|Four Vines (California) Zinfandel 1997
This was one of the stars of a recent tasting of 50 Sainsbury's wines, but unfortunately it is available in only 150 of their stores. From Paso Robles, a hot region south of the famous Napa Valley, but well-established and specialising in Zinfandel, this has a highly aromatic nose of cedarwood, burning embers, pepper and exotic spices. Perhaps the dollop of Petite Sirah in the blend adds a bright, berry fruitiness. The palate is creamily-textured and ripe, filled with sweet, jammy blackcurrant fruit, still fragrant and exotic, with a deeper suggestion of sweet plums. The tannins and acidity brace the finish, but this stays focused on full, lush, sweet fruit right to the end. Some might find it a touch cloying in its full-blown ripeness, but there's masses of quality here and I loved it.