2009 Seven Deadly Zins

Tonight’s prettypretty wine looks like this:

and comes in a bottle like this:

so you know what you’re looking for.

Region: Lodi
Grapes involved:
Zinfandel with some Petite Sirah and Petit Verdot thrown in
Cost: $15-17 or so
Food pairings: BBQ. Seriously, people, pork. If you’ve never had pork and Zinfandel (which the wordpress spellchecker is trying to correct to “infidel,” which tickles me) paired together, and you eat meat, GET ON THIS. Lesse. Other than pork-based products, this would be dreamy with, erm, well, everything. Right now I kind of wish I had a piece of chocolate cheesecake to go with it – there’s just enough acid that it would cut through the creaminess perfectly.
Rating: 90 – Robert Parker*

It smells really bramble-y, like walking through a patch of raspberry bushes while stuffing your face with the fruit. There are a few hints of spice running around as well. Then, after it’s had a few minutes longer to aerate, it develops a caramelly-butterscotch sort of tone before going straight to brown sugar and then throwing in some pink pepper for laughs. Through all of this, there’s still a strong raspberry scent (like, red RED raspberry)(jammy raspberry)(like the sort of raspberry jam that I love smearing all over hot biscuits). The nose is all kinds of layered, and every time I think I’ve figured it out, it throws something else at me.

Y’all, I squealed at this wine. I am not proud, but there it is.

First up on the taste buds is some sort of jammy raspberry-cranberry concoction (again, something I want to slather on a biscuit). That said, it’s not sweet. Not at all. It’s dry in the way that organic cranberry juice is dry – tannic and tart. But it’s still raspberry. And cranberry. And bramble-y. And all sorts of other things – my brain ran through cherry, carnation, pink pepper, rose, bright red-violet (like the Crayola crayon color), butterscotch, vanilla, black pepper, sharp little twigs, dried leaves and mulling spices before half-swooning in happy exhaustion. It’s super-full-bodied, the type of wine that I love running my tongue through because it just feels neat, like thick silk or something. The finish lasts forever – warm tart berries and green, newly snapped twigs.

This is, flat-out, the best Zin I’ve ever had at this price range. It’s not the cheapest thing out there, sure, but it’s huge. It has FLAVORS. Like, LOTS OF THEM. AND I LIKE THEM ALL.

And then Tony brought me a freshly baked brownie, and it was so wonderful I let him have a sip.

___________________________________________________________________________________________ *I’m not ever sure about adding ratings, because they’re all biased and based on the tastes of whomever it is doing the rating. This is why I don’t provide my own ratings – I’m content to tell you what it tastes like (to me) and whether or not I personally liked it. Just because I like or don’t like a wine (or beer) doesn’t mean your taste has to be the same, or that mine is somehow better just because I’m the one spending my time writing.

Besides, terminology gets wonky – it’s definitely individual. For example, here’s Parker’s quote about this Zin: “This hugely popular wine spends 12 months in both French and American oak. Sexy and endearing, it offers a deep ruby/purple color, full-bodied, corpulent flavors and abundant berry fruit, pepper and spice notes. Drink this seductive, full throttle, classic Zinfandel over the next several years.”

Corpulent.

I mean, drinking the wine, I get what he means, but it would never occur to me to use “corpulent” to describe a wine. Then again, I’m prone to announcing I have a crush on particular wines, or that certain wines strike me as “purple” in flavor and what not, so it’s not like I’m cornering the market in comprehensibility here.

That all being said, I have to agree with him on one point: this wine really is sexy.