Archive for April, 2009
Zinfandel is considered the “Great American Wine”. However, the Zinfandel grape did not originate in the United States. Grape DNA testing traced this grape’s origin back to Croatia and also revealed that it’s the same as the Italian Zinfandel known as “Primitivo”.
American red wine drinkers have embraced this grape for its whopping power and intensity. I personally love the big and bad boldness of a great American Zin. Unfortunately in 2009, none that I’ve tasted under $15.00 have been all that big and bad. They’ve all been pretty mediocre and tasted like a bad lab experiment.
Fortunately, the 2006 Four Vines Zin was not a dud. This Zin tasted rich and more expensive than what I actually paid for it. It had a terrific berry and spice taste with a very good long finish. This wine is as good as a $20 bottle of Zin. I’m not quite ready to say that this Zin is the best under $15, but I’m sure that this one is better than most. This is a very good Red Zinfandel to try.
I give it 3 Stars. It’s still too early in 2009 to proclaim this wine the best red Zin under $15 bucks.
WineLife365 Rating: 3-Star
One uncertainty that will always plague a bottle of wine and the wine lover holding it is, “How long will it last”? Or, how long can I store this before it turns into vinegar? It’s a question that I still struggle with. Once, I suggested to a good friend of mine to contact the winery/winemaker that produced the wine to truly find out the shelf life a particular wine. Doing this just takes the anxiety and guesswork out of the equation.
Over the years, I’ve found that most red and white wines made these days are not “ageworthy keepers”. Most value-oriented wines are built to drink young and ASAP. As you get into the super premium high-grade juice, that’s a different story. But I would still recommend that you contact the winery/winemaker to get their take on how well and/or long they think that their wine will age.
I’ve experimented a bit with different types of wines over the years to see which ones can withstand the test of time. Here are my thoughts on the ones that only get better with age.
1.) Italian reds: Amarone, Brunello, Barolo and Super Tuscans.
2.) Chateauneuf-du-Pape from the Rhone Region in France.
3.) High-end Red Bordeaux – “First and Second Growth” stuff.
4.) High-end Cabernet Sauvignon.
5.) High –end White Burgundy – words on the label say “Montrachet” or “Meursault”.
6.) Rieslings from Alsace, France.
7.) French Champagne with a “Born on Date” (i.e., it lists the vintage). Most Champagne and other Sparkling Wines are “NV” or non-vintage.
8.) A special Australian Shiraz made only in primo years from Penfolds called “Grange”.
9.) Port wines – vintage port wines only get better with age.
10.) French Sauternes – this sweet dessert wine can age forever.
11.) Hungarian Tokay – an alternative to ports and sauternes.
I really like the artwork that Cynthia Sampson–Files created for the 14 Hands Merlot. It has a “Wild Horses”, ala Rolling Stones feel to it. The wine’s label depicts wild horses that once ran through the 14 Hands vineyard. The vineyard is located near the Columbia River.
The 2006 14 Hands Merlot is a very tasty Merlot in my opinion. It’s perfectly put together with the right amount of cherry and berry flavors to get your attention, just the right amount of oak to give it some depth, and a finish that lingers.
The 2006 14 Hands Merlot is a solid and enjoyable red wine that I think most wine lovers would like. I would personally drink this red wine any day of the week.
WineLife365 Rating: 3-Star
I’ve received a few questions regarding what to eat with particular wines. I decided to first start with the world’s king of white wines, Chardonnay. So in this installment, I thought that it was only fitting to share some of our food and wine marriages with the vastly popular red wine grape, Cabernet Sauvignon. This powerhouse red grape is made for brawny foods. The king Cab is not one for flaky fishes or garden salads. It’s all about the red meat.
Here are some foods that I think you’ll love with your Cab:
1. Grilled BBQ meats – the heavier the better. Steaks, hamburgers, lamb, ribs, chicken, sausages… you get the point. Cabernet Sauvignon is pretty awesome with any grilled meats.
2. **Red** Sauce with Pasta and MEATS. The white cream stuff is not so good.
3. Beef Casseroles, Sloppy Joe’s, Beef Stew
4. Take-out and Fast Food: Cheese Steaks, Pepperoni/Sausage/Mushroom Pizza, Whopper w/Cheese, Big Mac.
5. Tex-Mex, Spanish foods
6. Here’s something interesting—Mushrooms and onions seem to love to be with Cabernet Sauvignon.
7. These cheeses are great with Cabernet Sauvignon: Dry Jack, Spanish Manchego, Italian Parmigiano-Reggiano and Cheddar Cheese. A very interesting cheese that works well with a Cab is Blue cheese and any other moldy cheeses.
8. Nuts that work especially well with Cabernet Sauvignon are cashews, pecans, and walnuts.
9. For the dessert lovers: Chocolate and Cabernet Sauvignon are like peanut and jelly…they just go together!
Unlike Chardonnay, I really can’t think of any particular foods that when mixed with a Cab would taste bad – although, lighter foods may not be ideal. The only thing that I can think of that can ruin or alter a Cab’s taste is anything comprised of vinegar, such as: Dressings, sauces, and vinaigrettes. In my opinion vinegar is Cabernet Sauvignon’s worst enemy. As a rule of thumb, I usually steer clear of the vinegar just to be safe.
This is what I like with Cabernet Sauvignon. How about you?