I often ask wine shop owners or those working the floor for a really big Syrah or Zinfandel. One of the best I’ve had in recent months was Klinker Brick, which I wrote about here a couple of months ago.

I visited Zionsville’s Grapevine Cottage, home of “The Wine Guy,” a couple of weeks ago and asked the same question. And, I wanted one under $20!

They pointed me to Frei Brothers “Reserve” 2007 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel. Wow! Now this is a BIG Zin! A really big Zin for the price point.

I poured the wine into my glass and immediately noticed how dark purple the wine looked and it had a huge nose. It’s a robust wine that packs a punch. This is not a wine for new wine drinkers.

I thought there were strong dark fruit flavors in the wine, some spice, a wonderful balance with pretty distinct tannins on the finish.

Frei Brothers is an interesting story. You can click here to go to their website and read the history. Like so many California wineries, they are owned by one of the big boys – Gallo in this case. But the vineyards and the property has produced wine since the late 1800s.

Seldom does a wine over-power food, but this was a big and very tasty complement to some pasta with a bit of zing to it tonight. Just a little mild spice Italian sausage helped the dish hold it’s own against this big boy!

I paid $16.99 in Zionsville, but did find it even lower online. Simply, for under $20its a dynamite great big mouthful of wine. I thought the Klinker Brick was better structured, while also giving a big bang of flavor. This wine would no doubt sit nicely for a year or two before drinking. But under $20 wines are meant to be enjoyed.

Oh, and for those who care – Robert Parker gave this juice 90 points!

Frei wine will knock yr socks off if you’re not used to really big Zinfandel! If you are, you’ll love it for the price.

Send comment or questions to: hewitthoward@gmail.com