Hello Wine Lovers, Mike Berger here from Ralph’s Grocery. Last night we tasted Zinfandels from California. I picked Ravenswood Teldeschi Dry Creek Valley, Ridge 40 Year Anniversary, Ravenswood Belloni Vinyard and Ravenswood Lodi Old Vine.
The Lodi region is an especially warm climate and perfect for growing bold high alcohol deep fruit forward style wines. Zinfandel Grapes are a deep dark purple fruit when growing on the vine. At one time it was one of the most widely planted varietals in California. During the late 60’s and 70’s Zinfandel was synonymous with California wine culture. Due to the warm weather most of the time in California; Zinfandel began growing in the north and south like a wild vine. Many Zins were field blends with a little carignane growing along side the Zin vines. Field hands would harvest all the grapes together and blend them as the wines were fermented, producing high alcohol and big hearty wine.
Zinfandel has become a wonderful addition to any backyard barbeque. The smoky and sweet fruity wines pair well with hearty fare from the barbeque. Pork and beef ribs work well with Zins as does chicken and grilled vegetables. The slightly tannic structure of Zin has just enough dryness to strip your palate of fat and protein and prepare your taste buds for the next delectable bite of food. This is why wine is a great addition to any meal it becomes an integral part of the component of taste and smell experience. One Zinfandel I tried with a friend one night was so large of a wine it actually had a warning on the back of the bottle. At 18 % alcohol it had taken on an almost port like character, but held out for some amazing drinking just as a wine on its own merit. Yes we became quite inebriated even with a sumptuous dinner prepared by my friend and myself. We were enjoying a wonderful aged rack of lamb with rosemary and fine herbs slow cooked to medium rare over an oak wood fire pit. The layers of flavor on this tender rack of lamb tasted so amazing; with the wine it became a perfect gastronomic experience. Lamb is the usual suspect when thinking of Zinfandel wines but any heavy red meat will pair well with the wine. One may consider cooking technique when serving Zinfandel to accentuate the bold character waiting to be experienced in this wine.
On the flip side of hearty meats and vegetables to pair along with the wine it can be noted that many Chocolate and fruit based desserts are an excellent compliment to bold fruity Zinfandels. I recommend a flourless chocolate cake with a small glass of Zin to finish a big dinner. If the cake has a puree of raspberry painted on the plate as a finish all the better! Even my own mom at Mother’s Day dinner enjoyed a classic Zin from Ravenswood with her veal ravioli. I was shocked that she ordered it but I was glad she enjoyed it. Please come by the store and pick up one of our nice Zins. I promise it will set your palate ablaze and get you ready for this summer’s barbeque!
Mike The Wine Guy