Yes, this grape can be used to produce sickly, sweet pink wine. But at its best, from old vines, where it won't overproduce, it makes some incredible red wines. To me, it's a sin to waste these grapes on the pink, even if it is one of the earliest wines I remember drinking (!)
Regular readers may have felt I'd left my Purple Teeth behind for the whites of summer. And while it's true I have been drinking more white this year, I've also been blogging less. (This one has been in the making since June 6th!).
These are the perils of my new corporate lifestyle. On the other hand, the plus side to corporate life is that I've been able to buy a few more bottles, and I've been re-acquainting myself with one of my old favourite grapes, the Zinfandel. I hope you'll feel tempted to try at least one of these. As September progresses, there's a need for heftier wines to match heftier fare.
Often producing wines very high in alcohol, there can even be a slight sweetness to these reds, as there's just so much sugar in the grapes that the yeast gets a bit overwhelmed and gives up the ghost before its all gone. I know how it feels!
This Bogle Vineyards Zin 2012 is full bodied, yet not viscously thick. It has 14.5% alcohol, and yet it feels restrained, rather than overblown.
Regular readers will know that Mr Purple Teeth likes unsubtle, big wines. This one is more elegant than some supermarket Zins, Plenty of berry fruit, some soft spices and vanilla with hints of cocoa and coffee. It's a grown-up wine that deserves a good fillet steak. Sadly, I didn't have a chunk of red meat to hand, but I enjoyed a glass per night over 3 nights, and it remained just as pleasing. Making a bottle last 3 nights is a bit of a rarity in these parts of late, so perhaps this grown up wine has helped me to slow down a little. Bottle purchased from Noel Young Wines for around £11, late last year.
Delicious, but at £15, I'll only be buying it when discounts apply. Luckily, the buy 6 get 25% off promotion seems to be continuing in some branches, with buy 3 get 20% off in more.
(B)old vines Zin from Lodi, Brazin is available from Waitrose (£12.99, but frequently discounted to around £10), The Wine Society (£11.50) and others.
Filled with lots of juicy raspberry and plum fruit, there's also a good chunk of cocoa and spice and an almost chewy but velvety tannin structure. Although it's 14.5% abv, there's little in the way of alcohol burn, and it's the fruit that lingers on the palate.
i went back to this bottle 4 days after initially opening it. If anything, the wine (which had been sealed with just the cork stuck back in) was even nicer. Rich black fruits and a hint of mocha, with a velvety feel, and an almost sweet spice that's hard not to love, even when paired with chilli. I do find that Zinfandel is a wine I don't feel compelled to have a second (or third) glass of. It's deeply satisfying, and if it helps me drink less, that's probably a good thing, as you'll find I referred to in one of my early blog posts.
While not especially complex, at just £8.95 it's got plenty of body and soft, supple tannins, sweet black cherry fruit, spiciness and a hint of mocha chocolate. It's a hard wine not to enjoy, and one we return to time and again. As a late summer barbecue crowd pleaser, you can't go wrong with this one, and it will see you through a winter of pies. Buy a case.