The 2014 Castle Tower Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel looked promising—although "Castle Tower" sounds like one of those generic, made-up names slapped onto wine of no special interest just to get it on the market. The wine was fairly tannic, not very fruit-forward, shortish, and generally ungenerous. Not terribly interesting. The 2013 Benison Lodi Zinfandel I tasted it with was better, with some red berry and sandalwood scents and a bright palate. Although it seemed a bit hollow—the flavors disappearing on the mid-palate—it came back with a fairly concentrated fruity, if somewhat woody finish. Acceptable everyday wine.
A good deal is the 2011 Alto Cinco Garnacha ("High Five" get it?), from Spain. Another decent wine for everyday consumption with real Grenache character. Grenache is an under-rated grape in my view. When well done, it can have an irresistibly appealing ripe fruitiness. Also not bad is the 2013 Flying Feet Syrah.
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