2009 Hillgate Zinfandel

Price: $6.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

2009 Hillgate ZinfandelPer the bottle “Just beyond these gates are the majestic hillside vineyards that reach into untouched and untamed wilderness of a region known for its beauty and clear air, where the wines have become notable for their fruit forward syle and awards are more and more abundant. Welcome to Hillgate, Gate to the Hills Lake County, California.” <- Wow that is helpful, isn't it!

What I Think:

My friends at the TTB tell me this label is tied to the Laird Family Estate in Napa. As my initial search turned up no connection between the estate and Lake County the origins of this one will remain a mystery. I’ve reached out to the winery to see if they would be willing to share any information and will certainly let you know if I hear back. But for now onto the main event…

(14.9%) To cut to the chase the most impressive Trader Joe’s wine find I’ve had in some time. Big nose of dark, peppery fruit. Smooth, rich and bold on the palate. Certainly fruit forward but without turning jammy (as many at this price point do). Soft tannins with a nice vanilla (barrel driven) creaminess on a pleasant, lasting peppery finish. A perfect match for summer barbeque. I plan on grabbing at least six more. Give it a try and let me know what you think…

Rating: Buy It

And while you’re out and about you might want to grab the Rousanne under the same label to see if it hits the mark. Mine is chilling in the refrigerator now…