Gnarly Head Old Vine Zinfandel

2007 Gnarly Head Old Vine Zinfandel, $15. LCBO# 678698.

When is wine at its best? When shared with a dear friend, of course. My long-time best buddy Laurel and I drank some of this fantastic Zin one weekend while at her family’s cottage on Brereton Lake, Manitoba.

We went out for dinner at the only restaurant in the area, found at the Brereton Lake Resort. The wine selection consisted of two reds and a white, so when the waitress listed Gnarly Head as an option, I nearly fell off my chair, and then jumped at the chance to order it.

I saw this bottle in a January LCBO Vintages release, and was too slow to get a bottle. That’s my greatest beef with this province’s giant fascist liquor system- they get a bunch of something great, it gets snapped up, and then you have to wait til next year. No ordering it from somewhere else for you, oh no no. Meanwhile, small town Manitoba has cases of the stuff. The injustice!

I love Zin, especially when it hails from California. There’s something about the way they make it out there, the balance of fruit and oak, softness and zip, that nearly always pleases me.¬† And this bottle lived up to my expectations, and definitely surpassed anything I thought would be offered on a wine list in the middle of nowhere.

The wine is a wonderful dark purple, promising a deep full flavour and ripeness. The nose is a bit musty-dusty, and the taste is fruity, as one would expect, with plums and berries up front. There’s a touch of oak to add some complexity, and the finish has a bit of a spicy bite. Which makes for a perfect glass, full of ripe fruit, with a sweet-tart contrast as you swallow.

When I got back to Ontario, I made one more attempt at getting a bottle of this gem, but was unsuccessful. I did, however, find a bottle of the same winery’s Cabernet Sauvignon for $16.95. I plan to taste it soon in case it is also lovely and I need to stock up.

Overall, I give this wine 10/10 for taste and 4/5 for value.

One thought on “Gnarly Head Old Vine Zinfandel

  1. Haley says:

    Megan, you make me WANT to have a refined wine palate – I would love to get this excited about a wine – I’m going to take a few of your suggestions to the liquor store next time – and, with a name like Gnarly Head this one deserves a try.


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