I thoroughly enjoy cutting my teeth on a big, bold, rich, full-bodied, jammy Zinfandel. And to me, the more jamminess a Zin has, the more I enjoy drinking it. I recently picked up a bottle of the 2009 Sledgehammer Zin from Lake County hoping to find that big Zin. But I was somewhat disappointed with this Zin. It’s a fruit-forward Zin with a big alcohol content of 15%, and it has aromas of dark berries, blackberries, and black pepper. The flavors were of boysenberries, blackberries, currants, black tea, and black pepper on the back end. In my opinion this wine did not stand up to its name as a “sledgehammer” Zin, but instead was a medium-bodied wine that lacked the depth that I look for in a Zin. However, for the price of around $15 retail, it was not a bad wine by any means.
I enjoy having a glass or two of wine everyday, but with the economy the way it is today, it can be expensive. So, during these tough economic times I can’t afford to buy expensive wines everyday. More and more what I am looking for are good affordable wines. I was recently slow-cooking a barbecued beef brisket on the rotisserie, and I decided to try the 2009 Dancing Bull Zin with the brisket. I hadn’t sampled the Dancing Bull Zin in a couple of years, and for a bottle under $10, I thought that I would give it a try.
The Dancing Bull Zinfandel has a deep purple color to it, and the aromas were of blackberries, cherries, raspberries, smoke, and spice. The flavors were of blackberries, raspberries, cherries, smoke, black pepper, and finished with a touch of vanilla. This was a medium-bodied Zin, with soft tannins, and a medium finish. For a wine priced under $10 this was not a bad deal, and the food and wine went together well.
With summer in full swing, I love to grill outside. My wife and I enjoy grilled burgers, but not your ordinary burgers. We thoroughly enjoy experimenting with various meats and accompaniments to make gourmet burgers. We recently were trying one of our new creations, and I decided to get a bottle of the 2008 Sterling Zinfandel from California’s Central Coast. This wine had all of the typical characteristics that you would find in a Zin from Central California. The aromas and flavors were of raspberries, blackberries, loads of spice, and vanilla mid-palate from the American oak. This is a decent Zin with an affordable price tag of about $10, one that definitely goes with grilled burgers.
In 1843, the 14 year old son of a Spanish soldier was given a grant of 17,000 acres of land that was in between the hills of the Russian River and what is today called Dry Creek in Northern Sonoma County. He called this area Tzabaco Rancho, and raised his family on the ranch. Today, some of the original buildings still stand near the Rancho Zabaco Winery in the Dry Creek Valley.
The 2008 Rancho Zabaco is a medium-to-full-bodied Zinfandel, with a beautiful deep ruby red color to it. The aromas associated with this wine are of blackberries, raspberries, cherries, and pepper. The flavors are of dark cherries, blackberries, raspberries, cloves, and white pepper. This is a good Sonoma County Zinfandel, and is affordable. Try this wine with slow-cooked barbecue ribs.