When I first started really getting into drinking wine, it was back when my husband and I first started dating. I never had a palette for it before although I had tried my far share of different types. On one of our first dates, he had asked me what my favorite wine was. Since I was really not experienced but of course did not want him to know that, I Googled what the best sweet wine was. Pink Zinfandel kept popping up, so that’s what I told him my favorite was. Let me clarify by saying this is absolutely not my favorite anymore.

I was thinking about that story, which is what inspired this weeks Winesday. I really did not want to do a pink zin, so we all get to enjoy a red zin instead! In my opinion, they are so much better.

Red Zinfandel Review

wpid-testUpload.pngThis is another newbie here at Motherhood and Merlot.  I have never reviewed or really even had more than a sample of a red zinfandel.  This particular zin is a 2013 Smoking Loon Old Vine Zinfandel. I purchased mine for around $8 at my local grocery store, I am sure that you can pick it up in a variety of places. I feel like I am going on a 10 wines under $10 series, having done 5 already! Who doesn’t love a good, cheap wine, especially if you don’t have to be the guinea pig and try it out first?


This wine is on the sweeter side for reds. It it is a wine blend, meaning it is not just Zinfandel although that is the main component. It is a really mild-mannered wine, probably more so than any I have ever sampled.


The bottle has a cool little story on the back about how the “smoking loon” came to be. It is silly, but entertaining. Their motto is “good wine doesn’t need to take itself so seriously”. My husband says the same thing about me sometimes…:)

Berries, Berries and Cherries. That is what you really taste in this wine.  I would say raspberry is a prominent flavor right away, with acidity later on from cranberries. These also add a tart finish along with an earthy flavor, maybe from oak or cedar. For not having the “punch” that some other wines do, this mild wine actually has a beautiful flavor. This wine is also said to contain notes of vanilla, pomegranate, black cherry and nutmeg.

As I said before, it is on the sweet side. So if you prefer this in a red vine, I would give this one a try. For the price and flavor, you can’t really beat it.

I paired this wine with a sweet and spicy chicken stir fry. The Smoking Loon site says that it would also go well with a sweet pork dish or eggplant parmesan. The acidity in the wine really adds to dishes on the sweeter side. I bet it would also be excellent with the Skinny Chicken Parmesan I gave the recipe for last week.

Overall, I would give this wine a 3.8 out of 5. It has good flavor, it is a little sweet for the way I prefer my red wines, but it is a good quality wine for the price! If you are newer to wine drinking and want to sample a red, this might be a great one to start off with.

The Reverse Wine Snob, which is a great site for those of us that love cheap but good wine, also did a review on a 2009 bottle of this same wine if you want to check out another review as well!

You can check out last weeks wine review here and don’t forget to look at the Wine & More tab to see my list of top 10 favorites that are updated weekly.

*Cheers to drinking Zin for the Win*