Maker: Gnarly Head Cellars
Packaging: Bottle, artificial cork
Our Rating: 8.5 out of 10
While not quite box-level cheap, we wanted to compare this inexpensive Zin with a really cheap one, Trinity Oaks Zinfandel 2001. Fortunately, Gnarly Head Old Vine Zin 2004 is quite a bit better. The Gnarly Head Zin has a powerful berry punch, leading into a lengthy finish. This is a wine that is fine to drink alone, and which will hold its own with spicy food, barbeque, beef, and any other strongly flavored dish. “Old vine” Zinfandels are noted for strong fruit flavors, and the Gnarly Head is no exception.
Blogger Sean tasted it, and said, “…this one rocks. It needs a bit to open up, but after at least 1/2 hour it has a great nose… full of the briar and spice often found in more expensive Zins. In the mouth it backs up that spice and adds pepper, a tonne of berries, a good tannic backbone…” Meanwhile, blogger Scott describes it as, “a massive spicy black fruit attack with underlying licorice root, reductive black fruit stew, ripe plums, peppery sort of notes, with subtle vanilla from oak, massive tannin structure and balanced firm mid-palate and a longish finish, still peppered with spice and some dissipating alcohol.”
This is a nice hostess gift, too – it tastes great, has an amusing and unusual name, and features an interesting explanation of the “Gnarly Head” name on the label.