Wednesday, January 18, 2012
WBW 73: A Zin Can Still Spark
A visit to Ravenswood stands out. It was a weekday in late November, and we were the only ones in the tasting room for a stretch. The server was very passionate about wine, and enjoyed giving background on the grapes were were sampling, how where they were grown, their flavor profiles, etc. Though Ravenswood is more known for Zinfandel, I especially remember tasting and enjoying a Gewurztraminer that day, a nice bit of sweet and spice.
For a stretch after that visit, Ravenswood Zinfandel was my go to wine. I'd get the Vintners Blend for everyday drinking and sometimes splurge on one of their pricier zins. In my earlier days of blogging, I wrote about sampling I did of their zins at various price points. I did branch out and start enjoying other zins too; I liked its fruitiness, and it tends to go well with meats I make that often have a bit of spice in the preparation.
I've come a long way since those Ravenswood days, and have developed a pretty adventurous palate. I enjoy sampling a wide range of what the wine world has to offer; and lean toward the food friendly wines of France and Italy.
I still will grab a bottle of zin from time to time, but the "spark" theme gave me a chance to sample some zin again with a more critical perspective. At first I thought I'd re-sample Ravenswood, but they didn't have it at nearby shops. Instead, I decided to do a variation on the theme, and look for another California zin. Lori Schaefer, co-owner of Pairings Wine and Food, suggested the 2010 Hartford Russian River Valley Old Vine Zinfandel, and I was glad she did!
Bee Bim Bop I'd made. The pairing was a good reminder that Zin can be a nice match for a zesty beef preparation.
Granted, there is plenty of unremarkable zin out there that prompts one to go for other varietals. But this one demonstrates that a well-done zin can be a great wine. Low yields from some of the oldest zinfandel vines in California gave the Hartford zin plenty of character. It also conjured up good memories of our travel in wine country; as we enjoyed staying by the Russian River a few times. This WBW assignment featured a combination of factors sure to spark a passion for wine--a flavorful yet nuanced wine that enhanced the enjoyment of the meal and evoked powerful memories of the place it came from.
Thanks to the Corkdork for hosting Wine Blogging Wednesday--WBW #73!