2007 Chatom Vineyards Zinfandel

Chatom Vineyards Zinfandel: This is what zinfandel always was and always should be, well, at least in my opinion. None of that high pedigree Napa or Sonoma that tastes like an over oaked homogenized style that seems to be permeating the zinfandel market landscape these days. This wine is a wonderfully accurate expression of this grape variety. Opening aromas are a briar and ripe fruit smell that in my opinion identifies zinfandel. I might want to include the aromas also have a hint of dust like a truck had just passed this blackberry bush on a dirt road and kicked up a dusting of silt dirt carrying some humidity. That nostalgic description reminds me of a smell from my childhood that takes me back to the days when I lived in the Southern Ozark Mountains.

The flavors need a few minutes of breathing time to be coaxed from the glass to reach their full potential. If you have the patience to wait just a few moments, your reward will be enormous. Do not be influenced by the 15.5% ABV as this wine is balanced and smooth and the perfect partner for any robust rustic cuisine. It will also pair well with haute cuisine as long as the flavors are big and not too acidic. Herb crusted rack of lamb springs to mind.

Where is Calaveras County you might ask? Well if you know much about the California Gold rush, you will already know it is near the Eastern part of California. Back in the day Mark Twain and the patriarch of the Hearst family spent a good amount of time there. Nowadays I think a few of the producers there make wines that are some of the best to be found in California. There were only around 800 cases of this wine produced but it is available online straight from the winery. Now if you live in a state where you cannot have wine shipped to you, first call and then write your senator and try to get that fixed then call Chatom Vineyards to see if they distribute the wine in your area. Enjoy!

Rating: 91 | $19 | 15.1% ABV


About the Author:

Marc has held almost every position in the food & wine industry and is committed to Celebrating Hospitality with Pride. In addition to being the co-founder and editor-at-large for Enobytes, Marc is a wine blogger contributor to OregonLive.com (Wine Bytes) and writes the Wine Knowledge column in the print magazine About Face. The Contra Costa County Times, San Jose Mercury News, Tacoma Times Tribune and Washington Post have either interviewed or quoted Marc on his viniferous and culinary opinions. Marc has also appeared on Portland's "Vine Time" on News Radio 750 KXL and on California's Central Coast "From the Growing of the Grape to the Glass" on KUHL-AM 1410. He is also the author of A History of Pacific Northwest Cuisine: Mastodons to Molecular Gastronomy. While continuing to tenaciously search for what he may finally proclaim as his favorite wine Marc is relentless in his quest for the ultimate food and wine experience.


  1. Travis M March 30, 2011 at 9:20 AM - Reply

    Wow, I haven’t heard of Calaveras or Chatom! Love it. I’ll give it a try.

    • enobytes March 30, 2011 at 10:08 PM - Reply

      It’s a winner Zin – seek it out and enjoy.

  2. Lynne March 30, 2011 at 9:57 AM - Reply

    Chatom wines are the best!!!!!!!!!

    • enobytes March 30, 2011 at 10:10 PM - Reply

      Thanks for the comment Lynne, cheers!

  3. Brenda March 30, 2011 at 11:46 AM - Reply

    Thanks for the heads up! Sounds like a winner Zinfandel.

    • enobytes March 30, 2011 at 10:12 PM - Reply

      Definitely seek it out Brenda, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

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