- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Cartlidge & Browne, Zinfandel, California, 2001, $11

Tony Cartlidge and Glenn Browne first made wines together in 1981, their goal from the start to provide high quality for not all that much money.

Today, operating out of a facility in the Napa Valley, they source grapes from throughout California and fashion fine bargain-priced wines under their own label.

Cartlidge & Browne wines are made in a classic Californian fruit-forward style. The reds tend to be especially good, and this 2001 zinfandel tastes genuinely exciting. Spicy and briery, it is a super value.

Too many zinfandels these days taste hot and heavy, with excessive alcohol. That’s because it takes a keen eye in the vineyard and a skilled hand in the winery to craft a zin that offers finesse as well as power. You might not expect one priced low to succeed, but this one does.

Zinfandel made in this sort of claret style proves very versatile at the supper table.

It complements all sorts of spicy cuisines, including Mexican dishes with chilies and Indian foods with curry, as well as all-American barbecue. That adaptability makes Cartlidge & Browne zin well worth buying by the case.

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