cinnamon Spice, Cedar
  • Grapes — Zinfandel
  • Taste — Cherry, Raspberry, Plum, Blueberry, Licorice, Leather, Raisin, Smoke, White Pepper
  • Alcohol Content — 15.6%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Lamb Burgers, Rib-eye, Stilton, Gorgonzola
Overall Rating: 4.7

Positives
  • Plush Palate
  • Creamy Texture
  • Soft Tannins
Negatives
  • Spiciness May Not Be For Everyone

Tasting Notes

Here we have another awesome Zinfandel wine example from the Seghesio winery. This time, the wine has pronounced aromas of sun-ripened blackberries and cedar, as well as a rich, jammy palate of blackcurrants, blackberries, and plums.

Needless to say, this Seghesio Sonoma Zinfandel is superb every time. To put it differently, every vintage is a prime example of the passion that underpins Seghesio. The bouquet presents touches of cedar, sage, and blackberry, as well as baking spices. The palate is jammy with fresh red and black fruit, hints of white pepper, and dusty tannins. The finish is silky and lingering. Fantastic!


Best Under $25

  • Name — Bear Flag Zinfandel
  • Winery — Bear Flag
  • Country/Region — United States, California, North Coast, Sonoma County
  • Type — Sonoma Zinfandel
  • Aroma — Redcurrant, Raspberry, Cherry, Tree Bark, White Pepper, Asian Spices
  • Grapes — Zinfandel
  • Taste — Blueberry, Fig, Strawberry, Blackberry, Charred Wood, Vanilla Spice, Soil
  • Alcohol Content — 14.8%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Ribeye Steak, Charcoal Broiled Ribeye Steak, Roast Pork Loin, Spaghetti With Meatballs
Overall Rating: 4.7

Positives
  • Vibrant, Fruit-forward Nose
  • Plush, Round Mouth
  • Long Finish
Negatives
  • The Jamminess Might Overwhelm

Tasting Notes

With a structured body and a jammy character, reminiscent of baking spices and blueberry pie, Bear Flag Zinfandel is one of the best value-for-money Zins on the market. This Zinfandel is absolutely full to the brim with a waxy, creamy texture, notes of vanilla spice, and cherry.

As soon as it reaches the nose, aromas of red berries emerge, as well as blackberry pie, pepper, tree bark, and potpourri scents. Velvety and jammy, this wine is spicy with a rich mouthfeel and a long finish. It is also packed with mineral and earthy sensations. The tannins are dusty, and the acidity is moderate, offsetting the oakiness.

A Revolutionary Winery

The inspiration behind this wine came from the history of American settlers who fought for their independence in 1846. The Bear Flag of victory was raised in Sonoma County and is a source of great pride. Bear Flag Zinfandel has been created, in an attempt to follow the footsteps of these pioneers, and break free from expectations set in the last decades. The wine is hand-created by Aaron Piotter, head winemaker at the Bear Flag winery and a passionate advocate of the Californian wine industry.


Best Under $30

  • Name — Rosenblum Cellars Rockpile Road Vineyard Zinfandel
  • Winery — Rosenblum Cellars
  • Country/Region — United States, California, North Coast, Sonoma County, Rockpile
  • Type — Sonoma Zinfandel
  • Aroma — Boysenberry, Blackberry, Blueberry, Charred Wood
  • Grapes — Zinfandel
  • Taste — Raspberry, Strawberry, Cocoa, Game Meat, Pepper, Vanilla Spice
  • Alcohol Content — 15.7%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Tomahawk Steak, Shish Kebabs, Shepherd’s Pie, Feta, Aged Gruyere
Overall Rating: 4.7

Positives
  • Dynamic And Graceful
  • A Concentrated, Rich Palate
  • Bursting With Secondary Flavors
  • Long Aging Potential
Negatives
  • So Powerful, It Might Overwhelm

Tasting Notes

Bursting with grace, dynamism, and power, Rosenblum Cellars Rockpile Road Vineyard Zinfandel is a culmination of Sonoma’s climate, pedigree, and soil quality. Boysenberry, blackberry, and blueberry scents, redolent with spicy and toasted wood notes, form this high-elevation Zin’s mountain personality.

Raspberry, baking spice, pepper, and cocoa flavors define the palate, as chewy tannins join them. Rosenblum Cellars Rockpile Road Vineyard Zinfandel delivers a rich red fruit aftertaste and promises fantastic aging potential. Full-bodied, this is an incredible drink choice with barbecued meats and the like.

