Amador's Easton Wines makes Wine Spectator's '100 Outstanding Value Wines of 2013'

Wednesday’s “Wine Buzz” offered a rundown of Black Friday events in Amador County, including a tasting of the Easton 2011 Zinfandel Amador County at Terre Rouge/Easton (10801 Dickson Road, Plymouth).

That particular bottle of zinfandel would now make an especially choice gift for the wine lover on your holiday shopping list.

Wine Spectator magazine included that $18 bottle of Easton 2011 Zinfandel Amador County in its year-end list of “100 Outstanding Values.” Keep in mind that only two wines in all of California made this list, with the other being Enotria 2009 Dolcetto Mendocino ($18).

This inclusion marks the second straight year an Easton Zinfandel Amador County has scored a spot on Wine Spectator’s “100 Outstanding Values.” The 2012 version of this list also included a trio of $10 wines from Bogle (merlot, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc), giving that year an especially strong showing from the greater Sacramento in this much read year-end list.

Bill Easton (picture above) bottles four to five different zinfandels annually, including a Shenandoah Valley Estate and Fiddletown Eschen-Rinaldi, in which the grapes are sourced from vines that date back to 1865. Easton’s Zinfandel Amador County ranks as the winery’s largest production run, with just under 10,000 cases produced for the 2011 vintage.

Easton also bottles some of the Sierra Foothills’ best Rhone styled wines under his Terre Rouge label.

The Shenandoah Valley Estate zinfandel has received accolades on its own. A bottle of that wine from the 2010 vintage was among three wines pictured on the cover of Wine Enthusiast magazine’s September issue, with the headline declaring, “California zinfandel makes a comeback.”

No matter which brand of zinfandel he’s botting, Easton aims to express a more moderate and food-friendly version of a grape that’s too often connoted with high-alcohol cocktail style wines. The 2011 Zinfandel Amador County is noted for its blackberry and dark fruit flavors, smooth tannins and spicy overtones.

“Zinfandel’s become really weird in the last 15 years, but the pendulum’s swinging back to our style,” said Easton. “It’s a more classic style without excessive alcohol, no residual sugar and the oak doesn’t clobber you over the head.”

Given all the positive press for Easton’s zinfandels, especially the Wine Spectator nod, better score some soon. Tasting room hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. from Fridays through Mondays.

For more information: (209) 245-4277,