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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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A U.S. Gold Medal Varietal: Zinfandel

With Olympic fever in full swing, I decided I should dedicate my reviews to medal winning countries. Until I can get my hands on a Chinese wine (and I do believe I have found my contact for that one!), I’m going to have to sort through the other medal winning countries and present you with their winning wines and varietals.

Today’s ‘presentation’ goes to the United States and what is considered to be the country’s truly “American” varietal (even though it looks like it has it’s roots in Croatia). Allow me to introduce you to the United States ‘gold standard’ varietal-Zinfandel.

Zinfandel wears more hats than any other grape I’ve come across. It’s many styles include zingy, ripe berry-fruit sensations in red; bold, tannic, spicy devils, vin nouveau (young, light bodied reds), and tart roses. I have seen soft, simple blushes (better known as ‘white’ zinfandel), Zins turned into sparkling wines, plus those that are turned into dessert and fortified wines (I have a bottle of Montefino Terra d’Oro Zinfandel Port chilling as we speak~YUM!). No matter how picky the person may be, there’s sure to be a Zinfandel style to please.

Although they say ‘Cabernet is King’ in California, you could easily say that Zinfandel is the emperor, as there are nearly as many acres of Zinfandel planted as Cabernet Sauvignon. Or maybe it should get a Congeniality award, since it is as comfortable at a backyard bbq as it is in a fine dining establishment with a steak. This varietal loves everything!

Some of the most notable areas growing Zinfandel styles (besides just the basic California state appellation are Amador County, Paso Robles, Sonoma, Dry Creek Valley, and the Russian River Valley.

Which Zinfandel am I sipping on this evening? I pulled a DeLoach 2009 Heritage Reserve Zinfandel from California. It’s an easy sip…trust me! Very fruit forward with rich, ripe berries and cherries on the tongue, a touch of cola flavor, a hint of vanilla and spice, pretty garnet color in the glass. Total non-offender, this one! Good balance makes it perfect with food or just for sipping alone. I actually paired it up with my Baked Ziti since I didn’t want to decant an Italian Barolo…I wanted to eat, dammit! Cut through the cheese, italian sausage, and worked well with the marinara.

What makes this one even better is the price: right around $10. This is an awesome everyday wine that you can break out for company and know you’re going to get smiles from the crowd…call it the ‘Gabby Douglas’ of Zinfandel…an all-around winner!

Other favorite Zins of mine you might enjoy are Seghesio (a variety of choices from $20-45), 7 Deadly Zins ($17), Renwood Vineyards of the Sierra Foothills ($20-38), Rancho Zabaco of Sonoma ($13-23, OR you could get their ‘little brother’ Dancing Bull Zinfandel with a California designation for under $10), Cline ‘Ancient Vines’ ( $15, although you can find any of their Zins between $11 and $22), and Sledgehammer out of the North Coast of California ($15…see my YouTube review of the 2008 vintage at http://youtu.be/dX–C50QK2w…DON’T FORGET TO BECOME A MEMBER OF THE PAGE SO YOU DON’T MISS ANY REVIEWS!…okay, shameless plug is now over).

Honestly, there are so many wonderful Zinfandel choices from so many areas of California, that you could spend every day of the Olympics sipping a new choice and you wouldn’t run out.

Pick up a bottle tonight and find out what makes this varietal such a winner…I know I’ll be doing more of the same.

Cheers!

~CC

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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The Sweet Taste of Summer: Zinfandel Port Under $20

Success is mine! My children are officially back in school, the house is my own again, I can hear my own thoughts without the constant barrage of Pokemon and teen angst. I have accomplished more in 3 days of studying for my Certified Specialist of Wine exam than I have in the 3 months of summer vacation.

Tonight, I celebrate my victory…and oh, how sweet this victory is.

My eyes look longingly at the bottle of Montevino Terra d’Oro Zinfandel in my hands. Hello my dear friend…oh I have missed you so! The beautiful garnet color, the smell of raisins and dark chocolate (LOVE that smell of dark chocolate), and toffee…yes, toffee (another dear friend of mine), as well as a hint of orange peel.

But mostly I’ve missed the fact that you dance on my tongue and make me sigh. Big jammy, blackberry and cassis flavors, the chocolate…ahhhh…the chocolate and even coffee flavors, the sharp sweetness with a touch of orange on the finish.

My taste buds are in sensory overload.

Nothing can take away this pleasure. No, not even my 8 year old daughter who is CERTAIN she will be swept into a portal for another dimension IF she goes to bed on time. Not the 16 year old daughter, the sensitive artist, who lives a life of torture because she is so deep and no one could possibly understand her. No, nothing could make this simple delight any sweeter (literally or figuratively)…except maybe the price. This little slice of heaven is under $20, which means it qualifies for designation in my Summer Cheap Wine Tour. Yes, that DEFINITELY makes it that much sweeter!

And this piece of dark chocolate I’m nibbling with it…did I mention this goes sooooooo unbelievably well with chocolate? Oh, it goes well with a strong cheese like the Dutch Bleu I was nibbling on earlier.

Yeah, I’m pretty sure this is better than date night ever could be…cheaper too, and no chance for disappointment.

Montevina Terra d’Oro Port is a fortified Port style wine made from the Zinfandel Grape in Amador County, California. High alcohol content (19%) but an amazing balance of sweetness and acidity.

Make your life a little sweeter. Pour yourself some today! Cheers!~CC

 
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Posted by on August 23, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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