My "collection" of Ridge Zinfandel wines, including
my last baby that I got at Sportman's, one of the
best wine store in Phoenix AZ.
Dear wine lovers,
As an exception that proves the rule and since I am back from a 10 day visit to the US, I would like to share with you my deep interest for a non-French wine : Zinfandel.
Introduced in California in the mid 19th century, its origin comes from Europe (Italy or Croatia) but this grape, which has a true American name, has slowly muted to adapt to the local climate, especially the hottest regions of California like Dry Creek Valley. One of its characteristics is the potential to reach a high alcohol level with some pretty soft tannins. This great asset has also led to its controversial image when it is rosé vinified (white Zin) with a low alcohol % and then with lots of residual sugars that have not been transformed into alcohol.
I have personally always been attracted to this wine since I like the idea of matching a grape variety to its original terroir. I remember that my first emotion dates from a 1995 Ridge and as you see, I still have a bottle in my cellar. What I like with Ridge is not only the grape but the fact that it will blend a small amount of Carignane (Carignan* in French) and Petite Syrah which, after all, make me think of powerful Rhône wines...like Châteauneuf-du-Pape for example !
Another vineyard that I like is the famous Ravenswood but I am sure that there are lots of small family Estate producers that make beautiful wines, especially since Zinfandel grapes are mostly old (notice the way they are pruned like the Old Grenache in France), like this beautiful old vine Fritz winery 2001 Zinfandel that my father in law (thank you James for your tip) poured for me last week and which was also available at a great price.
Red Zinfandel often tastes jammy with hints of blackberry**, raspberry evolving in the mouth to vanilla, pepper and anise. Last week-end, I had the privilege of having dinner in Phoenix at Vincent's (surely the best French restaurant I know of in the States) where I matched a beautiful Hendry 2001 Zinfandel with a wild boar dish accompanied by a red fuit pepper sauce; this pairing being just delicious.
Any comments, edits are very welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org
*Listen to "Carignan"
**Blackberry = Mûre