Snooth - Articles Read the opinions of wine professionals en-us Tue, 23 Sep 2014 03:00:23 -0400 Tue, 23 Sep 2014 03:00:23 -0400 Snooth Your Wine Drinking Soundtrack Claudia Angelillo <p>So much of your wine drinking experience relies on set and setting. Is the room tidy? Do you have the right glassware? What is the weather forecast? With whom are you drinking? And of course, what sort of music is playing? Allow us to assist you with the latter-most question. Here are our top five wine-themed songs for a guaranteed good wine-drinking time!<br /> </p> Wed, 24 Sep 2014 00:00:00 -0400 article5576 The Last Roses of Summer Jon Thorsen <p>Poor ros&eacute;. It might be one of the most misunderstood and misconstrued wines in all of winedom. First there&#39;s the horrible misconception that all ros&eacute; is terribly sweet. This is in no doubt thanks to the huge popularity of White Zinfandel in recent years. That sugary sweet slop has understandably scared many of you from ever trying the pink drink again. However, there&#39;s hope for those of you with PTWZD (Post Traumatic White Zinfandel Disorder) and it&#39;s called &quot;dry ros&eacute;&quot;.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> While the technical definition of dry is often confusing, it basically means that a wine has low levels of residual sugar. This doesn&#39;t mean that the wine is not fruity however, as you&#39;ll see in our selections below.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The second misconception is that ros&eacute;, because of its delicate pink hue, is not a &quot;manly&quot; drink. As a dad to two young girls I&#39;m used to pink. That signature color comes from dark grape skins being left in contact with the juice during fermentation. If you remove the skin or juice part way through fermentation, you essentially end up with a light red, or pink, ros&eacute; wine. The skin is also what imparts much of the tannins to the wine. This makes ros&eacute; a great bridge between red and white wines for proponents of each grape. And if the color is really a stumbling block for you, no worries, just call it light red.<br /> </p> Mon, 22 Sep 2014 00:00:00 -0400 article5575 Being in Burgundy Christy Canterbury MW <p>There is nothing like spending time in <a href="" target="_blank"><strong>Burgundy</strong></a>. The villages and countryside are beautiful and timeless. The people are discreet but warm. Burgundy is like comfort food for wine lovers.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Arrive</strong><br /><br /> The TGV is the most convenient way to arrive from Paris. There are frequent, direct trains to Dijon and Le Creusot (about ten minutes east of Chalon-sur-Sa&ocirc;ne and 30 minutes south of Chassagne-Montrachet). There is also an occasional direct train to Beaune. If you&rsquo;re going to Beaune and there&rsquo;s no direct train, just transfer at Dijon for a regional train. The wait is usually no longer than 20 minutes. Beware: you will have to haul your luggage up and down stairs at both stations.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Dijon and Le Creusot host rental car companies at the train stations. Most of Beaune&rsquo;s car rental options are not on-site but are only a quick taxi ride away. Driving from Paris is, of course, an option, but it&rsquo;s a tedious, three-hour drive to Beaune on the A6.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> If you&rsquo;re touring France&rsquo;s wine regions and are coming from <a href="" target="_blank"><strong>Bordeaux</strong></a>, hop on an Eastern Airways flight to Dijon. It&rsquo;s inexpensive and much faster than taking the train all the way north to Paris then south to Burgundy. No TGV routes cut across the plateau in the center of the country.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Sleep</strong><br /><br /> Burgundy is cozy, but it&rsquo;s not small. Though the <a href="" target="_blank"><strong>C&ocirc;te d&rsquo;Or</strong></a> is only 32 miles long, Chablis is 1.5 hours north of the northern tip of the &ldquo;Gold Coast.&rdquo; M&acirc;con, at the southern edge of Burgundy, is an hour from Santenay at the southern point of the C&ocirc;te d&rsquo;Or. (For this column, I am not including Beaujolais.) So, the location of your pillow is very important.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> For most, <a href="" target="_blank"><strong>Beaune</strong></a> is ideal. It is centrally located and full of stores, wine bars and restaurants. &ldquo;Downtown&rdquo; is small and pleasant to stroll. Charm oozes from mortar at the chambre d&rsquo;h&ocirc;te Jardins de Lo&iuml;s, situated on the southern side of the loop that circles Beaune. Just across the way is the larger and more luxurious H&ocirc;tel le Cep, which cutely classifies its rooms from Bourgogne to Grand Cru to Nectar!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href="" target="_blank"><strong>Dijon</strong></a> is the largest city and home to almost 50 percent of the C&ocirc;te d&rsquo;Or&rsquo;s residents. However, it is a major city, so it doesn&rsquo;t feel like wine country. I suggest visiting for a day and lodging closer to the vineyards.