2002 Sierra Foothills, California. $9.50 for 750 ml (Red Wine)
California is known for its Zinfandels: both red and white. After all, this is where “White Zinfandel” was born back in the 1970’s. And do you know why White Zinfandel was created? According to what I’ve read, back in the age of earth-tone polyester and tight bell-bottom pants, no one wanted to drink red Zin. So, one California winemaker used the juice of the Zinfandel with just a bit of the skin’s pigments bled off to create White Zinfandel. It became a hit and today, both White Zinfandel and (red) Zinfandel are fabulously famous.
While the White Zinfandels are a tasty and refreshing drink, I prefer the red Zinfandel– (which is simply called “Zinfandel”)–overall. So off to the store I went to fetch a bottle of Zin.
The Zinfandel I chose is a bit higher in price than I would like, but at least in my store, there were no options for $7.00 or $8.00 dollar versions of Zinfandel. Ergo, $9.50 for the Montevina Zinfandel was the best I could do. I asked the woman who was helping me if the Montevina Zin was any good. “I don’t know,” she said, “but lots of people buy this one.”
Hmm. That sounds promising, I thought, so I plunked down the casheroo, brought it home and sat down with my husband. “This better be good,” I told him, “I almost went over my $10.00 rule.”
And you know what? It was good. It was what I expected a Zinfandel to be: spicy, fruity and with a medium acid twinge to it that seemed to zap through the pleasant thickness of the juice.
We both rolled this wine around in our mouths a while, trying our best to come up with some specific fruit or other flavor descriptions. But we really couldn’t name specific flavors. It just tasted fruity to me, as in a mix of black or dark berries and cherries with a nice tingle of peppery spiciness. The best description we could come up with was that it reminded us of a berry fruit-roll-up: it had a compact, zingy flavor balanced by a sweet, fruity chewiness. It also had quite a bit of alcohol in it at 14.2 percent!
Bottom line, the Montevina Zinfandel was quite good. And sneaky. That innocent, fun, fruit-roll-up sensation distracted me from the fact that I was drinking a pretty alcohol-laden wine. In fact, I might call this wine downright diabolical.
But what else should you expect from a wine that’s called “Zin”?
wine’s website: www.montevina.com