Quality Grapes Lead to Sumptuous Wines

Known as “The King of Zin,” Kent Rosenblum, founder of Rosenblum Cellars, produces high-quality Zinfandel wine from underappreciated grape-growing areas of Sonoma. He prefers to source fruit from families that have grown grapes for generations, passionate growers who work tirelessly to cultivate the best possible berries. Rosenblum Cellars is committed to crafting and delivering sumptuous wines, such as this excellent Zin!


Best Under $40

  • Name — Mount Peak Rattlesnake Zinfandel
  • Winery — Mount Peak
  • Country/Region — United States, California, North Coast, Sonoma County
  • Type — Sonoma Zinfandel
  • Aroma — Cherry, Blackberry, Kirsch, Pineapple, Cinnamon Stick, Mint, Dried Roses
  • Grapes — Zinfandel
  • Taste — Raspberry, Plum, Pepper, Cedar, Wet Soil
  • Alcohol Content — 16%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Pulled Pork With Barbeque Sauce, Asian Beef Kebabs, Chili Con Carne, Sirloin Burgers
Overall Rating: 4.8

Positives
  • Pronounced Bouquet
  • Rich Palate
  • Plush Finish
Negatives
  • High Alcohol Content

Tasting Notes

As its name suggests, Rattlesnake Zinfandel is a tribute to Rattlesnake Hill, the highest point of Sonoma’s Monte Rosso Vineyard. Renowned for the rattlesnakes nestling around the grapevines, the serpents are on the lookout for ample sunshine during the day and the cool, refreshing temperatures at night.

Aged in new French and American oak barrels, Rattlesnake Zinfandel shows pronounced aromas of explosive and jammy red and dark fruits. In addition, kirsch, pineapple, and blackberry pie notes complement nuances of cinnamon, spearmint, and dried roses, giving substance to the complex bouquet. Spicy and rich on the palate, the wine has a velvety texture and unparalleled freshness, interlaced with raspberry, cedar, and earth flavors. The finish is round and minty, with touches of sweet berries, while the tannins are firm but plush.

Grapes Cultivated Next to Rattlesnake Nests

Mount Peak Winery has a long history in winemaking. Considered as a ghost winery, Mount Peak sources grapes from the celebrated Monte Rosso Vineyard, as previously mentioned. Inspired by this magnificent area, Mount Peak


Best Under $50

  • Name — Turley Fredericks Vineyard Zinfandel
  • Winery — Turley
  • Country/Region — United States, California, North Coast, Sonoma County, Sonoma Valley
  • Type — Sonoma Zinfandel
  • Aroma — Blackberry, Cherry, Plum, Apricot, Anise, Tar
  • Grapes — Zinfandel
  • Taste — Blueberry, Plum, Cherry, Figs, Raisin, Prune, Chocolate, Tobacco, Pepper
  • Alcohol Content — 15.8%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — New York Strip Steak, Filet Mignon, Roast Pork Loin, Lamb Rack, Gorgonzola
Overall Rating: 4.9

Positives
  • Bright Stone Fruit Aromas
  • Complex Palate
  • Well-integrated Tannins
Negatives
  • Has To Be Decanted Properly

Tasting Notes

This is a beautiful wine with depth, structure, and persistence. Exhibiting uncommon intensity, Turley Fredericks Vineyard Zinfandel is hands-down, fantastic, and is one of the best-selling Zinfandel wines in Sonoma, too. The wine starts off with deep ruby-purple color as it slowly unfolds aromas of apricot, aniseed, blackberry, and tar.

On the palate, a grainy, vibrant frame of pepper, chocolate, and sweet tobacco blends with notes of blueberry, plum, and cherry. The aftertaste is soft and raisiny, as figs and prunes combined to satisfy the back palate. Regarding the tannins, these are smooth and well-integrated with the earthy structure. As a last note, Turley Fredericks Vineyard Zinfandel is highly acidic but balanced.

Advocates of Sustainable and Organic Viticulture

Turley Wine Cellars is dedicated to organic and sustainable viticulture. The winery focuses on Old Vine vineyards to preserve California’s winemaking culture. This notion is prevalent in Turley Fredericks Vineyard Zinfandel, which brims with depth and flavor concentration.