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href=";search_source=search_form&amp;version=llv1&amp;anyorall=all&amp;safesearch=1&amp;searchterm=burgundy+france&amp;search_group=&amp;orient=&amp;search_cat=&amp;searchtermx=&amp;photographer_name=&amp;people_gender=&amp;people_age=&amp;people_ethnicity=&amp;people_number=&amp;commercial_ok=&amp;color=&amp;show_color_wheel=1#id=102997307&amp;src=0ed8a1d15b8902f1560c102e7aa970f9-1-4" target="_blank"><em>Burgundy, France image via Shutterstock</em></a><br /><br /> <br /> If you&rsquo;re romanced by the idea of staying in a sleepy village, try Maison d&rsquo;H&ocirc;tes La Colombi&egrave;re run by winemaker Anne Gros. The rooms are intimate and tasteful. Besides, the maison is in the heart of Vosne-Roman&eacute;e, just a stone&rsquo;s throw from Domaine de la Roman&eacute;e-Conti.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> [PAGEBREAK]<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Sip</strong><br /><br /> It is critically important to establish your tasting itinerary before you reach Burgundy. Many wineries are small family businesses. They must organize who is in the field tending to vines or bottling the Bourgogne Blanc, who is picking up Jean-Pierre from l&rsquo;&eacute;cole for lunch and who is pouring wine for you. The French, especially the Burgundians, have not yet embraced the Internet. However, if you can&rsquo;t find a producer, there&rsquo;s a good chance the <a href="" target="_blank"><strong>BIVB</strong></a>, the regional winegrowers&rsquo; association, will have their details. Again, this is not Napa Valley; you will often taste in the cellar or at the kitchen table. In fact, I even recommend making appointments for tastings and tours at n&eacute;gociant houses of Beaune.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Eat</strong><br /><br /> Not only is Burgundy comfort food for wine lovers, it also serves comfort food. The food is often rustic and always heavy. After all, it takes a lot of energy to punch down all those cuv&eacute;es or to stay warm pruning vines in icy wind! Of course, certain establishments serve highly refined food. Whatever the style, the food is very likely made using local and often organic ingredients. Even if you&rsquo;re not cooking, the Saturday morning markets in Dijon and Beaune are great feasts for the eyes. Chagny hosts a Sunday market that is small, quaint and very bourguignon. Here are some of my favorite restaurants:<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Chablis</strong>: Hostellerie des Clos<br /><br /> <strong>Gevrey-Chambertin:</strong> Chez Guy and Family<br /><br /> <strong>Nuits-Saint-Georges:</strong> La Cabotte<br /><br /> <strong>Beaune:</strong> Le Comptoir des Tontons, Bistrot de l&rsquo;H&ocirc;tel and Bistrot du Bord de l&rsquo;Eau<br /><br /> <strong>Montceau:</strong> J&eacute;rome Brochot<br /><br /> <br /><br /> When you just want a glass or a pint, here are my top spots:<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Beaune</strong>: Pickwick&#39;s Pub, Bar du Square and Route 66&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<br /><br /> <strong>Puligny-Montrachet</strong>: Le Montrachet<br /><br /> <strong>Chagny: </strong>La Cave &agrave; Bi&egrave;res<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>See</strong><br /><br /> When you are not tasting, you should be touring. In Beaune, don&rsquo;t miss the famous Hospices de Beaune and the wine-focused bookshop Athenaeum. You can also tour the Ch&acirc;teau du Clos de Vougeot.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Surprisingly, there is more to Burgundy than wine. You can&rsquo;t look right or left without seeing a hiking or biking route. Climb the Parcours Batier from <a href="" target="_blank"><strong>Gevrey-Chambertin</strong></a> to <a href="" target="_blank"><strong>Chambolle-Musigny</strong></a> after lunch at Chez Guy and Family. Bike the Route des Grand Crus from <a href="" target="_blank"><strong>Maranges</strong></a> to <a href="" target="_blank"><strong>Puligny-Montrachet</strong></a> then quench your thirst at Le Montrachet&rsquo;s wine bar.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> In Dijon, learn about making mustard at the Boutique Maille. Remember: always make a reservation in Burgundy! In the <a href="" target="_blank"><strong>M&acirc;connais</strong></a>, a visit to the restored Cluny Abbey is a must. In Beaune, antique shops abound. Kids love riding the merry-go-round on Place Carnot and boating at the Parc de la Bouzaise.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Burgundy offers many pleasures and many comforts for everyone. The landscape, the wines, the food, the people and the pace of life are all irresistable. Pardon me, I must go book my next flight on Air France.