Gnarly Head Zinfandel – Wine of the Week from O’Briens Wine

Gnarly Head Zinfandel - Wine of the Week from O'Briens Wine

When a city or a region becomes known as “The X capital of the world” you can expect Xs coming from that place to be the benchmark against which all others will be measured. Paris is the epicenter for fashion lovers, Berlin is it town for vegans and Melbourne’s infamously viral deconstructed latte makes a good case for the Aussie city as hipster metropoli.

Lodi is the Zinfandel Capital of the World. The Californian city, located in the northern area of the state’s Central Valley is surrounded by vineyards where the variety stars. Approximately 40% of California’s premium Zinfandel is actually from Lodi and while the region’s name is not currently as popular as Napa, Santa Barbara or Sonoma, that’s surely going to change soon.

Gnarly Head Zinfandel - Wine of the Week from O'Briens WineGnarly Head Zinfandel 2013 is a good example of what a Zin from Lodi should taste like. The winery proudly grows Zinfandel in some of the oldest vineyards in California and while they also produce wines from other grapes, their Old Vine Zin a great place to start and one of the best-value California Zinfandels we’ve seen.

On the nose, ripe red fruit is the main aroma to stand out. Dried cranberries, juicy red plums and cherry preserve. A hint of aniseed, vanilla and toasted coconut follow.

After letting it oxygenate for an hour, floral aromas awaken and a pleasant smokiness comes to life.

On the palate, its generous and powerful but never aggressive. Its tannins are strong enough to balance an ABV of 14.5% but mellow enough to run smoothly sip after sip, helped by a cherry-like acidity that makes it feel fresh despite its age.

Violets and cranberries, sweet spice and toast will all run together, and while it’s structured enough to live longer, it’s as ready as a hiker on a sunny Saturday, so go on, drink it now.

If you want to pair it with a meal, Venison with Squash puree will be a tempting match and so will this grilled lamb rump.

Gnarly Head Zinfandel is available at O’Briens Wine at €18.95.


Gaby ProfileGabriela’s passion for writing is only matched by her love for food and wine. Journalist, confectioner and sommelier, she fell in love with Ireland years ago and moved from Venezuela to Dublin in 2014.

Since then, she has written about and worked in the local food scene, and she’s determined to discover and share the different traditions, flavours and places that have led Irish food and drink to fascinate her.

Gabriela Guédez Gabriela Guédez



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