Saturday, May 30, 2009

California Zinfandels

Zinfandel is the second most widely planted red wine grape in California and more Zinfandel is grown in California than in any other region in the world.

Zinfandel wines are made in many different styles consisting of myriad flavors. Wines can range from light and fruity to concentrated with ultra-intense pepper and jam. Zinfandel vines love the warm valleys that are near the coast. As such, this varietal grows extremely well in Dry Creek Valley, the hills of Napa and Sonoma, as well as Mendocino County and Paso Robles. Old vine vineyards of Zinfandel can also be found in Amador County in the Sierra Foothills.

Galleron’s 2000 Aves Zinfandel from Napa Valley is deep purple in color, with intense black cherry and raspberry fruit and spice notes of cinnamon and nutmeg tantalizing your palate. The medium to full-bodied Zinfandel is forward and smooth with integrated tannins that harmoniously blend with the velvety mouth-feel and enduring finish.

The 2006 Zinfandel from Christian Lazo Winery in Paso Robles is a bold rendition of Zinfandel, loaded with flavors of dark cherries, raspberries, dates, vanilla, fudge and butterscotch. Winemakers Steve Christian and Lupe Lazo have only been in this winemaking adventure since 2001 but have learned well the art of producing a tasty, fruity Zinfandel.

Aimee Sunseri, a UC Davis graduate and fifth generation winemaker, produces the 2006 Old Vine Aimee Zinfandel from Napa Valley with an intense nose of prune and dark cherry followed by a soft smooth palate of pepper, prune, jam, dark cherries.

Zinfandel pairs best with bold flavored foods like grilled steak, lamb, and dark chocolate. Lighter Zinfandels also pair well with rich, creamy pastas, grilled chicken and baked Italian dishes. Zinfandel’s berry flavors go well with berry fruits and also provide a nice contrast to salt.

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