Carol Shelton "Wild Thing" Old Vine Zinfandel Mendocino 2014

The Data

Country   USA

Appellation   Mendocino

Varietal   Zinfandel

Retail Price   $19

ABV   14.5%

Score   4 Stars/91 points

In the Glass


Bright, medium ruby color.


The aromatics are very intense offering scents of black cherry, boysenberry, and raspberry with supporting notes of plum, slate, and vanilla.


The palate confirms the nose delivering a red and black fruits-driven core with flavors of freshly crushed berries. The finish is long and lingering with supple tannins.

Intensity & Texture

Medium to full-bodied and nicely balanced with a velvety texture.

Cool Factor


Bright and fruit-driven wines meant for early drinking are always welcome as they offer hedonistic pleasure to a wide range of palates.

Value Grade


At just under $20 a bottle this wine fits the budget requirements of many of today's wine drinkers while still experiencing the magic touch of Carol Shelton.


The "Wild Thing" moniker has a double meaning. First it refers to the wild looking old-vine, head-pruned vines a sight fitting for a Halloween's eve. Second is the choice to allow these wines to ferment with wild yeast in the ambient air. This use of wild yeast can be a risky proposition, which is why a great majority of wines are made by inoculating the raw crushed grapes with a yeast strain of the winemaker's choosing. The Zinfandel, sourced from 60 year-old plus vines, is supported by 10% Carignane, 9% Petite Sirah, and 1% Alicante Bouschet. The wine is aged in oak for a period of 10 months — 87% American and 13% French.

How to Enjoy

I usually like Zin with grilled meats but this one is silky and nuanced that I want to pair it with braised beef or lamb matching subtle with subtle and never trampling on this wine.

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