Posts Tagged ‘Zinfandel

08
Sep
12

In Pursuit of the Juiciest Wine: Day 122 – Van Ruiten Old Vine Zinfandel 2008 Lodi Appellation

Van Ruiten Old Vine Zinfandel 2008 Lodi AppellationWork. Work. Work. Fantasy football. Work. Write. Grade papers. Grade papers. Grade papers. Work. Work. Work. What’s wrong with that list? It doesn’t have wine in it. Well, I gotta fix that, and so I will with a bottle of Van Ruiten Old Vine Zinfandel 2008 Lodi Appellation.

I only picked up this bottle because it’s an old vine Zin  . . . and because I could afford it. Transitioning to poor college student again is going to be challenging. I hope I can do it. Be poor that is.

When I poured this, it looked really thin. It appeared almost as thin as Pinot Noir. A Zin should be deep and juicy looking. It should almost be black. It should not be  this  60% opaque, rosé colored wine. Oh boy.

The nose is better than the color with a floral bouquet and some light cherries and some wood. (I usually can’t pick out wood, like cedar or oak or whatever woods wine drinkers pick up, but this time I do, but I don’t know what type of wood. Oak I guess.) And lots of spicy vanilla. Real vanilla. Not that imitation vanilla. And maybe some rum, too. Wow. Rum and wine. If you had that on you alcoholic daily double, then you hit the jackpot tonight. I think there’s a hint of tarragon in there, too. (Isn’t there an upset stomach remedy that includes soaking a vanilla bean and some tarragon in rum . . . or is that just something that sounds tasty?)

Wow. It finishes really hot. This must be loaded with alcohol. It’s making my eyes blink. Maybe there is rum in it afterall.

When drinking it, I can catch a bit of lovely jamminess that usually accompanies a red Zinfandel, but it last only for 2/10 of a fraking second.

There’s not much body with this.

I usually think Zins go well with pizza or pasta in red sauce, but I don’t think this one will. However, it seem like a hard sausage would be a good complement.

The more it opens, the more the jamminess appears and the longer it remains in the happy zone of taste buds, but then the hot finish takes it away. This means I have to keep drinking and drinking and drinking to maintain the jamminess. Drink. Drink. Drink. Ah. I just had a hot flash. Wait, can men have hot flashes?

This wine seems like it might lead to heart burn in the morning.

The more this opens, the better it gets, but the finish is a party pooper. Without the finish, this would be a thin 88, and maybe an 89. With the finish, it’s a thin 87. Meh. There are better wines and Zins for the same price.//

17
Mar
12

In Pursuit of the Juiciest Wine: Day 112 – Bogle Phantom 2008

For this St. Patrick’s Day, I’m demanding real rock. The shamrock just isn’t as good.

Bogle Phantom 2008This St. Patrick’s Day I’m drinking Bogle Phantom 2008, but with a name like that, you’d think it would best be served on Halloween.

The Bogle Phantom 2008 is blend of 51% old vine Zinfandel, 47% Petite Sirah, and 2% old vine Mouvèdre.

The back of the bottle has a fun story:

In the dark recesses of the cellar you sense a presence, hear footsteps. Why is it these things only happen when you are alone? In the shadows, a glimpse of muddy boots and old blue jeans . . . the lurking legacies of hard work and determination left by those who have come before you.

We are proud to carry on this tradition of our founders with this unique red wine: a deep ruby apparition that personifies the true spirit of the Phantom.

There should be a Muwahhaahaha at the end, too.

To the Phantom.

The label says the color is “a deep ruby apparition.” I wouldn’t say “deep.” “Ruby,” yes. It’s not very deep, and it’s like 80% opaque. I’d expect deeper and darker with a Zinfandel and Petite Syrah blend.

On the antesniff, I thought of a wine for a child. (Yes, I jut invented a word. The “antesniff” is the odor that enters your nose before you consiously sniff. It’s the “before” sniff.)

Now to the sniff sniff. It’s flowery and light with some berries. But a dark fruit and smoke dominate the odor.

It tastes much different than it looks or smells. It tastes like scary. Dark and morbid. There’s a pepper finish, too. In fact, I keep thinking of a dark cellar with a dirt floor and hanging lightbulb with a pull string.

I taste dark berries and cinnamon.

This wine definitely needs some food to bring out the flavor, like a mild sausage. In fact, now that I taste it again, I pick up a dry, mild sausage.

I can also taste the Mouvèdre on the finish.

I’m not sure what I think of this wine. It’s enjoyable. Without food, it’s an 88. With food, I imagine it’s an 89, but it might reach 90. I think provolone cheese would also be a good complement.

You can read the Bogle fact sheet by clicking Bogle Phantom 2008 Fact Sheet. Interesting note: according to the fact sheet “Bogle” means “A goblin; a specter; a phantom; a bogy, boggart, or bugbear.”//

14
Dec
11

In Pursuit of the Juiciest Wine: Day 103 – The Battle of the Lodi Zins: Plungerhead vs 7 Deadly Zins

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.

