A Zinfandel for Every One and Every Occasion: Happy Zinfandel Day 2020!

Truly, there is a zinfandel for everybody. Here are four are very different Zinfandel wines that work wonderfully for your holiday table, be it Thanksgiving, Christmas, or the Rose Bowl…

2018 Bartholomew Estate Antonia’s Garden Rose of Zinfandel Sonoma Valley
ABV 14%; SRP
Sue purchased this wine with an industry discount at the tasting room which is located in a historic military hospital.

Color: Translucent, salmon.

Nose: Baking spices and rose petals, minerals, clean and refreshing, strawberry, almost like strawberries and cream, raspberry.

Palate: So clean, so dry, rhubarb, strawberry rhubarb galette, roasted strawberries and rhubarb, very tart strawberry finish. This is not a sweet wine. There is minerality, but for me it is all about the fruit and baking spices. I even get the impression of pie crust as well. Clean and refreshing, super easy to drink. There is a lot of wonderful stuff going on in this wine. Glycerine mouthfeel, round and kind of sticky.

Pairing: I love pairing ham and turkey with rose; this would pair so well. I can imagine it being a fantastic Thanksgiving wine. Try it with a tangerine and pomegranate salad. We wanted oysters, but didn’t have any. Fabulous with Black Pepper crusted Toscano cheese, and basil asiago. It fought a bit with the Parmisiano Regiano. Stick with creamy sharp cheeses.

2019 Rangeland Flora Rose Paso Robles Adelaida District
ABV 13.1%; SRP
Blend of Zinfandel with Merlot and Grenache

Due to COVID, in late May 2020, when Sue and I started meeting up and tasting again. As we were figuring out our publication plan, we enjoyed this wine, which is an unusual blend with zinfandel in the lead. It also represents another region in California that’s well known for Zinfandel.

Color: Pale peach, the blush of a peach, delicate color, soft soft peach

Nose: Maybe it was just the power of suggestion, Sue stated, but it has a peach nose, apricots. I got light cherry, nectarine, light and dark stone fruit, clove, cardamon, carnation. Very inviting, Myr smelled flowers right away

Palate: Hit the spot Rose yummy. This is what I want in a rose. There is a nice acidity but it doesn’t bowl you over, bright finish. Luscious fruit, fresh tart cherry, rose petals, rose water, nectarine at the back of the mouth.

Pairing: Great with the port salut cheese on top of walnut raisin sourdough, the creaminess of the cheese goes so well with the wine. The cream of the cheese cuts through the acidity and brings out the florals in the wine.

2017 Oak Farm Zinfandel Lodi CA
ABV 15.0%; SRP $18
sample for my review consideration

Color: Medium density, ruby with a garnet rim

Nose: River moss, aluvial soil, river stone, putty and clay. Cherry cola, cherry pipe tobacco, root beer, black licorice, smokey toasty aspect, for as high as the alcohol is, it does not come through on the nose, tobacco leaf, plum, ripe plum, plum jam, not overly jammy, but tart plum jam.

Palate: Sue liked the nose better than the palate, lots of ripe fruit, chalky, texturally it is like clay, I felt the finish was kind of like ash tray, too much toast, too much oak. If you like toasty oaky wines, this will be your friend. Raspberry jam and clay on the finish.

Pairing: The funk in the LaTur matches the funk in the wine bringing out a bright fruit in the wine. The basil asiago and the pepper crusted Toscano, changed the wine, made it so much better.  We had this wine a few days later with a grilled rrosemary garlic marinated try tip and it was a better pairing than with the tomato sausage sauce and raviolis; it just overwhelmed it. A  sausage pizza might work however. The rich fruity intensity of the wine worked well with the rosemary, garlic, grilling of the meat.

If you like super oaky, super fruity, high alcohol zinfandels, this one is in your wheelhouse.

2014 Jelly Jar Zinfandel, Lake County, CA
ABV 14.6%;
Purchased at the Lake County Wine Studio

We both loved the name of this winery. It reminded Sue of the Italian restaurant that she went to when she was in Lake County drinking wine out of jelly jars. I purchased this wine in 2017 with sharing it with Sue in mind.

Color: Ruby with a garnet rim, medium density

Nose: Fruit and tobacco, cherry snuff, clove snuff, considering this is a 2014 it is surprising that there is so much fruit on the nose

Palate: Minerals, fruit and black pepper, the cleanliness of the volcanic soil is evident. It is rich without being heavy. Nice clean lingering finish where the tail end is a lovely fruit preserve. The fruit is present, but this wine is not about the fruit. This is a very well crafted wine. There is a particular earthiness and texture that is so pleasurable on the palate. The texture and the pepper are outstanding in this wine.

Pairing: The black pepper in the Toscano, brings out the pepper characteristics in the wine. With the LaTur there is an explosion of funk and fruit and great flavors together. John does not like soft cheese and when he tolk a bite his expression was “Woah, that was so good, brings out the raspberry fruit in the wine.  It also loves the black pepper crusted Toscano, and the basil asiago, it loves the salty contrast of the parmesian. Enjoy this wine on Zinfandel day with a cheese plate of nice Italian cheeses.

Zinfandel is also a wonderful dessert wine– but Sue and I didn’t find any in our cellars because we drank them!

Also of note, these 2020 Zinfandel focused articles:

Previous Zinfandel Day coverage:

How to celebrate Zinfandel Day according to ZAP:

1. Share a Bottle with Your Friends
Visit your local wine shop and select a bottle from one of your favorite Zinfandel producers. Invite your friends over for a toast to your best-loved varietal.

Tip: Dazzle your friends by letting them know that Zinfandel wine is often described as fruit-forward with a flavor profile that includes raspberry, blackberry, boysenberry, cherry, as well as black pepper, cloves, anise and herbs.

2. Visit a Tasting Room or Wine Bar
Over 90% of Zinfandel is grown in California, however wine produced from the grape is easily found throughout the United States. So, bop on down to your local drinkery to discover Zinfandel’s extraordinary quality and versatility.

Factoid: Typically, when called White Zinfandel it is made in a sweet style, while if named Zinfandel Rose it is usually dry (not sweet).

3. Explore Zinfandel’s Food Pairing Abilities
When it comes to Zinfandel and food pairing-there are no rules! Zinfandel is made for pure pleasure, so drink what you like. Zinfandel, in all its diversity is just as comfortable at an elegant dinner party as at casual family meals.

Tip: Zinfandel is perfect for pairing with your Thanksgiving turkey because its lower tannin helps moisten even the driest turkey.

4. Visit a Zinfandel Winery
Perhaps there is no better way to deepen your appreciation of Zinfandel than see where it is grown and made. ZAP member wineries are celebrating the day in their own special way, so be sure to check in with them before you go.

Factoid: Zinfandel vineyards are some of the oldest in California with several well over 120 years old.

5. Get Social with #ZinDay
Today is the day to share your love of Zinfandel with the world. Use #ZinDay while posting to your favorite social media sites and become part of the global Zinfandel conversation.

Tip: You can search social media sites using #ZinDay to see how others are celebrating. Be sure to share on ZAP’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram too.

A few Zinfandel with its twin Primitivo for your Thanksgiving consideration

PS Seems appropriate that this is post #1001 since I started in the wine biz working at Ridge pouring zinfandel!

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