All right. My first semester teaching Introduction to Creative Writing at SUNY Brockport has concluded. All the portfolios have been read, and I’ve turned in final grades. As a result, it’s time to celebrate.
As you may know, I love the Plungerhead Zinfandel. I wrote about it on day thirty-one of the juiciest wine tour. (Click here to read about it.) It’s my favorite, or was. Then I tried the 7 Deadly Zins. The foundation of both is remarkably quite identical, but the 7 Deadly Zins has a little extra going. There’s like a side show to it. So just to be sure and to fully enter that side-show, I will explore it with more detail by pitting Plungerhead Zinfandel 2009 against the 7 Deadly Zins 2008. In the end, there will be no losers because both are excellent.
Normally, my competitions between wines starts by comparing the colors, because that’s where the wine begins. That’s the first thing you notice. But in this competition, there will be a comparison of corks. Let’s call it the weigh-in before the boxing match.
The Plungerhead has a rubber stopper for a cork. It’s tightly sealed in by some winding plastic. It opens easy, and there’s a slight pop to it when you pull out the stopper. I really enjoy these stoppers because they are simple, they don’t affect the taste of the wine, and they never break. They will be a great replacement for cork in this world with limited cork supplies. Plus, most important, you can save and reuse the rubber stoppers for a number of things, including capping other wine bottles after opening them. I like this because sometimes the corks just don’t fit in again, especially those solid hard plastic corks that pretend to look like they are made out of cork but are not, or those other corks with the sponge-like center and the hard plastic casing which never fit in the bottle again. So this cork is a bonus for sure.
The 7 Deadly Zins cork is your standard cork, which is perfectly admirable. Once you pull out a standard cork, you can tell you certain things about the wine, especially from the cork’s stained bottom. How dark is that stain? How far up the cork does it go? Can you stamp the back of your hand with the wet, stained bottom and leave a mark? Does the stain have an odor? These are all useful and fun. This cork, however, broke in half, with one half floating in the bottle. Hopefully, this won’t affect the taste or the contest.
The Plungerhead wins the cork weigh-in stage, but I won’t let this affect the outcome of the wines. So there is no winner at this weigh-in as cork preference is purely subjective.
All right guys. Clink glasses and come out drinking.
The glasses of wine come out slowly and present their colors and menisci
The colors are somewhere between dark scarlet and Bulgarian rose, and the 7 Deadly Zins is darker or more opaque. Both menisci have an angelic glow about them. The color of the menisci is like red with a blue tinge. If robots turned into angels after they expired, this would be the color of their halos.
I give no advantage to either in color or menisci, but I am looking over my shoulder waiting for an oenophile Terminator to arrive.
Round Two. The Nose.
We’ll start with the 7 Deadly Zins. It smells jammy with plums, cherry, black licorice, black pepper, and some cola. The girlfriend picks up anise and sour cherries and some muskiness.
The Plungerhead nose is very similar but without the black pepper and less black licorice. It smells livelier and younger. It smells like it has bounce.
As I go back and forth, I pick up the muskiness in the 7 Deadly Zins, too. The other day, I tweeted that the 7 Deadly Zins smells like an old book at Christmas time. I get less Christmas this time.
This round goes to both. I like the youthful vibrancy in the Plungerhead and it does smell juicy, but the 7 Deadly Zins smells older like its got some stories to tell. The girlfriend like both noses equally.
Round Three. The Tasting.
I’ll start with the Plungerhead this time. The finish is sour, but in a good way. There’s some chalkiness to the texture, too, but it’s a mild chalkiness, which is easily made up for by the jamminess. A jamminess of a flat cola, strawberries, plums, and raspberries. And there’s a pepper to it, too. Maybe a white pepper, but I don’t pick up on that until after the finish. I think get some cloves, too. Man, it’s so yummy. The girlfriend gets strong blackberries especially on the aftertaste. To her it is thinner than expected. I think I agree. The 2008 had a fuller body. (By the way, a flat cola taste isn’t a bad thing unless it’s actually a cola.)
Wow, the finish on the 7 Deadly Zins is really quick. It just disappears on the taste. I really enjoy the lingering finish of the Plungerhead. I like to dwell on it, but the 7 Deadly Zins just fades away. The pepper really comes out in the taste and the anise is there, too, but it’s not annoying. This also has a hint of chalkiness to it. I also get raspberries, for sure, and blackberries or blueberries. It’s also drier than the Plungerhead. The taste of the 7 Deadly Zins, like the nose, is more mature than the Plungerhead. The 7 Deadly Zins is more serious. It reminds me of the library in Meet Joe Black.
In fact, I think I just figured this out. Plungerhead is the Brad Pitt of Zinfandels and 7 Deadly Zins is the Anthony Hopkins of Zins. On the taste, the girlfirend gets blackberries, some anise, spices, and it’s very smooth.
Ding ding ding. That’s the end of the battle. Who wins.
The girlfriend scores 10-9, 10-9, 10-9 in favor of the 7 Deadly Zins.
This judge, that’s me, scores it 10-10, 10-10, 10-9 in favor of the 7 Deadly Zins. For me, the 7 Deadly Zins is just fuller, and as it opens up it gets much better and smoother. (This may explain why the girlfriend thought both noses were equal at the beginning of the match but in the end she chose the 7 Deadly Zins.) The Plungerhead is awesome, but like a young man it comes out full force but then doesn’t go anywhere. It presents everything it has at the beginning. It doesn’t change as the air interacts with it.
Yes, as time goes by, the 7 Deadly Zins just gets more and more awesome, and the Plungerhead just stays at really good. You can’t go wrong with either. And the price isn’t a factor either. The Plungerhead is $12 and the 7 Deadly Zins is $13.
The 7 Deadly Zins and Plungerhead both started at like an 89 or 90 for me, but now the 7 Deadly Zins is like 92.
In the age old question “is better to burn out or fade away?” the Plungerhead is the burnout and the 7 Deadly Zins is the fade away. I wonder which is Stevie Wonder. In fact, comparing these wines is much like this scene: