Smoked beef brisket is a tough pairing- the flavors are so rich and smoky that the wine needs to have spice, body and high levels of alcohol. A Zinfandel seems as close as possible to the perfect match. This one is semi opaque with thick legs showing off its 14.8% ABV. The nose is very aromatic- rich red fruits, spice, black and white pepper alongside toasty oak. The palate is very full bodied with great balance between the rich fruit, medium tannins and medium acidity. Ripe raspberry, redcurrant jam, white pepper and blackberry flavors are all present. It’s not a blockbuster in style but its rich fruit is very enticing. I dig this wine and for $30 it’s a good drop that gets 91 points from me and 5 stars. Drink till 2027. Salut….
I could not pass this wine up, aged 3 months in Bourbon Whiskey Barrels… That had my name all over it, but I’m not excited about the 16% ABV, seems over the top. Let’s try some.
It is bright purple and opaque AF. I can smell it a mile away, the waft is pretty serious. Once I get stuck in- the nose is very rich with blackberry, blackcurrants, black plum, alcohol, eucalyptus, caramel, vanilla, minty greeness and some black espresso. Did I mention alcohol? I have to blow that stuff out of the glass or else I will get drunk sniffing.
The palate has a sweetness to it right off the bat, but when I did my soon-to-be trademarked dryness test, I confirmed it is a dry wine. That must be from Bourbon, which is known to have caramel sweetness rather than residual sugar. I get gobs of rich black fruits that I picked out on the nose, plus really integrated, lithe tannins and medium acidity. This fruit bomb is very smooth and enticing, buyer beware of the formidable punch which is deftly hidden. If you like them big, bold and jammy then this one is right up your alley. I really am enjoying this 91 point blend of 38% Merlot, 37% Syrah, 11% Zinfandel, 7% Petite Sirah, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Other Red Blenders. It’s not a daily drinker for sure, especially at $30 but it gets 5 stars from me and worth a try if you see it. Drink till 2026 with some Filets. Salut….
My assignment this week for tasting wines included this Old Vine Zin. The format and lexicon of descriptors is very limiting so I must add that this was not my favorite wine. It had a very astringent mid palate and the overpowering whiff on the nose was annoying. It can be had for $25 and gets 87 points from me. I can’t figure out where I got it from though. 3 stars, trending to 2. Drink now till 2025 with some burgers or ribs. Salut….
Girard Old Vine Zinfandel 2017, Napa Valley, CA 15.0% ABV
- Appearance- Medium ruby with thin legs.
- Nose- medium (+) intensity with aromas of blackcurrant, black plum, blackberry, licorice, white pepper. Youthful.
- Palate- Dry, high acidity, medium (+) tannin, high alcohol, medium (+) body, medium (+) intensity with flavors of black plum, blackberry, jamminess, white pepper with a medium (+) finish.
- Conclusion- good quality wine that can drink now, but has potential for aging or further aging.
Why do I keep drinking such alcoholic wines? I had to blow into the glass for a few minutes to get the alcohol to dissipate. Not as jammy and peppery as most Old Vine Zins I have tasted but still yummy.
This winery makes some world class wines and this Zinfandel, with a blend of 9% Alicante Bouschet and 7% Petite Sirah, is simply delicious. Our virtual tasting group last had a Zin in August 2020- it was time. This wine is dark purple and opaque. The nose caught us all off-guard, it was an explosion of racy, jammy blackberry, white and black pepper, mulling spice (Nutmeg?), rose and a touch of funk. The palate was delicious but not as potent. The blackberry jam, pepper and spice were all present alongside ripe, smooth tannins and juicy acidity. The finish was a decent length. I scored this wine 91 points and initially thought it was my WOTN. For $33 this highly rated (95 points by the pros) is a steal worthy of 5 stars. The quality is very high and it will cellar nicely till 2028. It sports a hefty 14.9% ABV, which is hidden nicely, giving the wine a nice body and good mouthfeel. Pair it with hearty stews, grilled lamb chops or Beef Wellington. Salut….
