Review: 2015 Bear Flag Zinfandel Sonoma County

Here’s proof that zinfandel needn’t be an over-jammed fruit bomb.

The possible secret is that Bear Flag, which draws its name from California’s iconic 1846 flag and is part of the Gallo group, uses Sonoma fruit instead of grapes from the more typical Lodi, giving them access to a territory that is slightly cooler and has more varied terroir. The results are a supple (and sure enough high-alcohol) zin with notes of blackberry, dark chocolate, and lingering notes of cloves. Altogether it’s a hearty, heady wine built for the holidays — right down to the old-timey, gold-etched labeling.

A- / $30 / bearflagwine.com

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