Could I have predicted this reaction? Sure. But I still keep bringing other wines to the table to keep stretching the palate and expanding our horizons.
It seems that the readership have recognised the house style too. An American social media follower suggested trying this wine, and they were clearly bang on the money.
The Cline Old Vines Zinfandel may not be bang on trend in the general market with it's full thrust of 15% abv. The trend to lower alcohol bottles seems set to continue as more of us tipple midweek at home. I ought to have noticed that before opening the bottle on a Tuesday. The office coffee machine took a beating on Wednesday. On the plus side, the wine is deep and satisfying so there's no real need to pack away a second glass.
As a 2011, the jammy fruitiness that some Zins suffer from has reduced. The tannin comes to the fore, adding a drying note that, if missing, would lead the wine to feel sweeter in style.
For me there are notes of dry bitter cocoa, perhaps mocha.
I may have picked it out as a new world Malbec if I'd been asked to taste it blind.
And that's despite tasting about 15 Malbecs in the previous week or so.
Our "go to" Zin is a few pounds cheaper, the Lodi Ravenswood Old vines (available from The Wine Society at £9.50 and Majestic at £11.99 but the last batch I bought was £8.99 on the promo).
It's been a while since I've blogged about it - the currently available vintage is 2012.
While we have had a bottle or two recenty, we hadn't made notes. The easiest way to describe it is the cheaper wine is a bit sweeter/fruitier on the nose. Is the Cline wine worth an extra £5 or so? The Purple Teeth Jury is out - we may have to arrange a side by side tasting.
Cline describe their wine as intensely fruity with black cherry and strawberry. Perhaps it was at bottling. Now, what they describe as hints of dark chocolate are more prominent. But think the unsweetened, powdered cocoa, and perhaps there are some used coffee grounds. There's lots of tannin and a full body, but although it's pretty drying, it's very well integrated.
This is as easy to enjoy as a day in the California sunshine, but as dark as a Valley Girl gone bad. (Think Winona Ryder in Heathers).
If you like aged Malbec or good Zin, it's worth a punt at the discount price, but don't pay full whack. And don't keep it too much longer as the fruit won't last forever.
And if you're still drinking White Zinfandel. Try something new. A bottle of red, or perhaps this pink Moscato.