Always on the lookout for good wine values, I’ve come to learn there are some bargains in California if you head a bit east from Sonoma and Napa. This is especially true for Zinfandel, one of my favorite grapes. I’ve had several good zins from Lodi, and now have found a good one from nearby Amador County.
The 2005 Easton Zinfandel has a rich berry bouquet. It starts a bit oaky but with good balance. After breathing for 15 minutes or so, the wine opens up nicely with bright berry flavors. This zin made for a good match for the steak we had with a roasted garlic pan sauce.
Comparing a zin from Sonoma and Amador or Lodi instructs on the importance of terroir. With this Easton, I could practically taste the warm sunny California days—bright, straightforward fruit. Definitely a nice drinking wine and a good value at $15. But taste it alongside a good zin from Sonoma, and you’d see how the cool climate of the coastal county adds complexity and depth to the wine. In sum, given a choice and unlimited budget, I’d opt for Sonoma, but this wine from Amador is a good option for the price.