Sunday, January 10, 2010

Gnarly Head Old Vine Zinfandel 2007 brought to you by Walmart

Let me just start by saying, yes... that IS Occhipinti Olive Oil in the photo. The olive oil all other olive oils apsire to. That being said...

So, I'm at Walmart... I know... don't even go there. I live in a VERY small town and unfortunately, I have to go there every once in awhile. But I try very hard to stay in good humor no matter what I'm doing (this doesn't always work... just ask my dear husband!) so I was doing my shopping and kind of got into the whole value mentality. As I'm passing by the "wine" section, I decide I'll take a little tour of the Walmart offerings. heh heh. Mostly what you would expect. Boxes, cheap jug wine and 750s of the same. I see a few I have heard at least decent commentary on and decide I'm grabbing one of these babies! Just for giggles if nothing else.

I decided on Gnarly Head Old Vine Zinfandel 2007. I was in the mood for a zin. It was one of the only ones there and the only one I had heard any good news about. So... I bought it. (there's my disclosure) Paid more than I thought I would at Walmart though... $11.97. Have I mentioned that I hate Walmart? Ok... ok.. to the task at hand... HOW WAS IT?!

My take on it (I won't call it a review. I am not that special...just my view. Some tasting notes.) Medium ruby red color---lovely and translucent. On the nose, a bit of tobacco, ripe fruit...blackberry, maybe black raspberry. On the palate dark forest berries, very slightly floral, a hint of spice maybe white pepper. Pleasant fruity finish. It's somewhat acidic which I always like in a red. And it has enough structure to keep it out of the fruit bomb or soft and flabby category.

I'm calling this one cheap and tasty! I'd buy it again. No problem. I'm always so happy to find a wine that is this inexpensive and drinkable. This one is better than just drinkable. Whether it is or not, it doesn't feel messed-with too much either. I say this because some of you know, but some of you might not, that I have a serious propensity for natural wines. I think my palate just goes there, if you know what I mean. Read my post on natural wines for a better idea of that.

The description on the back of the label in my opinion describes a "bigger" wine than what I found in the bottle. But that was to my pleasant surprise. The back of the label tells us that these are "80 year old vines" and that the wine is named so because the writer exclaimed "Whoa, those are some gnarly heads!" when he/she first saw the vines. They let us know that the "grapes are hand selected from some of the oldest and most respected vineyards in Lodi." They also let us know that they use a combination of French, American and Hungarian oak which I found to be extremely well-integrated as I DO NOT enjoy unbalanced oak at all. They also say we should enjoy it with "barbecue, pizza, hearty pastas, chili and ribs." I might have to disagree here. I tried it first on its own, but then had a glass with a cheeseburger. It was somewhat spicy and the wine didn't stand up like I hoped it would. BUT if I had made a traditional cheeseburger I think it would have worked. Mine just happened to be on the spicy side with some chili peppers in the mix. Overpowered the wine a bit. I'd say go with more subtle grilled meats and dishes that have a flavor profile that falls into the medium-savory area.

I hope that helps you if you decide to grab this one at the grocer one day. I really did enjoy it and would most definitely get it again when I'm buying inexpensive wine to drink on a regular basis.


Wine Ophelia


  1. This needs to be a standard -- Ophelia's Budget Wine Review.

    PS -- Love the picture with Ophelia and the wine glass

  2. I'm a big fan of Gnarly Head Old Vine Zin ... The first time I had it was Sept of 09, on a recommendation from a Twitter friend, @Preppydude. I had done a tasting of 5 Grocery Store Zins, and they were rather flat and disappointing. However, I tried the Gnary Head OV Zin, and for the price, this is a wine that delivers.

    If you want to see what I've thought of regarding those Grocery Store Zins, check out


  3. If it feels any better for you. I tried this wine at Bevmo in California at They have a chain of stores on the west coast including California and Arizona. They have about 100 stores that carry this wine. It's definitely a value wine.