</p> Mon, 22 Sep 2014 00:00:00 -0400 article3841 Wine Friday Fun Claudia Angelillo <p>Hello, #WineFriday calling! It has been a long week, and you deserve a generous pour of fun wine content and news. So grab your glass, sit back, and snack on these sweet and savory tid-bits.&nbsp;<br /> </p> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 00:00:00 -0400 article5517 Learning to Love Leeks Gregory Dal Piaz <p>Can you think of a less appreciated vegetable than the lowly leek? OK, kohlrabi is right in there but leeks have so much more going for them. tender, with an aromatic and deep onion flavor, leeks are a wonderful ingredient in soups, adding a magically sweetness to my Pasta Fagioli, but are also terrific on their own; a rarity for an onion and something that can be used creatively to complete many autumnal menus.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Not the most economical vegetable, leeks require significant attention as they grow. they are routinely trenched, having soil pushed up against the growing stalk that forms the edible part of the vegetable. This serves two functions, adding support to and protecting the leek, thus keeping it tender and also keeping the growing stem in the dark, literally, and thus keeping the edible portion of the leek white and sweet. In truth while most recipes advice using just the white parts of the leek I have never had any issues cooking with the light green parts as well.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Tip: To maximize your yield from the leeks you buy don&rsquo;t simply chop off the top. Sharpen it like a pencil, the tender white core is longer in the center of the leek.&nbsp;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Tip 2: Search for leek recipes! There are so many of them and they include amazing creations that will inspire anyone to get cooking!<br /> </p> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 00:00:00 -0400 article5572 Pairing Wine with Secret Menu Items Claudia Angelillo <p>Secret menu items bring joy to the otherwise routine experience of fast food. They are either designed and hidden in obvious places (such as a website) by the restaurant&rsquo;s marketing team, or concocted by consumers who cleverly recombine existing menu items. Regardless of origin, none of these secret menu items had a secret wine pairing &ndash; until now! &nbsp;<br /> </p> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 00:00:00 -0400 article5574 5 GREAT GRENACHE WINES Louise Hurren <p>To celebrate the fifth International Grenache Day (Friday September 19, 2014) we&#39;re reviewing five wines from the south of France that showcase the diversity of the world&#39;s most widely planted red grape. Grenache, Garnacha, Garnatxa or Cannonau: this versatile grape goes by many names and can be found dotted around the globe, from Australia to South Africa via Spain, Italy and the south of France. &nbsp;In 2010, over 250 top Grenache producers, journalists and retailers from 23 countries gathered in the southern Rh&ocirc;ne valley at the Grenache Symposium, and from this think-tank was born an international association that promotes this lesser-known but remarkable variety.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> From white to ros&eacute; to sweet fortified wines, as light varietal reds or complex blends, Grenache has historically been hidden in blends from regions like Ch&acirc;teauneuf-du-Pape and Priorat. However, with its juicy, luscious fruit, warm spice, balanced acidity, supple tannins and versatility, Grenache has a good deal going for it. It can be a great gastronomic wine, thanks to its broad spectrum of winemaking expressions, and it&#39;s this diversity that Grenache Day aims to communicate. September 19, 2014 will see many Grenache Day activities being organised around the world; to join in the fun, check the updated list and Googlemap <strong><a href="">here</a>.</strong><br /> </p> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 00:00:00 -0400 article5571 Common Wine Questions Gregory Dal Piaz <p><em>Originally published in September 2010, it&#39;s time to revisit these timeless answer to our most commonly asked questions.</em><br /><br /> <br /><br /> There&#39;s no doubt that wine can be confusing, with so many wines, with so much to learn about each one. But the most common questions I get tend to be about wine in general, and the answers to some of these questions are surprisingly simple. Should you worry about the crystals in your white wine or the sulfites on the label? Of course not, because wine is good for you, right? So, which one is the best for me then, and which is simply the best?<br /><br /> <br /><br /> So confusing and so many questions! Take a look at the answers to 10 of the most common wine questions!<br /> </p> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 00:00:00 -0400 article1218 Zinfandel: Yea or nay? <p><div><br /> I made my thoughts regarding inexpensive Zinfandel known yesterday, and today we get feedback from some of our favorite wine writers. i feared that people might have a negative impression of Zinfandel, based on the style of wine that seems to dominate the bottom of the market, and the bottom of my ratings yesterday.