What comes to mind when you think Summer of Love? How about long-haired hippies wearing tie dye and drinking wine?
In 1967, 75,000-100,000 young people converged onto San Francisco in what became known as the “Summer of Love.”
That makes this summer the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love. And to mark this date, San Francisco and other communities including Ventura are holding events and exhibitions in commemoration. Ventura’s Museum has a special exhibition up through August and events include the Grateful Tribute Band Cubensis.. Read more about how the Summer of Love began in this Vanity Fair article.
And what can you do? Well, how about hosting a tie dye party? That’s what Sue and John did! With plenty of zinfandel and burgers too!
Because anyone can throw a backyard BBQ but why not mix it up by offering a craft or organizing a tasting? And make it easy by offering a burger bar with sides prepared in advance and shared potluck style!
We invited a bunch of people and we gathered a case or so of different bottles of Zinfandel– and one Tie Dye red blend. One person supplied the tasting note sheets, and we opened the bottles around a big table with some appetizers in the center. While the corn and turkey and beef burgers were cooking, we tasted the wines and wrote down our notes and votes. We encouraged folks to taste the white zin first but other than that, people tasted the wine that was closest to them and in general worked their way clockwise around the table. Then we converged on the burger bar, loaded up our plates, and tasted the wines with food. And at one point or another, people did some tie-dying!
And this is what we came up with!
Note: We had everyone vote for their favorite #1, #2 and #3 by placing a raffle ticket in a jar with the number on it. We assigned first place votes 3 points, second place votes 2 points, and third place votes 1 point. If a wine received a #1 vote, I wrote the score down. Read on to see which one won!
#1 – Herzog – White Zinfandel – California – 2015 – 11% alcohol – sample
Comments: Not bad for a white zin – Surprising – Pretty tasty – sweet – love it, easy and not overly sweet – Better than expected and not too sweet – pairs well with blueberry goat cheese – Light, refreshing, sweet, but not too sweet, great on a hot summer night.
Votes: 1 – #1 vote, 2 #2 votes, 1 #3 votes = 8
#2 – 7 Deadly Zins – Lodi – 2014 – 15% alcohol – sample
Comments: Nice, easy to drink – bright fruit – smooth ending – sweet fruity – not much on the tongue, dry smooth finish with some tannins and though popular, I’m not a fan – Dryness less fruitiness – not as impressed with this wine as others.
Votes: 1 #1 vote, 2 #2 votes, 1 #3 votes = 8
#3 – Opolo – Paso Robles – 2015 – 16.5% alcohol – $13 at Costco
Comments: Very fruity – cranberry tartness with rich berry fruit – too tart – heavy – nice on the nose, full-bodied a go to favorite – full and complex – nose isn’t bad – too jammy – tastes like dessert wine on nose and palate
Votes: 1 #1 vote, 1 #2 vote = 8
#4 – Tie Dye – North Coast – 2014 – 14.5% alcohol – sample
Comments: you can smell the alcohol and oak – mellow light easy drinking – groovy – pairs with manchego cheese – mellow and light and easy – can tell is a cool climate zin – nice wine with a very cool label, quick finish, no lingering on the tongue – heavy tannins – more balanced – found interesting, liked easy appeal – Earthiness, vegetal like sage and mint, lavender – fun and funky and tastes good, tangy finish like a sweet tart
Votes: 1 #1 vote, 2 #2 votes, 3 ##2 votes = 9
NOTE: This is a red wine blend that had NO zinfandel in it! I have no idea why I was so sure it was ZIN! Here’s what’s in it: 62% Syrah, 12% Petite Sirah, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 6% Grenache. I thought it had some interesting earthy musky characteristics — and that it was quite unusual for a zin but attributed that to it being blended with other grapes…
#5 – Zin – Phomanic – Lodi – Old Vine Zinfandel – 2015 – 14.5% – 2015 – sample
Comments: Tastes young – Big Blueberry fruit – tasty – peppery – distinctly Lodi – cherry jolly rancher – early harvest – not much on the nose – lighter color – bright not that jammy – a little tart – tasted goo for a minute and then got worse – too bad, cool label, would not purchase
#6 – Earthquake – Lodi – 2014 – 15% alcohol – sample
This wine was gone by the end of the tasting, which is saying something when there’s so much wine on the table! and John was not happy that there wasn’t any left! Here’s our notes about the Earthquake Petite Sirah which John also loved.
