Make us your home page

Wine of the Week: Bramblewood Old Vine Zinfandel

The non-vintage Bramblewood Old Vine Zinfandel ($12 to $16 at big box stores) is a sturdy, fruity Lodi zin, but it is not going to make our favorites list because of a sweet edge that, for us, relegates it to also-ran status. We are writing about it because our aversion to sweetish red table wines, as distinct from certain dessert wines meant to be sipped from a thimble, is hardly universal, as evidenced by the rising popularity of wines like Jam Jar Sweet Shiraz from South Africa.

The wine telegraphs its punch from first sniff, its nose dominated by big black cherry and a little bramble. So far, so good. On the tongue it offers loads of fruit — most notably ripe black cherry, blackberry and bruised plum — accented by a healthy wallop of mocha. At mid palate and through a medium long finish, however, distracting and rather cloying port-like overtones assert themselves, lending a rich, caramelly distraction that put us off the wine but that will be welcomed as long overdue by those with a sweet tooth.

Pair this fruit-forward zin with mushroom cream sauced pasta, lamb, venison or duck. Or have it for dessert.

By Colette and John Bancroft. She is the Times' book editor, and he is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine and travel. For an index and archive of reviews, go to

Wine of the Week: Bramblewood Old Vine Zinfandel 02/12/13 [Last modified: Monday, February 11, 2013 6:39pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Fast Times at Ridgemont High turns 35: Learn it. Know it. Live it


    Fast Times at Ridgemont High not only is the perfect time capsule of pop culture in the early ‘80s - all it needed was some tasty waves and cool buds = it’s also high art. How so? Leave it to me. I'm the full hot orator today. Did you know the cast actually featured three future Academy Award …

  2. On the Camino de Santiago, Day 23: Of tiny towns, wonderful naps and dreamlike ice cream bars


    Day 23: Murias de Rechivaldo to Foncebadon: 20.8 km, 6 hours. Total for Days 1-23 = 541 km (336 miles)

  3. Forgotten '80s classic: The Kinks' 'The Road'


    While the '70s has classic songs about rock 'n' roll on the road like Jackson Browne's The Load-Out and Bob Seger's Turn The Page, the '80s also lamented about the long tours including songs that might have escaped your attention like the Kinks and their travel song simply titled The Road.

  4. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for July 28


    Lady Antebellum: The Grammy-winning trio take the stage with openers Kelsea Ballerini and Brett Young. 7 p.m., MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre at the Florida State Fairgrounds, 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. $26.75-$60.

    LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 02:  (L-R) Recording artists Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood of Lady Antebellum perform during the 52nd Academy of Country Music Awards at T-Mobile Arena on April 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
  5. Opera legend Sherrill Milnes keeps a quieter profile in Palm Harbor


    TARPON SPRINGS — The soprano sang an aria from The Marriage of Figaro about lost love, but she could have been asking the devil not to steal her soul. A couple dozen opera fans watched, including a silver-haired man with leonine features leaning back in his chair.

    American operatic baritone Sherrill Milnes, right, critiques a performance by Mariana Carnovali, of Buenos Aires, Argentina, during the Opera Voice competition on Monday  at the Tarpon Springs Heritage Museum. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times