Zinfandel

Posted on: May 12th, 2006 by

I have been anti-zinfandel for the past few years. For me, they were the epitome of everything I hated about new world wines: boozy, hot, over-extracted, port-like, no acidity. Needless to say, I had strong feelings about zins.

Reflecting upon my tender youth, I recalled some of the first wines that I really dug, when I was like 17/18. (I was living in a country where it was permitted to drink in your teens, as long as they were bizarre varietals.) So with my Gew├╝rztraminer and Vouvray, I was enjoying zin. Ravenswood Zin. Zinfandel was a sexy wine, gutsy, with awesome fruit and a zesty, funky finish.

But now I like elegant, balanced wines. And I put Zinfandel in the trash heap. Stick a fork in it. But recently I broke down and tasted a zinfandel (with extreme prejudice). Not only was it a zin, but one with the cheeziest packaging in the history of the world. How many zinfandels have you seen with horrific puns on “zin”: symphony/sin/artesin..blah blah blah.

So I tasted an old vine Lodi zin. 65+ year old vines. 14.2% alcohol, which in the world of zin is pretty restrained. (The only zin I can think of under 14% is the Foppiano, which is my all-time favorite zin.) Smelling it, wow, lots of fruit, delicious just to smell! And an earthy, interesting finish. Holy shit. Am I enjoying this wine? WITH THIS LABEL?!? Yes, I am.

I do not know who I am anymore. The last time I had this thought was when I tasted the 2004 Kendall Jackson Chardonnay and actually thought it was decent. (This is the most horrifying thing I have ever written about. Hey, it’s estate fruit! Seriously, it wasn’t bad for an oaky Chard. Seriously. But I’ll drink a Muscadet from the Loire instead. I’m just saying, if it’s free and your expectations are that it’s going to be garbage, if it’s not bad, that’s pretty good.)

One Response

  1. caveman says:

    I had the same reaction with the 2003 KJ Alisos Syrah.. you just want to hate it

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