Comments: cool poem on the back – cool bottle – alcohol – beautiful satisfying wine – Lodi thing that has everything going on in a zinfandel – tasty great color – rich decadent – nice fruit with structure – good – easy and grapey – pepper on the back-end – coats glass heavy hitter – nice wine! nice on the nose and smooth throughout, fruit and pepper combination that works quite nicely, zesty in the beginning smooth after – bold – yum
Votes: 3 #1, 1 #2 = 11
#7 – Cantara – Old Vine zinfandel – Lodi – 2012 – 14.2% alcohol – sample
Comments – more elegant – unexpected for Lodi fruit – color not pretty – not placed carefully in the lineup, minerals, funk tannins and tasty fruit – subtle – strawberry – good with salmon – not a dumping wine – light musky brown color, barnyard smell, tastes strong – vegetal notes, roots and stems – color is stocky – light balanced – nice on the nose, lightly bodied, oak notes with a tangy finish, pairs well with the blue cheese – tart and to long on the tongue – Pinot noir of zin – ethereal – heady – complex, contemplative
#8 – Cantara – Zinfandel – 2012 – Lodi – 14.2% alcohol – sample
Comments – subtle wine – I taste the minerals in this wine – light in color – translucent – earth and fruit, bright tart with lovely tannins – favorite of the three cantara wines – smooth and sweet – more even my favorite of the 3 Cantara wines, nicely balanced on the nose and finish – too hot – peppery, need a steak
#9 – Cantara – 2011 – Zinfandel – Graffina Vineyard – Lodi – 14.9% alcohol – sample
Comments – spicy nice tannins with fruit – great with herbed cheese – my least favorite of the 3 Cantara wines – best nose of the 3 Cantara wines – smooth with a sweet finish
#10 – Turley – Zinfandel – Lodi – 2015 – 15.4% alcohol – around $25 a bottle for wine club members like Sue
Comments: huge but doesn’t smell huge – makes you like up and take notice – big alcohol – wake up and relax at the same time – yum – love the shape of the bottle, deep rich color, luscious lovely fruit – lives up to the turkey reputation – plums and boysenberries – long smooth finish – strong berry notes – starts almost too strong and then mellows – a favorite! plum on the nose and perfectly balanced throughout – lightly tart, tannin finish – most complexity on the nose and palate, nice finish
Votes: 3 #1, 1 #3 =10
#11 – Trader Joe’s Zinfandel – Paso Robles – 2015 around $10
Comments: very uninteresting wine in contrast with all other wines – slow tannins with sweetness – tastes low cost – comes through on the nose – transformer of wine – pairs well with cracker and jasmine crusted cheese – bitter – super jammy and sweet – tastes like rhubarb jam or rhubarb strawberry pie – if you like sweet wine this is the zin for you – changes flavor with food – just…. no, didn’t like at all, too sweet
#12 – Kirkland Zinfandel – Sonoma – 2014 – $13 at Costco
Comments: organic farming – I found this wine very interesting, musky husky quality of old vine, at this price point best value for the price – I would like to learn more about this wine – not bad – short with strange tannins – at this price point, not thin – surprised by depth of character, berries but not sweet, tannins, but not chalkier dry – nice surprise, not a typical zin, but not fantastic either, but nice for the price – stood out in acidity and tart fruit – dry – bitter – soft – musky nose – complex
#13 – Predator – Old Vine Zin – 2015 – sample
Comments: nose ok – smoke, menthol, sage, not typical of zinfandel – too many weird flavors infused – wow – icky – wow – mellow, easy to drink, smokey, smooth, good, doesn’t taste “old” – tannins give way to a sweet grape – most interesting nose of all 12 – huge fruit – fruit – herbs – mint – eucalyptus – mocha – caramel – cocoa nibs – mellow easy, semi sweet, smokey and smooth but didn’t care for the flavor
First place was Earthquake with 11 points, second place was Turley with 10 points, Third place at 9 points went to Tie Dye, and tied for Honorable Mention is Herzog and 7 Deadly Zins with 8 points each.
How do you plan to celebrate the Summer of Love?
Thank you to John and Sue for hosting us and for setting up the tie dye, thanks to Marsh for helping with the grilling, thanks to the friends who brought zinfandel to share and to the wineries that provided us with samples. An extra special thanks to the Lodi Wine Commission which responded to a last minute holiday weekend request for the Earthquake and 7 Deadly Zins!)
And finally thanks to Sue for typing up all the notes and preparing so much of the food!