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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Getting Reacquainted with Zinfandel

White Zinfandel has never been for me.  And unfortunately over the years, red Zinfandel has never ranked among my favorites, either.  But, over the past year, I’ve been on a sort of mission to enjoy more wines from American producers, and with Zinfandel being one of the most important grapes in the United States, I’ve been making an effort to reacquaint myself with Zinfandel.

2008 Michael David 7 Deadly Zins Zinfandel
The first Zinfandel I tried more recently was the 2008 Michael David 7 Deadly Zins, a blend of Zinfandel from seven vineyards in Lodi.  The wine is extremely dark in color, and that seemed to be an indication of things to come.  Big and bold, with notes of arid earth, dark fruit, and some intense pepper and spice, I finally began appreciating the wine after allowing it to breathe for nearly three hours.  And after enjoying the wine with its fullness, intensity, and length, and pairing it with the Godiva dark chocolate and raspberry bar, the alcohol (15%) finally did me in.

2005 Rosenblum Appellation Series Zinfandel
The next Zinfandel I tried, just a few months later, was the 2005 Rosenblum Appellation Series from the North Coast.  Also deep in color, this wine displayed spiciness and dark berry, somewhat more textured on the palate than the 7 Deadly Zins, and certainly more acidic, and about the same lengthy finish.  The wine was let to breathe for at least two hours, and paired with barbecue food.  Since this wine was shared among several of us, the 14.8% alcohol didn’t wreak too much havoc.  At that point, I preferred the 7 Deadly Zins.

2003 Madrone Ridge Zinfandel
Very recently, I decided to spend a bit more and went for the 2003 Madrone Ridge Zinfandel from Sonoma, which I paired with smoked mozzarella and a sauce of creamy marinara, bison meat, sauteed portobello mushrooms, and spinach, over pappardelle pasta, and finally with a chocolate and hazelnut bark.  I allowed the wine to breathe for about two hours and I sipped it over the course of perhaps three hours.  This bold Zinfandel is a very dark red, almost black, with a reddish maroon rim, and the aromas burst out of the glass, with deep characteristics of chocolate, dark berry, earth, and cinnamon spice, and the flavors reflected the aroma well, followed by a very long finish.  I found the wine to taste and feel a bit hot and slightly sharp and fairly acidic, even after allowing it to breathe, although some of the sharpness subsided.  And by then, feeling the alcohol at 14.5% and sipping the wine alone, I still determined that my favorite was the 7 Deadly Zins, interestingly the one I paid the least for.


  1. 7 Deadly Zins is a fabulous wine! Love your dark chocolate-raspberry pairing idea, too. Thanks for reminding me about that's been a while, and it's time to pick up another bottle of it.

  2. Definitely pick up another bottle of it! (Such a steal at $18 or so, love it)