2015 Dry Creek Heritage Vines Zinfandel

Year: 2015

Producer: Dry Creek Vineyard

Region: Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma, California

Grape(s): Zinfandel (79%), Petite Sirah (20%), Carignane (1%)

Alcohol: 14.5%

Body: Medium+

Dry/Sweet: Dry

Tasting Notes: Blackberry, Raspberry, Strawberry, Cherry, Spice, Pepper, Vanilla

Pairings: Christmas dinner!

Price (approximately): $17


My Musings:

Christmas dinner is approaching and you need a bargain wine for the holiday table. Food friendly and fruit-forward with some spice reminiscent of the season, Zinfandel plays the role extraordinarily well.

This wine, from Dry Creek Vineyard in Sonoma County, has a bright bouquet of baked red and dark fruit, including blackberry, strawberry rhubarb and cherry. The palate is greeted with jammy fruit of raspberry, boysenberry and blackberry, balanced splendidly with spice, black pepper, vanilla and licorice. Well balanced with bright acidity, this wine would be an excellent addition to the holiday table.

In Dry Creek Valley AVA, Zinfandel is king. Although the appellation was established relatively recently in 1983, its viticultural origins extend back nearly 150 years. After the California Gold Rush, European immigrants, in search of farmland, were lured to Dry Creek for its rich and fertile soils. Well-drained alluvial gravel and sandy loam soils on the valley floor were also a good match for vineyards, and consequently there were nearly a thousand acres planted and nine wineries by the 1880s. Today, the remnants from this vinous tradition are still visible, with vineyards proudly touting gnarled Zinfandel vines that are over 100 years old. Want to find terrific value, old vine Zinfandel? Look no further than Dry Creek.

Happy holidays!

2014 Peachy Canyon Westside Zinfandel

Musings by the Glass - Bargain Wines - Peachy Canyon Westside 2014 Zinfandel

Year: 2014

Producer: Peachy Canyon, Westside

Region: Paso Robles, Central Coast, California

Grape(s): Zinfandel

Alcohol: 14.8%

Body: Medium-Full

Dry/Sweet: Dry

Tasting Notes: Strawberry, raspberry, cherry, vanilla, white pepper, baking spice

Pairings: Venison, brisket, Mongolian Beef, Korean Barbecue (Kalbi), aged cheeses

Price (approximately): $14


My Musings:

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.