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> To my surprise many of the writer polled for this article came back with rousing recommendations and support for this most American of domestic wines. So if you like Zinfandel, fear not. Not only can you get recommendations for the best of the value priced bunch on Snooth but you also have suggestions across the pricing spectrum from our favorite wine writers to look forward to!</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> And if you haven&rsquo;t heard about the <a href=""><strong>Lodi Native</strong></a>&nbsp;project yet, don&rsquo;t be surprised if you&rsquo;ll be hearing much more about it in the future. Terrific Zins well worth hunting down!</div><br /> </div><br /> <br /><br /> <br /> </p> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 00:00:00 -0400 article5568 Value Zinfandel $15 and Under Gregory Dal Piaz <p>As you may know I love Zinfandel. I think it&rsquo;s the greatest domestic wine produced in this country, both for its historic significance as well as for the exquisite expressions of variety and terrori that the great examples are capable of.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> As these great examples continue to become more expensive, many are above $40 now, certainly remaining good values for wines for their quality, though no longer cheap as aficionados have come to appreciate the inherent quality of these wines, it becomes ever more apparent how difficult it is to produce truly fine Zinfandel. there are plenty of lovely wines in eh $20 to $40 range, though the lack the great terroir of the more expensive single vineyard bottlings, but when you dip under $15 a bottle something drastic happens. many wines turn into formulaic, wood soaked abominations. caricatures of all that Zinfandel has to offer.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Now you could say that about many wines, but it&rsquo;s just not as true. Inexpensive Merlot can be terrific, Cabernet quite good, Syrah stunning, Chianti, Rioja, and portuguese reds off the charts. It&rsquo;s only when you get to Pinot Noir that you run into these same problems. the base wines is just not that good. Cheap Zin, for the most part and there are of course exceptions, tends to be over-ripe, over-cropped, over-oaked, and barely drinkable. It seems that there is a theory that states cheap Zinfandel should be alcoholic, a little sweet, laden with vanilla and woody flavors and a bit jammy to success. Sadly that seems to be true.&nbsp;</div><br /> <br /> Consumers seem to like these wines, or rather I should say that they buy these wines. I&rsquo;m not sure they actually like them, with some of these examples there is so little to like that I think it&rsquo;s merely massive national distribution that keeps these things selling. I did find wines that were well made and delicious, and some came from one of the biggest brands out there. the Ravenswood Appellation series of old-vine Zins was really fascinating to taste and as a group represented the best wines of the tasting. I sampled three wines, from lodi, Sonoma, and Napa and while they spanned a pair of vintages all three wines were classic expressions of their appellations and terrific wines. Significantly all three typically come with a heavy dose of Petite Sirah which helps to form some of the classic Zinfandel based field blends and is one of the most fortuitous of pairings out there.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> That they are not pure Zinfandel should not be held against them, neither was my top rated wine, one which was a little less Zinny than some of the other wines of this tasting, but still remained instantly recognizable as Zinfandel. And that is all we should be asking of these wines. While $15 is not terribly inexpensive, it&rsquo;s not a lot of money once you realise what goes into these wines. And while the term &lsquo;Old Vines&rsquo; is unregulated in the USA, if producers are really using the Old Vines they claim to be, yields from these vineyards should be fairly modest. When all is said and done producers don&rsquo;t make a lot of money from $15 bottles of Zin, which makes the better ones even more precious and important.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The wines that follow can essentially be divided into two groups. the first are wines that have something unique and distinctive to offer, the second rely on the magic recipe for cheap commercial wines with varying levels of success. That some of the biggest brands bottle wines that are undrinkable to me might indicate that i am woefully out of touch with today&rsquo;s consumer. On the other hand it may also simply indicate that today&rsquo;s consumer is being sold a bill of sales. I wonder what would happen if they were given access to the wines I see as being better and that access came with thoughtful and intelligent commentary on the wines. Perhaps we do just face a problem of education in the wine world, but with the powers that be in a position to lose market share and money if consumer catch on to their ploy, I don&rsquo;t think we&rsquo;ll ever see any meaningful efforts towards mass consumer education when it comes to wine. &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The best we can do is stand out ground and beg, cajole, and even shame enthusiasts into trying something new. There are great wines out there at nearly every price point, but perhaps they can never be great until someone important, someone with a voice and an audience takes a stand and says; &ldquo; Come on folks, you CAN drink better!