Best Under $100

  • Name — Kunde Reserve Zinfandel Century Vines
  • Winery — Kunde
  • Country/Region — United States, California, North Coast, Sonoma County, Sonoma Valley
  • Type — Sonoma Zinfandel
  • Aroma — Cherry, Raspberry, Plum, Pepper, Tobacco, Aniseed, Vanilla Spice, Clove
  • Grapes — Zinfandel
  • Taste — Blackberry, Fig, Prune, Chocolate, Forest Floor, Flint, Nutmeg, Mocha Coffee
  • Alcohol Content — 14.8%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Beef Stroganoff, Flank Steak, Chili Beef Burgers, Pork Tonkatsu, Seafood
Overall Rating: 4.9

Positives
  • Concentrated Fragrances
  • Perfectly Balanced Palate
  • Long, Gratifying Finish
  • Fantastic Aging Potential
Negatives
  • Super Peppery

Tasting Notes

Produced from head-trained vines cultivated in a historic 137-year-old vineyard, Kunde Reserve Zinfandel Century Vines showcases delicate red and black fruit aromas and flavors, with hints of baking spices and mocha. Lush and concentrated fragrances of cherry, raspberry, and plum emerge on the nose as they drive to the equally rich palate.

There, jammy blueberries and figs support a frame of cinnamon, vanilla, and dark chocolate flavors, accentuated by earthy, mineral, and nutmeg tones. At the same time, the savoriness is pronounced, finishing in a lengthy, mocha-influenced aftertaste. Without a doubt, this Zin is meant for aging. Decant it before serving.

Winemaking Pioneers

The Kunde family planted their first vineyard back in 1882. That makes the family one of the first wine producers, not only in the Sonoma Valley but in the United States, as well, which is quite a feat. Producing wine from such old vines is a rare treat. As such, the winery acknowledges that the grapes must be handled with the utmost gentleness. In fact, there are very few vines that have the steadfastness to produce such an incredible product as Kunde’s Century Vines Zinfandel.


Best With Unlimited Budget

  • Name — Martinelli Jackass Vineyard Zinfandel
  • Winery — Martinelli
  • Country/Region — United States, California, North Coast, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
  • Type — Sonoma Zinfandel
  • Aroma — Raspberry, Blackberry, Peach, Apricot, Potpourri, Licorice, Smoke, Dried Violet
  • Grapes — Zinfandel
  • Taste — Blueberry, Cherry, Plum, Fig, Cedar, Smoke, Leather, Tobacco, Cinnamon Stick
  • Alcohol Content — 16.9%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Lamb Rack, Braised Lamb Shanks With Parsley Pesto, Roast Pork Loin, Smoked Sausage, Grilled Chicken
Overall Rating: 5.0

Positives
  • Incredibly Complicated Nose
  • Concentrated Palate
  • Pronounced Oaky Sensations
  • Superb Aging Potential
  • Perfectly Balanced
Negatives
  • Nothing Much

Tasting Notes

With sweet berry aromas and a dynamic, dark palate packed with savory and charred wood elements, Martinelli Jackass Vineyard Zinfandel is a powerhouse. Unsurprisingly, therefore, it is also one of the top-rated Zinfandel wines in Sonoma. Juicy berry aromas and a dynamic palate of dark fruits combine with savory and charred wood essences to produce this premium Zinfandel.

This is a captivating wine that opens with fragrances of peaches, apricots, and potpourri. These aromas are followed by nuances of smoke, violets, licorice, and honeysuckle, adding depth and complexity. The mouth is luscious, with savory elements dominating. Cedar, smoke, leather, sweet tobacco, and cinnamon spice, join the dark fruit core before finishing with a wave of Asian spices. For the best flavor, do not drink before 2030.

World-Class Wine Production

Growing grapes since the 19 Century, the Martinellis have a rich history in winemaking. They abide by a strong work ethic and consider the terroir as a way of life. Their Zinfandels are crafted with the finest fruit cultivated on the steep terraces of the Jackass Vineyard, Sonoma. Finally, the Martinellis are not only wine producers but also wine grape merchants. They sell about 90% of their grapes to other local wineries.

Conclusion

These are arguably the best Zinfandel wines of Sonoma County. Some were produced by relatively newer wineries, while others were crafted from veterans, with a winemaking experience of over 130 years. In every case, there is a Zin for every wine enthusiast. If one thing is guaranteed, it is that all of these wines are delicious and expressive of Sonoma’s distinctive terroir.

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