The Quandary of Zinfandel

It’s been my experience that people who’s parents are hardcore into one thing, tend to shy away from it drastically. If your mom is a hippy, you’re a Marine. If your dad’s a banker, you’re an abstract artist. My parents drink exclusively Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Needless to say, once I broke out of my cocoon I started drinking funky stuff. Viogniers and Albarinos filled my chalice and I scoured the internet for Spatburgunders and Tannat.

On this odyssey, one of my favorite finds has been Zinfandel. Gasp! Someone hears that and they write you off. If you’re a connoisseur, you’re not allowed to like Zinfandel. Zinfandel is for heathens who only drink that ‘white Zin’ garbage.

Zinfandel has such a Jekyll and Hyde quality to it, though. I can’t deny that it can be really bad; but I gotta say, the wine can be really profound. I’ve had two bottles of the same wine (Orin Swift’s Prisoner) from 2008 and 2007, the 2008 was awesome, the ’07 was swill. But couldn’t you make that argument for Merlot or Chardonnay? For all the Petrus and Le Montrachet out there, 25 wines who have kinship with Beringer White Merlot and Yellow Tail exist.

To be fair, I’ve tasted some really bad Zins and they get a little, shall we say, ‘creative’ with their labels sometimes. The bad ones get overly fruity and unbalanced, creamy (reminiscent of a blueberry creamsicle, in a bad way), and, in my humble opinion, nearly undrinkable. But when they’re good, they’re really good. They tend to have a high alcohol content, but hide it pretty well. Good ones get tart cherry, dried strawberry, and cranberry flavors in them that blend with the balanced acids perfectly.

For me, a good Zin is really hard to beat, especially because they don’t normally ask for too much skrilla. If you ever get a chance, you’re feeling a little frisky, and you don’t mind getting judged a little (like you’re doing to me right now…) load up on some Zinfandel, I think you’ll like it.

Coming next week: possibly more UrbanDictionary references (look up you own name; always a good time), mourning for the failure of my cool movie giveaway thingy, taste-testing a boutique Spanish Vermouth…wha?

Until next time, live life well


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