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Today’s Wine Review

My favorite wine is a big jammy Zinfandel. One that is dark purple and full of blackberry and cherry flavors, not too dry and not sweet. I had the perfect bottle once, a Rosenblum, Planchon Vineyard, 2006. It was everything I wanted in a glass of Zinfandel. I went back to the store where I bought the bottle, I know, I made the mistake of only buying one bottle but I planned on rectifying that by buying many bottles. Alas, there were no more bottles to be had. In fact I couldn’t find another bottle at any store I went to. Later I found out that Rosenblum Cellars had sold their holdings to another company and was told not to expect the same quality ever again. Needless to say, I keep searching for that perfect big jammy Zinfandel.

I’ve been told by some in the wine business that for great Zinfandel there were the three R’s, Ravenswood, Rosenblum and Ridge. Both Ravenswood and Rosenblum have been sold and the quality is not the same as before. I’ve been intrigued about Ridge Wines, seeing the clean simple labels and the price tag, a bit pricier than I normally pay when stocking up on wines but hadn’t tried any yet. So when I received an email about a Ridge wine tasting at a local liquor store, I jumped at the chance to taste some of the fare.

The lineup included a Chardonnay, Merlot, two blends and three Zinfandels. The Chardonnay wasn’t as bad as some I’ve tasted, but I don’t like oaked Chardonnay, un-oaked Chards taste really clean and fresh, oaked just tastes like flat beer to me. The Merlot was very dry and thin tasting, not too bad but not what I was looking for and at $49.99 a bottle, very pricy. The blends were good, all dry with a medium finish that was quite drinkable; one was priced at $27.29 and the other at $39.49. The three Zinfandels were also drinkable, drier than I prefer but they were still very tasty. The first one, Ridge Paso Robles, 2012, was dry and tart with a medium finish and priced at $31.29. The second one, Ridge East Bench, 2011, was a lot thinner and a little smoky, priced at $31.99. The third one, Ridge Geyserville, 2012, was much better than the other two, smoother softer, but still dry, not the big jammy Zin I’m looking for. The third one was priced at $38.99. This is how the Ridge style of Zinfandel is made, drier and higher alcohol content, most around 14.4% to 14.8%. The Ridge wines were nice and drinkable just not the style that I am searching for.

Because the room was almost full, the owner of the liquor store sat at our table and I mentioned that while these were nice, they weren’t the same as the Rosenblum I was trying to replicate. He told me to see him after the tasting and that he had something for me. After the tasting I picked up a couple bottles of what we tasted, Ridge Paso Robles and Ridge Geyserville and went to pay when the owner handed me a Rosenblum 2006, Monte Rosso Vineyard Reserve Zinfandel. He said he had bought all the Rosenblum Zinfandels he could get his hands on when the vineyard sold. I figured that this bottle was going to be very expensive, but he said that he wanted me to have it and gave it to me. I couldn’t believe it; he just gave me the bottle of wine. It’s not from the Planchon Vineyard, but I can’t wait to try it.

Now I just have to come up with a perfect menu to go with the wine.

Today’s Wine Review

Summer is in full swing and here in the Midwest, Summer means heat and humidity. And what makes heat and humidity more palatable? Something cold to drink. It’s a perfect time to drink the lighter wines out there. On my last wine stock up run, I bought eight bottles of white wine, three red and one rosé. I wanted more rosé but I had a difficult time finding any that sounded appealing.

I have to admit that the one I did buy, I bought because of the label. Once again I got sucked in by those marketing wizards. It was a French rosé called AIX Vin De Provence vintage 2013 and was a very pale blush color, not as pink as some I’ve tasted. It was reasonably priced at <$15 so I thought I would give it a try.

It didn’t taste at all as it was described on the label. The label described “bright fruit flavors” and “delicate floral notes”. Well to my uneducated nose, the first thing I smelled was alcohol and at 13% there was plenty to go around. I was expecting pears or strawberries, but what I tasted was more like a dry Sauvignon Blanc with a drop of red food coloring. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the wine, but it was as though someone had switched labels on the bottles. This wine had all the mineral notes of a Sauvignon Blanc and was almost paper dry.

Another rosé I tasted was from our trip to Texas in May I bought a very nice rosé from Pedernales Cellars, from the Texas Hill Country. It was a dry rosé vintage 2013 and was a bright pink color. The first thing I smelled was strawberries and the alcohol second. It is a very refreshing wine that is so drinkable. I found myself refilling my glass more than normal.

I’m on the hunt for more rosé wines. I’ve had a few that are very tasty and some that I wish I’d never opened the bottle. I know it’s a dirty job but somebody has to do it and it might as well be me.

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