Producer: Peachy Canyon, Westside
Region: Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
Tasting Notes: Strawberry, raspberry, cherry, vanilla, white pepper, baking spice
Pairings: Venison, brisket, Mongolian Beef, Korean Barbecue (Kalbi), aged cheeses
Price (approximately): $14
A classic expression of Zinfandel at a bargain price. A wonderful, deep ruby color gave way to expressive aromas of ripe red fruit (strawberry, cherry and raspberry) with sweet tobacco, vanilla and baking spice. White pepper notes lingered in the nose. On the palate, ripe fruit of strawberry, blackberry and raspberry jam dominate in a fruit-forward wine, but accented nicely with sweet tobacco, vanilla and spice (allspice, nutmeg, clove). When the bottle was first opened, white pepper was rather dominant on the nose and palate, but this mellowed over time. Medium, soft tannins provided structure and the persistent spice pleasantly balanced the palate.
This would pair excellently with most red meat, especially venison or a brisket. Grilled preparations in particular would accentuate the smoky tobacco and spice. For pasta, red sauce would hold up nicely, perhaps a lasagna or meat lover's pizza with sausage. For Asian inspiration, look to Korean barbecue (Kalbi!), Mongolian Beef, and the classic Chinese stir fry of beef and broccoli.