Article

SWA 2011: NEW WORLD - ZINFANDEL

Zinfandel
A small category, and not exactly a must-stock, but the Zins showed good typicity and matching potential for gutsy food

Zin has been close to getting its own SWA section in the past couple of years, and
in 2011’s enlarged competition, it finally made it, separating off from the Other Reds.
And it did ok for a first time on the big stage singing solo, too.

Yes, the wines were big, rich and alcoholic (more Aretha Franklin than Ella Fitzgerald) but they had that word that sommeliers tend to prize above all others: typicity.

‘If I think about Zinfandel, I think about black fruit character, spicy notes, high alcohol and soft tannins. One or two of these for me are very classic,’ said The Greenhouse’s Alexandre Céret approvingly.

The only caveat, in fact, was quite what a restaurant might do with such big, unashamedly in-your-face offerings. Certainly a lot of finer, more esoteric cuisine is going to struggle to cope with their sheer exuberance, but there’s a time and a place for Linkin Park just as there is for Michael bloody Bublé.

‘Maybe lentils or smoked meats would go with it,’ suggested Michael Moore.

“These were very good on varietal character, they showed great interpretation and very good prices, too. ” Ivan Vegas, Hotel du Vin


SILVER 

Napa Cellars Zinfandel 2007, Napa Valley, California, USA
£11.49 @ PLB Group
Smoky notes envelop jammy fruit on the nose. The palate is rich, with plenty of cloves and white pepper alongside juicy blackberries. ‘The tannins are quite soft but the finish is rich and high in alcohol,’ said Alexandre Céret. ‘Hints of smoke, with a minty finish and good length,’ said Tom Forrest.


BRONZE

Bushnell Single Vineyard Zinfandel 2007, Sonoma, California, USA
£7.35 @ Amathus Drinks
With plenty of ripe, smoky, spicy dark berries, the palate is medium bodied with ripe, soft tannins, creamy oak and good length. ‘A great food wine,’ said Michael Moore.


Editorial feature from Imbibe Magazine – May/June 2011

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