&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Let&rsquo;s start today with these top value priced Zins, shall we?</div><br /> <div><br /> [PAGEBREAK]</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2012 XYZin Zinfandel Old Vine California &nbsp;14.5% $14</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Almost black peppery on the nose and decidedly spicy in a subtle and nuanced way with some sweet oak emerging with air along with aromas of sour plum and strawberry jam. &nbsp;Smooth and focused on entry with nice tension in the mouth and fine clarity on the palate. This is light and bright in the mouth but with plenty of Zinfandel muscle to show off. the flavors recall the strawberry of the nose with well integrated wood spice and a fine mineraly vein that lends this some green peppercorn spice right through the fairly long finish. A bit beefy in the mouth, this reminds a bit of Syrah but if really very well balanced and shows a wonderfully refined and detailed finish. &nbsp;89pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong><a href="">2012 Ravenswood Zinfandel Old Vines Napa Valley 14.5% $15</a></strong></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> A touch balsamic on the nose with warm, powder sugar covered black berry and raspberry aromas and just a hint of wood smoke adding detail. A bit thick and chewy on entry, this shows lovely depth on the palate with a bit of black spice and hints of briar wood layered over brambly fruit. A bit on the tannic side, but certainly remaining in harmony, this is clear ands fresh on the palate with some of that tannic weight adding a little austerity to the moderately long fruit and savory earth toned finish. Serious and well balanced and worth checking in on in a year as well. 88pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <strong><a href="">2012 Ravenswood Zinfandel Old Vines Lodi 14.5% $15</a></strong></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Effusively fruity on the nose with briar toned blackberry and plummy fruit along with streaks of vanilla, caramel, and a hint of coconut. This is wide open in the mouth yet not opulent with a touch of chewiness to the rich, ripe briar and tar tinged cherry and blackberry fruit that shows remarkable clarity on the palate at this price point. &nbsp;A little spicy on the backend, then dropping off a bit on the finish which shows a hints of sandy soil tones that linger on the palate. This is a little on the fleshy side but well balanced and fresh with a rather long, acid driven red cherry finish. &nbsp;88pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2010 Project Paso Zinfandel Old Vines Paso Robles 14.9% $11</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Smoky and decidedly oaky on the nose, redolent of vanilla, ginger, toasted baking spices and cola along with some zinberry fruit. &nbsp;Smooth and supple in the mouth with a nice blend of bright acids and polished little tannins supporting juicy and very fresh brambly raspberry fruit flavors. the oak is obvious in the mouth as well but it plays mostly a supporting role allowing the fruit here to shine. This is definitely easy to drink and while not a classic Zinfandel it&rsquo;s easily identifiable as Zin and a great value at this price. People should love this. 87pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2010 Bliss Zinfandel Mendocino 14.5% $12</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Fresh and precise on the nose with a lovely array of boysenberry pie, slightly used wood, sandalwood, and gentle allspice aromas. Cool on entry and a little dull at first, this does turn itself around showing attractive hard candy like flavors of red fruits on the palate that are taut and transparent with lovely nuanced wood spice and earth and herb tones emerging on the backend. A subtle and elegant Zinfandel that finishes with lingering hints of warm baking spice and sour cherries. This really is very well balanced and eminently drinkable, though it remains a subtle wine. &nbsp;87pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2012 Kendall-Jackson Zinfandel Vintner&#39;s Reserve Mendocino 14.5% $14</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Sweet cherry fruit laced with vanilla, cola, and softly toasted spicy aromas greet the nose. An interesting wine that is perhaps a touch sweet but offers an attractive blend of very-ripe plum date and black cherry flavors that are backed up with complicating notes of bitter spices and herbs and well integrated wood. The tannins build on the palate and this has a hint of black currant in the mouth, which along with the herbal character lends this a slightly Cabernet like tone on the palate, but this remains distinctly Zin like with power, weight, and complexity in the mouth and a rather long if slightly stick finish. 87pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2011 Ravenswood Zinfandel Old Vines Sonoma County 14.5% $15</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> A bit tight on the nose with slightly smoky and toasty wood spice aromas layered over slightly beef, plum framed medicinal cherry fruit. rather light and fresh in the mouth with an ease about it and lovely flavors of raspberry and cherry layered over the well judged wood notes. The acids are nicely done here, supportive and helping to drive the fruit across the finish but remaining well integrated through the long black cherry finale. There&rsquo;s a little briar here and mostly red cherry fruit on the palate but you know you are drinking Zinfandel and this does show pretty good length on the palate. The oak is a little obvious here. &nbsp;87pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2010 Mud Pie Zinfandel Mendocino 14.4% $12</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Low aromas of blackberries and earth greet the nose followed by handfuls of strawberries and hints of dried herbs. &nbsp;Just a hint of sweetness is apparent on entry then this follows up with rather full throttle yet bright Zinfandel berry fruit that is both slightly spicy and aromatically a bit herbal and certainly brambly in the mouth. This is a bit forced texturally with the tannins being a touch out of balance and aggressive, but pair this with some grilled ribs and that would be an advantage not a problem. On it&rsquo;s own though the tannins dominate the finish just a bit and that smidge of RS lends a sticky feeling through the finale. Still this is a lot of fun for a full blown Zin that is not at all over the top. 86pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2011 Kenwood Zinfandel Sonoma County 14.5% $13</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Interesting on the nose with obvious oak influence that is actually fairly subtle and well integrated into the perfumy, heather tinged cranberry and lingonberry fruit aromas. Easy and supple on entry, this has some fine little brushy tannins and good acidity lending it a rather open yet authentic feel. It&rsquo;s Zinfandel as Zinfandel was. Nothing remarkable here, just perfectly drinkable, well balanced, and unfettered Zin with hints of peppery spice and brambly fruit on the palate that transitions something slightly rustic and a bit drying on the backend and through the moderately long cherry/vanilla finish. Not a remarkable wine but in some way a true classic. 86pts&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2011 Plungerhead Zinfandel Old Vines Lodi 14.5% $13</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Assertively oaky on the nose though this still allows the candied red fruit and sweet herbal aromas of the wine to emerge through the smoke and toasted oak notes. Bright and juicy on entry, this is easy to drink and it unfolds nicely on the palate with brisk red cherry and raspberry fruit nicely supported by oak that is surprisingly well integrated. There are some gentle tannins lending support and acids that are bright, if integrated, bringing a hint of orange rind to the appellate. There&rsquo;s a little toasty pie crust thing going on here and that turns into a full blown vanilla note on the backend as this transitions to a clean if modest finish. Easy going with nice balance and solid fruit. 85pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2012 Blackburn Zinfandel California Central Coast 14.4% $14</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> A bit dusty and meaty on the nose with candied red fruit, candied watermelon notes and some raw wood notes with latex base notes. A bit of a weird we in the mouth with very little upfront fruit followed by building flavors of strawberries and slightly unripe fruit on the backend that carries with it some green fruit acids. Round and sticky on the finish, even plump with black fruit and hints of licorice before the tannins and acids kicks in, this is simple and disjointed but not entirely without appeal. The fruit is tarry and sunbaked lending this a Southern Italian feel and in that vein it has some appeal. 85pts</div><br /> <div><br /> [PAGEBREAK]</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2012 Gnarly Head Zinfandel Old Vine Lodi 14% $10</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Sweet on the nose with strong notes of vanilla, ginger, toasted coconut and cherry cola. &nbsp;Smooth and supple in the mouth, though the acids do stick out a bit here on the palate. There are some attractive briary and balsamic flavors on the palate, along with light raspberry fruit, then this picks up a bit wood spice on the backend before wrapping up with a brief, clean finish. The tannins seem a bit dry on the finish, and while the wines is pleasant in the mouth, as the fruit fades this will probably just turn dryer and tougher. 84pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2011 Danny Seo Philosophy Zinfandel Mendocino 14.3% $15</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> <em>Organic Grapes</em></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Brushy, earthy, and somewhat leathery on the nose with savory aromas that are quite floral at times and then reflective of ageing in older wood at others. Soft on entry but very front loaded with rich, expressive and aromatic fruit in the mouth filled with herbal nuance, green peppercorn spice, and wild raspberries and strawberries all supported by bright acids and fine, brushy fruit tannins. On the backend this fades away and the finish is short with only the attractive tannins remaining. Would show better with a burger. 84pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2010 Joel Gott Zinfandel California 14.4% $15</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Spicy with a candied note of green herb and sweet american oak notes on the nose along with some hickory smoky, ginger and light notes of jammy black cherry fruit. A bit lacking in fruit and moderately structured with some late arriving black berry and black cherry fruit supported by well integrated toasty oak notes and some wood tannins. rather well balanced, restrained and almost elegant, this lacks some oomph but makes for pleasant drinking, though it does finish in an instant. 84pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2012 Rock Face Zinfandel Lodi &nbsp;13.7% $13</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Smokey and coarse on the nose with weedy aromas and raw wood, along with a big hit of fish sauce obscuring the spicy, red berry fruit. Noticeably sweet on entry, then the acids kick in and keep this fresh in the mouth, with a fine, glycerine rich slippery texture. there are some pleasant red cherry and raspberry flavors here but they are rather subtle with more of a briary toned backend leading to a candied red fruit and sweet toasted oak and vanilla &nbsp;finish. Training wine that is relatively easy to drink. 83pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2011 Bogle Zinfandel Old Vine California 14.5% $11</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Smokey and weedy with a coffee/over-steeped tea quality on the nose. Easy drinking and attractively bright in the mouth with some black plum skin and candied raspberry flavors immersed in cocoa and mocha flavors on the palate. There&rsquo;s a whisper of tannin here that adds some textural contrast to the bright mouthfeel. In the end though this feels a bit out of kilter and extracted in the mouth with black cherry flavors that are attractive if simple but that can&rsquo;t really get past the tannins and extraction. 80pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2011 Cycles Gladiator Zinfandel Lodi 15% $11</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Smells like I&rsquo;m sawing wood, that slightly smoky note as the blade heats up, raw wood, piney and resiny. I don&rsquo;t know why I would ever put this in my mouth after smelling this nose. A bit thick on entry and fairly tannic, this is moderately rich though a bit on the tough side with some thick flavors of plum and blackberry fruit embedded in raw, deep and sappy wood flavors. The finish is all toasty wood, vanilla, caramel and burnt marshmallows, though it is quite long it is also filled with woody tannins. 78pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>NV Rosenblum Vintner&rsquo;s Cuvee Zinfandel XXXVI 13.9% $10</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Reticent on the nose with rather raw aromas of toasted wood. Smooth, soft and broad in the mouth, this delivers some cherry fruit with hints of briary spice all wrapped up in rather assertive and slightly minty wood. The tannins build on the backend, and clip the finish, which is decidedly dry. 78pts</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href=""><strong>2011 Renwood Zinfandel California 14.5% $13</strong></a></div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Blue plums, sour cherry, peach, &nbsp;and some play-doh like notes greet the nose along with a sticky vanilla note. Just a suggestion of sweetness here lends a soft roundness to this in the mouth. the flavors are simple and candied, jammy even with streaks of caramel and a hint of mushroom running through the flavors of dates and dried strawberries. A bit short and compact, with a simple brief finish. A bit stick and disjointed, this is tough to drink with dry tannins and sweetness making for an odd couple. 75pts&nbsp;</div><br /> </p> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 00:00:00 -0400 article5565