Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Zinfandels The Real American Red Wine!

And I’m not Talking About That Pink Stuff!!

I love Zinfandel Wines, in fact Zins may be my favorite wine. It’s a tossup between them and cabernets. And I’m not talking about White Zinfandel like the ones that my brother-in-law, Joe "Pinky” Koch drinks. 

White Zins called pinky by Joe are Blush wines, which unfortunately give Zinfandel a bad name!

The Zins I love are powerful red wines, they’re big and bold. The ones with strong tannins that will slap a Cabernet on the butt and tell it to move over.   While Cabs may be the King of wines, a big bold Zin is the first knight of wines…the one that’s not so sure he shouldn’t be king! 

Zinfandel is a uniquely American grape that is genetically the same as an obscure Croatian grape and the Primitivo of Southern Italy.   

But California is where Zinfandels are grown and where they shine and for that reason it’s planted in over 10% of California vineyards.  I particularly love the ones from the Dry Creek Valley of Sonoma where it is the most planted grape in that area.

Dry Creek Valley is also loaded with old Vine Zins that don’t produce as much 
fruit but what they do make are big intense jammy wines that burst with dark fruit flavors of black cherry, plum and blueberry. And they have hints of pepper, clove, chocolate, coffee and tobacco with aromas of pepper, cinnamon and flowers.  So there’s a lot going on with these wines!

The Zinfandels of Dry Creek may be considered the best Zins but each area in California has its own unique styles and taste.

Even in Sonoma each region in the county offers an array of flavors that set their zins apart from the other areas. But in general Zinfandels are earthy wines that include both Black and red fruits and are known for their spice and pepper.

While I like big bold powerful Zins, fruit bombs according to my friend John, they’re basically three distinct styles of Zins produced.

One is young, fresh and fruity, well balanced with very light tannins. These Zins are easy to drink and a great every day wine. They’re the ones that you most often find and go well with food.

The next up the food chain are medium-bodied Zins that are fuller with a longer finish. These medium-bodied wines have more fruit flavors than the lighter ones with more noticeable tannins, spice and pepper flavors. These Zins go well with meats, especially BBQ.

And finally my favorite, the full-bodied Zinfandels, they’re big and powerful with intense concentrated fruit with flavors of black cherry, plum, blackberries, blueberries and at times even raspberries. These wonderful wines have underlying spices and peppers as well as other earth flavors and strong tannins.

A full-bodied Zin can easily be aged. But I for one like them just the way they are, rich deeply hued wines that can stand up to any Cabernet!


The Neighborhood Wine Porch Party!!


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