I am especially excited to be reviewing this bottle today, as I have tried it in the past and found it to be exceptional for the price point.
Predator Zinfandel is quite the sleeper bottle. The wine for this bottle is sourced from the Lodi region in California. Lodi is situated right between the Sierra Foothills and the San Francisco Bay Delta, allowing it to benefit from cool afternoon and evening breezes, producing world-renowned Zinfandel.
The average age of the vines for Predator is 50+ years. Older vines mean more depth, complexity, and intensity of flavors as the vines reach deeper and deeper into the soil over time.
Predator Old Vine Zinfandel Review
The label for this wine, a simple image of a ladybug, is actually quite significant.
The ladybug is a natural predator that feeds on insects harmful to plants, and this natural predation is just one of numerous sustainable vineyard practices that helps the company to eliminate the need for synthetic pesticides in their quest to make exceptional green-friendly wines.
This “natural predator” is also where the wine takes its name from.
Predator Old Vine Zinfandel Summary
- Brand: Predator
- Country: United States
- Region: Lodi
- Wine Type: Red Wine
- Varietals: Zinfandel
- ABV: 14.5%
The wine is a deep violet color in the glass. It sports a heavy body which is apparent at first glance, and after a good swirl develops big, thick legs which steadily stream down the glass.
The aromatics here are more or less in line with what I would have expected from a good-quality Lodi Zinfandel.
There are jammy blueberries, blackberry compote, maraschino cherries, and a slight dusting of freshly cracked black pepper that adds a bit of depth to the medley of fruit which readily wafts into your nose.
The aromas almost remind me of a bakery, completing the ample amount of berry aromas with a bit of vanilla and baking spices.
Big, rich, jammy, and juicy. The wine has very little tannin or acid, as far as I can perceive.
The flavors hit hard and fast, with cherry liquor being the first thing to come through. After that, overripe blueberries and blackberries come out readily, accompanied by a bit of chocolate and vanilla bean.
There is a good bit of pepper on the finish, which also happens to be where what tannin there is shows itself.
The finish is long and hearty, flavors rushing back to your taste buds with each inhale, even after you have polished off the bottle. And trust me, you will find it quite difficult not to finish this one!
What Does Predator Old Vine Zinfandel Pair With?
Smoked brisket, fire-roasted corn on the cob, and grilled asparagus is my personal favorite meal for this bottle. That said, you could also go for the dessert route. In that case, I strongly recommend a good old-fashioned blackberry cobbler.
The fruit will mesh very well with what you get in the wine, and the pie crust will help highlight the baking spice and vanilla notes here as well.
What Wines Are Similar to Predator Old Vine Zinfandel?
I would recommend starting with other good quality Zinfandel from the Lodi region. One of my personal favorite selections is Macchia.
It has a richer, jammier fruit profile but pretty much eliminates any spice, tannin, or acidity which is present in this bottle. It is a much more hedonistic example of Zinfandel.
Aside from that, I recommend trying good quality Petite Sirah.
Petite Sirah features ample dark fruit, solid structure, and a bit of a gamey quality which, admittedly, you do not find here. A favorite go-to for myself is Stokes Ghost Petite Sirah from Monterey County.
As I have found in the past, this wine over delivers.
It has everything you would want in a good Zinfandel, is well-priced, and is sure to knock the socks off of anyone looking for an exceptional, powerful red wine without breaking the bank.