Plungerhead vs 7 Deadly Zins

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.

Round 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.

Ding ding.

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.

Round Drink

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:

//

12
May
11

How Many Calories Are in a Glass of Wine?

I know some of you wine drinkers are counting calories or watching your weight, and you are probably wondering how many calories are in a glass of wine. As a result, I have been doing some research to determine how many calories are in a glass of wine. The calories vary by varietal, but they all have a similar number of calories. Below is a chart I made for the most common varietals, or the ones I drink most.

Three notes.

One: I broke this down by ounces, glass, and bottle. A bottle is 750 milliliters or 25.36 ounces, and a bottle is supposed to hold four glasses of wine plus a little more. (There are 1.36 ounces more, which, I have been told, have absolutely no calories!) So that is why there is a 6 oz column, because that’s a glass of wine. If you pour smaller or larger amounts in your glass, then you can multiply the 1 oz column by how many ounces you poured.

Two: Calories will also vary by vineyard. So the Hall Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 may have a more or fewer calories than the Columbia Crest Cabernet Grand Estates Sauvignon 2007.

Three: Yes, I made that image above. Pretty good, hunh?! (Click it to see it large. Then click it again. I’m quite impressed with this image. I made the glass see through.)

Here’s the chart. It doesn’t include Tempranillo, but I assume they will be like a Granacha. If you want a printable version, click How Many Calories Are in a Glass of Wine?

Calories in Wine

//

14
Oct
10

in pursuit of the juiciest wine: day sixty (Apothic Red 2008)

Apothic Red 2008Tonight’s wine is Apothic Red 2008. It’s a blend of “Flavorful Syrah, Rich Zinfandel, and Smooth Merlot,” so says the back label. More specifically, “it is a blend of 45% Syrah, 44% Zinfandel, 9% Merlot, and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon.” That’s what Robert Parker said in his review. More specifically he said:

I am breaking my own rules about only reviewing Napa wines in this report simply because this is one of the greatest bargains I have ever tasted from California. Made by the Gallo family, it is a blend of 45% Syrah, 44% Zinfandel, 9% Merlot, and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon that comes from primarily Lodi as well as Sonoma, the Central Coast, and Napa. Discounters will undoubtedly have it for even less than $10. A hedonist’s dream, this fruit-bomb exhibits loads of berry fruit, pepper, and spice, silky tannins, and an attractive mouthfeel. Neither heavy nor overly alcoholic, there are 15,000 cases of this beauty, which will provide enormous relief for weary, recession-challenged wine consumers. It should drink well for 1-2 years. Bravo to Gallo!

Damn. That’s a fine review. It makes you want to go out and buy a case.

Now, it’s not that I don’t trust Robert Parker, but I want to share my sensations. Oh, I do hope this is the juiciest wine. After sixty days, it’d be well worth it. So here it goes.

Allons-y.

Black Forest CakeWell, the nose definitely a fruit bomb. I’m drooling. I can smell the Merlot and some vanilla. It kinda smells like a Black Forest Cake.

Already I’m thinking they made this wine just for me.

Alright, what else is in there?

I think there might be black berries, too. I can’t get anything else, though there is definitely more in there.

Let’s taste, shall we?

Wait, I just looked at this. The meniscus is almost non-existent. That’s so rare to find. It’s so, so thin and of one color. Usually there are two or three layers to the meniscus, and the top layer is always clear. The clear layer on this one is hair thin, and the pink-purple layer below it is three hairs thin. Well, maybe six. It’s thin, man. Thin. Usually that only occurs with older wines.

Matured WineHas this wine matured? Oh my. I’m giddy.

Let’s taste, shall we?

It’s peppery up front and of sweet and sour cherries on the finish. It’s a sweet wine. Not like Finger Lakes sweet or Red Cat sweet. Just sweet for this type of blend. It must be coming from the Merlot.

Actually this is kinda thin for a blend with so much Zinfandel, Syrah, and Cab.

I’ll agree with Robert. It’s good for $10. Though the sweet finish is getting bothersome. It would go good with a curry or many Indian and Thai foods. This would go good with shrimp in garlic sauce from a Chinese restaurant.

Alone, the sweetness is getting to me. It’s not too bad. I’d say 87 points.

If you like a sweeter wine, you’ll like this. If you tend to the dry, you probably won’t like this.

Now that I think about it. This is like a desert wine, but thiner. Serve it with ice cream on the porch in the summer or with waffles and syrup in bed some Saturday morning in December during a snow storm. Then go outside with some hot chocolate and catch snow flakes with your eyelashes.//




The Cave (Winner of The Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Book Award for 2013.)

The Cave

Poems for an Empty Church

Poems for an Empty Church

The Oldest Stone in the World

The Oldest Stone in the Wolrd

Henri, Sophie, & The Hieratic Head of Ezra Pound: Poems Blasted from the Vortex

Henri, Sophie, & The Hieratic Head of Ezra Pound: Poems Blasted from the Vortex

Pre-Dew Poems

Pre-Dew Poems

Negative Time

Negative Time

After Malagueña

After Malagueña

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