Wine Review: Rombauer Zinfandel Vintage 2010

Rombauer ZinfandelToday we take a look at Rombauer Vineyards’ Vintage 2010 Zinfandel.  A big, bright and luscious red packed with a ton of fruit-forward notes and an alcohol content of 15.9%.

Known more perhaps for their chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon – both of which have won multiple awards – this Rombauer Zin is big and bold enough to stand on its own.  It needs no accompaniment to be fully enjoyed or appreciated.  But enough of that, let’s break this wine down, shall we…


  • Construction:
  • Wine Type:  Red
  • Varietal:  Zinfandel
  • Composition:  94% Zinfandel / 6% Petite Syrah
  • Appellation:  California
  • Aging:  15 months in 100% French Oak and American barrels
  • ABV:  15.9%
  • Score:  88

Flavor:  Rombauer ZinfandelUncork:  I firmly cut away the casing and – using my tried and tested hand-held cork screw – ease the cork from the bottle.  I typically opt to pour an entire bottle of wine in to a decanter to assist with the aeration process.  This time however, I reach for another tried and tested tool, the Vinturi Wine Aerator.  Aroma:  Watching this deep-purple colored wine make its way down thru the aerator and in to my glass produced a bold dark berry aroma coupled nicely with a hint of vanilla.  Lifting the glass to my nose reconfirmed the vanilla note.  I also detect a slight hint of spice.  Not really a pepper spice, more of a cinnamon or nutmeg aroma.

Experience:  First Impression:  Time to take that first sip, and this wine simply knocks me over with its heavy fruit-forward flavors.  The berry aroma is now also confirmed – strong notes of plum, blackberry and jam are the dominant flavors.  I take a moment to swirl the drink around in my mouth – making sure every area of the tongue experiences the wine.  As I swallow, I notice this wine contains very smooth tannins, almost non-existent – and a velvety smooth finish.  I confirm the spice now as nutmeg, not cinnamon.  This adds a nice bit of complexity to the heavier fruit flavors.  As the first sip goes down, I am greeted once again by the vanilla note, what a surprise and such a great way to end a first impression.  Continued Consumption:  After the excitement of that first impression, I continue to drink the bold and exciting Zin.  One thing is for sure, at 15.9% alcohol this wine has an attitude and demands to be paid attention to.  Soon however, my excitement starts to fade.  Remember those heavy fruit-forward notes from earlier?  Well, unfortunately for me they never really subsided or transitioned.  They simply stayed right up front and in your face.  Which means over time, the sweetness of this wine starts to take over.  What was once an incredible first-impression has now settled in to a decent red with a little too much sweetness for my liking.

Final Thoughts:  First impressions are very important, and this Rombauer Zinfandel really delivers.  But just like relationships, there has to be a little something more after the initial excitement wears off.  Don’t get me wrong, this is a really good wine.  Anyone who enjoys their reds a little on the sweeter side will absolutely love this wine.  For me however, I was hoping for a few more surprises as the wine continued to breathe.  I also prefer a little more complexity from a wine in the $20-$30 range.  All that aside, the Rombauer Zinfandel stands bold and tall for what it is and I can respect that.  If big and bold wines with jammy flavors and subtle surprises are in your wheel-house, look no further – this is a perfect wine for you!

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