Tag Archives: California Wines

“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!




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The Last Flirty Fling of Summer: 2011 Be. Flirty Pink Moscato

Labor Day has come and gone, the kids are back in school, but I’m not ready to give up the lazy hazy days of summer. How I long to trade in hours of 4th grade spelling lists and the never-ending activities and drama of a high school student for mornings of sleeping in, catching some rays on the lake, afternoon barbeques, and sultry evenings of mischief out with the girls while sharing laughs over a sweet summer sipper. Summer is light, easy, fun, and flirty…and so is this wine.

The 2011 Be. Flirty Pink Moscato can be described with just one word…FUN! Cotton Candy pink in the glass, an explosive blast of ripe strawberries,raspberries, and pineapple on the nose, but this isn’t your usual syrupy sweet moscato. It’s light, crisp, and sweet, but so well balanced it almost leaves a dry finish on the palate. Flavors of mandarin orange hit first, followed by sweet grapefruit, and what tastes like roses on the finish. Kind of reminds me of those floral infused waters you get at the spa…which will launch you into summer pampering all unto itself.

Where does this delightful, dreamy wine come from? California of course (which is appropriate since September is California Wine month). Beringer Vineyards of Napa Valley, one of the first vineyards in Napa and home to a host of award winning wines is also responsible for this playful imp of a wine. That quality winemaking is very apparent in this value wine.

You’ll find this wine will pair perfectly with spicy Thai food or spicy gossip with the girls. Hot wings during the football games on Sunday, or a hot night of dancing and dining. It will provide as many smiles with food as it will with good company. At around $8.00 per bottle, you can afford to smile every day and keep summer at your fingertips all year long.



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Posted by on September 6, 2012 in Uncategorized


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When Life Hands You Lemons, Make….Sangria!

It is only recently that I have begun sipping Rose wines again. There are some INCREDIBLY good, refreshing, food friendly, delectable libations in a glass out there. More often than not I have been opening up bottles of the ‘pink stuff’ that has made my tastebuds dance in joyous celebration.

Today, unfortunately, was not one of those days.

Instead, I opened a bottle out of California from a producer who shall remain nameless in this particular posting, took a sip, and it brought tears to my eyes…for all of the wrong reasons. It reminded me why I swore off roses so long ago. Sickeningly sweet, fruits bordering on rancid, no balance whatsoever. Not the joy I contemplated from a rose blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mouvedre.

It wasn’t a particularly expensive wine, so pouring it out wouldn’t have hurt much more than my wounded palate and pride, but the words of my dear departed Gram popped into my head, saying, ‘Sheral, when life hands you lemons, you make lemonade.’

Okay, I’m lying…she would have said, ‘screw this…open up the brandy’, which is actually what popped in my head and made me think of creating art from this garbage I found heaped into my glass.

I set the opened bottle of rose aside, and started piecing together the ingredients for a little Corked Cowgirl Rose Sangria recipe. After soaking peaches, oranges, raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries for an hour in a quarter cup of sugar and healthy doses of generic Triple Sec, Hiram Walker Peach Brandy, and the cheapest Peach Schnaaps I could find, I filled the pitcher with ice, dumped the fruit goodness into the bottom, poured in a can of Schweppes Ginger Ale, and dumped what I normally would have called ‘pink poison’ into the mix.

Suddenly, the clouds broke and a choir of angels began to sing ‘hallelujah’ from the heavens. Absolutely magnificent and a perfect summer sipper.

My friends, this is just more proof that the grape is absolutely the most magical fruit ever to be created. Even if you don’t care much for one incarnation of it, you’re sure to find a way to make it work for you with a little imagination. Don’t hesitate to experiment and enjoy…if you find yourself presented with a bottle you don’t care for, pour it over meat and use it as a flavorful marinade, doctor it up with whatever other inexpensive spirits and fruits you might have, but don’t necessarily scratch it off your list.

If at first you don’t succeed…sip, and sip again. Perhaps your ‘grape’ is more of a social butterfly and won’t truly shine until you pair it up with other ‘friends’ for a ‘party’…in my case, a Sangria party.



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Posted by on May 22, 2012 in Uncategorized


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