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“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”: Global Zinfandel Day with 2009 OZV

Today is November 19th…unless it’s a birthday, an anniversary, or you’ve suddenly discovered you are the long lost love child of Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey and you’re inheriting EVERYTHING, you might not find the date terribly memorable nor exciting. For me, it was a day of typical gray hair causing activities focused around work, errands, pets, kids, and preparing for the entire family to convene on my household for the holiday. Stressful, exhausting…not normally a cause for celebration…

…until I realized it was Global Zinfandel Day.

YES! Zinfandel is perhaps my FAVORITE varietal of all time (shhh…don’t tell the other children…I hate to play favorites with the ‘kids’). I’m not talking about the pretty little pink version of WHITE Zinfandel (although if you like it, knock yourselves out…I’m not going to discriminate…after all, it’s still Zin), but I’m talking about the luscious, red, jammy, ‘lover in a glass’ Zinfandels.

How to describe Zinfandel? Hmmm…let’s compare varietals to a rock band. Cabernet Sauvignon is your big and bold lead singer. Merlot would be the sensual lead guitar player. Malbec would be the rock solid base player. Pinot Noir, the moody, sensitive keyboardist. And the drummer? The sexy, wild, showman that is personality plus, complicated in its rhythms, but able to hold everything together? THAT my friends is ZINFANDEL.

There are as many different styles of Zinfandel as there are drummers, but all have the wonderful red berry fruit that makes it perfect for barbecues during the summer, the perfect wine to sip by the fire pit in the fall, and a surprisingly good wine to serve with cranberries and smoked turkey for your Thanksgiving dinner.

The wine I’m drinking this evening is the perfect example of why you should celebrate Zinfandel. I’ve selected the 2009 OZV Zinfandel out of Lodi, California. Lodi has some of the oldest Zinfandel vines in all of California, and this wine boasts fruit from 50-100 year vines, making the flavors that much more concentrated and intense. Raspberry, red licorice, and milk chocolate on the nose (yeah…it’s like rich candy heaven). Raspberry, blackberry, milk chocolate, and a slight hint of pepper on the finish as you sip…and sip…and sip. The tannins are light, the mouth feel doesn’t feel like a wool sweater on your tongue…it is VERY approachable. If you are looking for a red wine to help you make the transition from whites, this would be a perfect wine to try.

This wine would be excellent with smoked meats of all type, tomato based pastas (heck yeah, cousin LeAnn…this would work with your ‘Christmas Spaghetti’), even grilled tuna!

Zinfandel is the perfect choice for every occasion, and OZV from Oak Ridge Wineries is the perfect choice, especially when you can find it on average around $13.

So grab yourself a bottle…or a case…and celebrate November 19th like a rock star!

Cheers!

~CC

 

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Serving Up National Cabernet Sauvignon Day With 2010 MollyDooker Maitre d’

Today has been a day of juggling…schedules, activities, and events. Wine selection for the day was no less of a balancing act. I woke up today to see on the calendar that it was National Cabernet Sauvignon Day. A day to celebrate in my book as I LOVE the ‘bad boy’ of the wine world. However, I also woke to a weather report discussing 95+ degree weather and the need to prepare for a flurry of grilling and bar-b-q over the upcoming Labor Day Weekend. The art of finding a Cabernet Sauvignon that was true to its name, but would not be too heavy during the ‘Dog Days of Summer’ and would pair nicely with the savory goodness of smoked meats and picnic treats. I also wanted to make sure it was a value…most great Cabernet Sauvignons require you to sell your first born to enjoy them.

Fortunately, I found a solution from an unlikely source….Australia.

Mollydooker Vineyards is one of my favorites, producing some of the most incredible Shiraz offerings and red blends you can imagine. Many come with a sizable price tag (albeit worth the price), but they offer a Cabernet Sauvignon that I think anyone and everyone could enjoy.

The 2010 Maitre d’ Cabernet Sauvignon isn’t your typical muscly, bold Napa-styled Cab. It’s more like a Prom King…charming, personable, easily approachable, and one that most people will enjoy. Deep purple in the glass, the nose is full of big red berries, cassis, cherry, spice, and maybe even slightly like smoked meat. It’s the taste that’s going to blow you away…quite literally. It is like an explosion of fruit the second it hits your tastebuds, but then it takes you on a ride with anise, black pepper, toasty oak vanilla, and a finish…a wonderfully long finish with dark chocolate and espresso….two of my favorite things. There are enough acids in it to cut through the cheeseburgers I paired it up with, and nice, delicate tannins to give it a great mouth feel without being too heavy for the late summer heat.

Those that love a big Cab will be able to enjoy having an old friend during a time you normally wouldn’t drink a big red. Those that like something lighter will love the approachable fruit. Bar-b-q lovers will rejoice because this one will pair with ribs, burnt ends, and pulled pork just as easily as a Zinfandel, and value hunters will celebrate knowing this one won’t cause you to take out a second mortgage. This one is priced just under $30. Compared to paying $80 or more for a lot of other killer Cabs, this is a steal and easy to enjoy on a regular basis.

If only National Cabernet Day could come on a regular basis as well. Perhaps this wine could be a reason to celebrate it more often.

Cheers!

~CC

 
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Posted by on August 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Roses, The Perfect Summertime ‘Flower’: 2011 Crios de Susana Balbo Rose of Malbec

After a long, productive, and exciting week of wine education, I arrived home just in time for the weekend with so many thoughts and ideas pouring through my mind that I knew there was only one thing I could do…

…and that was to set it all aside and relax with a little BBQ.

I arrived at our friends’ home armed with a few bottles of 2011 Crios de Susana Balbo Rose Malbec out of the Mendoza region of Argentina. As I opened the bottle and asked who would like a glass, I was met with resistance on all sides.

The men assured me they would never in a million years drink, let alone enjoy, a ‘pink chick drink.’ The women of the group objected with a resounding, ‘we don’t like those heavy, dry, red wines.’ I simply smiled, poured a mouthful into a glass for each of them and said, ‘You don’t like this type of wine? Prove it.’

Both men and women peered into their glasses, suspiciously eyeing the deep rose color/faded red color, and caught the scent of fresh strawberries and mild spice on the nose. Then came the moment of truth, the sip of strawberries and bright cherries mixing with that same subtle spice. Not too dry, not too sweet…balanced and refreshing. Not some thin, fruity little beverage. Not a heavyweight that bullies your tongue into submission. Just a perfectly wonderful companion in a glass.

The women smiled and said, ‘hey this is pretty good.’ The men, shocked, and trying to maintain their manly composure quietly commented that it wasn’t what they expected…while pouring more into their glasses.

Once I knew I had their interest, it was time to hook them.

I encouraged them to take a bite of the smoked brisket followed by a sip of the Rose. The men’s faces lit up with a smile; the women took a second helping. Then I encouraged them to take a sip along with a bite of the ham for a completely different experience. More smiles appeared, along with plates full of bbq and glasses being filled with the Crios.

By the end of the evening, three bottles had been emptied, all parties were asking for more and leaving the other bottles of wine untouched, and all wanted to know how difficult it would be to find it.

That’s what makes this wine even more special. The 2011 Crios de Susana Balbo Rose of Malbec is available pretty much everywhere, and you can find it between $10-13.

This is such a perfect number for the summer…it lends itself so well to summer fare of bbq, grilled chicken, salmon…as well as being an easy chilled sipper on the boat or on the back deck with friends.

With the hectic pace we find ourselves in so often, sometimes it’s good to literally ‘take time to smell the Roses.’ And in this particular case, to sip them often as well.

Cheers!

~CC

 

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