Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Comfort Wine

I had to think for a while to consider which wine to drink for this month’s Wine Blogging Wednesday. Joel Vincent at Web Life Today asked us to pick out a wine that we drink when we want to relax. My first thought was a big buttery, slightly oaky Chardonnay. But that would be like sitting down to relax with a bag of popcorn. What I really want to relax with is something sweet, big and bold. A wine that explodes in my mouth negating the need for analyzing. I knew what I wanted: a Zinfandel fruit-bomb.

I love the flavor of Zinfandel and I can enjoy it in either a fruit-bomb or a more balanced old fashioned style. To my palate, the spiciness of Zinfandel is immediately recognizable and pleasant. Most Zinfandels have the spice of black pepper to add to the mix. The ones I love the best have a “jammy” quality to them that for me means a mixture of strawberry flavor and a full mouth feel.
When I want to relax with a wine I want something familiar and very fruit-forward. I enjoy almost any wine varietal and style. Thanks to the great input I’ve received from wine blogs about trying something new every day (Gary Vaynerchuk’s urging to drink 365 different wines a year) to cross-training your palate (great post by Dr Debs on Good Wine Under $20) I try to drink new wine as often as I can. It’s a lot of fun and I’ve tasted some great wine.

But it’s nice to come back to something familiar, like a Zinfandel. I know I’m going to like it. I know what I’m going to taste. I don’t have to think, I can just enjoy. When I want to relax with a wine, I’ll pick a Zinfandel. I may not blog about my choice, hiding my guilty pleasure from my fellow wine lovers. But I’ll keep drinking what makes me happy. As Forest Gump says, life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get. But if you go to See’s and pick out the box yourself, then you can relax.

The Zinfanel I had was from Latcham, a winery in the Fair Play AVA of the Sierra foothills. I visited this area last summer, but was not able to make it to Latcham. Several bottles of Latcham (and Granite Springs, their co-winery) are on local shelves, so finding the wine for me is easy. Fair Play is a great place to grow Zinfandel and I’ve enjoyed most of the Zinfandels I’ve tried from the area. The styles vary from fruit-bombs to more balanced wines. The Latcham is definetly a fruit-bomb!

The wine is so fruit-forward that the first taste of the wine all I got was a sense of sweetness. The successive tastes weren’t as sweet, as the flavors of Zinfandel and the tannins overcame the sweetness. Still, this wine bordered on being too sweet. It had all the jamminess and pepper I like in a Zinfandel. The finish was better than the first taste as the sweetness disappeared to leave the mild fruit flavor mixed with tannins.

I’ll have to try a different Latcham or Granite Springs Zinfandel to see if their other attempts at this varietal are less sweet. I could definitely relax with this bottle of wine, though!

Tasting Notes

2005 Latcham Special Reserve Zinfandel (15.5% alcohol)
Color:  Dark red

Aroma:  Strawberry

Taste:  Jammy sweetness, light tannins; light mouth feel

Finish  Light but lingering tannins and spiciness

Comments:  VERY fruit-forward


Hunter Angler Gardener Cook said...

I know this wine, and had the same issue. Holly's Hill in El Dorado has an excellent Zin, which they are phasing out, BTW, and there are all kinds of fabulous Zons in Amador County. Try the Vino Noceto OGP - fantastic!

Orion Slayer said...

Thanks for the comment, Hunter. I'll look up those wines. Hopefully, I can try at least one.

Dale Cruse said...

Great read! I chose the Charles Krug Sauvignon Blanc at:

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