Anything but jammy and in your face, this "Three Valleys" Zinfandel from Ridge Vineyards exemplifies elegance and restraint. A blend of mostly Zinfandel with old vine Carignan and a little Syrah and Petite Sirah, the 2009 shows off ripe juicy fruit, silky tannins and a bright acidity tempered with the bite of white pepper and spice.
[For the record: An earlier version of this article gave the vintage of the Ridge Zinfandel as 2010. The year is 2009.]
Don't waste this bottle on a charred burger — save it for grilled lamb chops, a summery beef daube, roast chicken with herbs tucked under the skin or your best meatballs.
Ridge has always made great Zinfandels, but this vintage of the "Three Valleys" is a standout.
Region: Sonoma County
Price: About $20
Style: Elegant and complex
What it goes with: Grilled chops, stews and roasts
Where to find it: Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa, (949) 650-8463, http://www.hitimewine.net; K&L Wine Merchants in Hollywood, (323) 464-9463, http://www.klwines.com; Mission Wines in South Pasadena, (626) 403-9463, http://www.missionwines.com; the Wine Club in Santa Ana, (714) 835-6485, http://www.thewineclub.com; Wine Exchange in Orange, (714) 974-1454 and (800) 76WINEX, http://www.winex.com; and Woodland Hills Wine Co. in Woodland Hills, (818) 222-1111, http://www.whwc.com.