Big Top Zinfandel 2013

It feels like an age since I’ve written about wine, what with all the football, beer and top notch events going on in and around Leicester. So I was determined to pick myself up something delicious that I could write about. The opportunity came on a recent #WineWednesday at one of my favourite new bars, 45 West on Hotel Street, where they offer free cheese and nibbles as well as a selection of wines at a special price. On that occasion I enjoyed a very satisfactory white Chateauneuf Du Pape, but I also grabbed myself a 2013 Big Top Zinfandel to take away at the reasonable price of £10 per bottle.

The sun totally deluded me yesterday and when I arrived home from work after a long week, I was delighted to see it smiling down on the garden. This was the time to crack the Big Top open and to enjoy a glass or two with The Boy in the sunshine. Sadly, by the time I had got myself assembled with camera and notebook and we had poured our first glass of this vibrant, translucent ruby liquid to enjoy, the sun had gone in. Two minutes later it was raining and so we decamped back into the house. Happily I manage to capture some photos that give you the illusion it was a nice day.

Long term readers of Extreme Housewifery will know that it is pretty much visiting California and meeting amazing people there that really got me bitten by the wine bug and so I’m always on the lookout for something a bit special from CA that makes it to our shores. They definitely keep the best for themselves and many of the truly special small producers don’t have the capacity to export here at all because of ridiculously high tax on vino.

So I was really happy to find a reasonably priced Californian wine of this quality. The aromas spring from the glass, bursting with red fruit and a dash of enticing, sweet jam. Although this is a relatively light wine in the mouth, with no heavy tannins, it still has wonderful texure, the rounded fruit flavours filling the mouth with cherry and blackcurrant flavours which are ripe and full of sunshine. It is incredibly refreshing and unbelievably fresh and zinging. 

I award a smiling 8 out of 10 for this wine and will certainly be returning to it time and time again when I want something that is full of fruit, without going for the predictability of an Italian Primitivo (which is essentially the same grape). Truly Zinfandel is something that the New World handles with love and great skill.

While I’ve got you, this is probably a good time to let you know that my latest restaurant review, of Roma Cafe Bar, Leicester, is out in the Leicester Mercury today, so don’t forget to pick up a copy and find out what I thought of my visit! Happy Saturday everyone!

I purchased a bottle of Big Top Zinfandel at full price for the purposes of this review.


Bestselling author and freelance drinks writer. Champion of pubs and breweries. Occasional printmaker.

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