This Paso Zin is a lovely shade of purple but only 50% opaque. The legs give a hint of what to expect, 14.8% ABV is pretty hefty kick, beware. On the nose I get wafts of the alcohol but it subsides and the flavors of dark plum, white pepper, cloves and creamy blackberry ganache. On the palate it is rich and powerful. The fruit profile is more toward the blackberry side but I do get the peppery notes I would expect from this varietal. There is a slightly astringent hit from black tea notes as well as some decent acidity. The tannins kick in very gently on the back end. A lovely, full mouthfeel for this wine that carries it to a medium length finish. The dark fruit flavors ever present. I sense a touch of oak overall, but it is not over done. The heat is the only concern as this wine drinks very easily, one can get caught up in the moment if one is not careful!. A decent drop that will go well with a lean cut of beef on the grill. 89 points from me and at $14, it’s a 4 star effort worthy of a try! Salut….
I tasted this wine many moons ago but failed to write notes. When I saw it in the shop it reminded me of friends in California who introduced me to this winery. The wine itself is a pretty shade of purple but is nearly see-through. On the nose I get red berries, a touch of oak and pomegranate. The palate is spicy with a pepper note right off the bat. Dark red raspberries, black berries and sweet currants add to the mix. It is really interesting. The mid palate has a touch of dryness from lithe tannins, the acidity yet to kick in. On the finish this wine shouts out the varietal with lots of white and black pepper, raspberry and blackberry flavors with smoky oak intertwined. It’s not overly complex but really packs those singular fruit flavors. It will drink well till 2025 and handle char-grilled chicken, Filet or even pizza. It gets 88 points from me and for $18- 3 stars. Salut….
Very dark purple and nearly opaque in the glass. The nose on this Zin gives me sweet plums, white pepper, licorice and dried cherry. On the palate is has a warm intro bursting with purple fruit ganache, sweet black cherry and a modicum of very fine grained tannins. The mid palate continues the black/purple fruit theme but it’s here where I sense the 15.1 % alcohol. It’s not bothersome, just be careful! The tannins are really well integrated so that I get just a touch of dryness on the backend to go along with some steeped plum and charcoal notes. I really am enjoying this wine, it will pair nicely with the braised Lamb shanks in the oven. It gets 89 points from me and for $11 it’s one to stock up on for casual meals and Friday Happy hours. 5 stars, drink till 2024. Salut….
Very dark purple and fully opaque. Loads of pepper, purple plums and blackcurrant preserves on the nose. On the palate I get a whack of iodine, ink and black fruit. There’s a very definitive tannic streak but without the gum coating astringency. Cranberry and tart cherry are noted on the mid palate. The tannins are a touch green on the back end and they really start to grip on the long finish. This wine scored big with the pros, I can see why. In my books the greeness detracts- 90 points and 4 stars for this $23 Zin. Drink till 2024. Salut….
This blend of Zinfandel, Syrah, Petite Sirah and Alicante Bouschet is quite brooding in the glass. Dark purple and completely opaque. On the nose it has a sweet blackberry note alongside earthy herbs and violets. The palate is fruit forward with black cherry, blackberries and steeped plum notes. A dusty earthiness is ever present and some lithe tannins present at the mid palate. I sense the alcohol and just read the content- 14.9%…. careful out there. Black tea and iodine hit me on the back end as the tannic grip envelopes the mouth and melds with the fruit. It’s a tasty one for sure and I like the blend. It’s rich, rewarding and the structure is decent for medium term cellaring. Moxie is cooking up some stuffed Green Peppers, I think it will work nicely. Drink till 2023. 89 points and 3 stars for this $45 wine. Salut….
I have had a few wines from Lodi recently and am becoming a big fan. Zinfandel is one of their signature grapes so this wine is exciting to me.
As I look at it in the glass it’s a nice shade of opaque purple. I can also smell the waft of fruit from a foot away, always a good sign. The nose is very fruit forward with tons of black berry, dark plums and a cinnamon twist. The palate is misleading- when you smell that much fruit you automatically expect a wine with a touch of sweetness, which I do not look forward to in reds. This wine is not at all sweet- it is rich, concentrated with black fruit and very tasty. There is a core of minerality on the mid palate that mixes it up with some oaky char and anise. I usually expect pepper with this varietal but I’m not getting any. The wine has a nice, balanced mouthfeel with very lithe tannins and supporting acidity. The finish is a fruit salad of black cherry, blackcurrants and blackberry jam. It is mouth filling and satisfying if you like a ton of flavor. I’m enjoying it with some Spaghetti Arrabiata with garlic bread. Kudos to the winemaker for this 90 point effort that I paid $13 for. It gets 5 stars and will drink nicely till 2027. Salut….