The 2011 Four Vines "Biker" Zinfandel (about $20 at big-box wine stores) is a jazzed up zin from California's Paso Robles district that incorporates splashes of grenache, tannat, mourvedre, syrah and petite sirah to good effect.
The nose is robust and musky, with cherries, prunes, blackberries and clove accented by aromatic cedar wood. The cedar wood turns to smoke on the tongue and along with black pepper lights a fire under the aforementioned fruits. This red wine is intense throughout, but that is especially true of the long, complex, spicy finish capped by a ripe cherry finale. Overall, this zin is mouth-filling and well structured. It's a beauty.
When pairing, capitalize on the cedar smoke by going for Memphis-style smoked pork ribs or any robustly flavored meat or fowl dish.
By Colette and John Bancroft. She is the Times' book editor, and he is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine and travel.