Sunday, August 18, 2013

Report from ... Dave and I Share a Great Zin - August 18, 2013

By all rights this little piece should go into my What I'm Drinking Tonight blog, but it is not tonight and this bottle did not make an evening appearance.  I am once again in Michigan and for the first time in a long time I am hoisting a glass with my buddy Dave at Champane`s Wine Cellars (I've missed these get togethers) ... we go through the store, as we always do, talking wine with Dave offering up recommendations, I end up with 7 bottles, 12 beer and 6 cider ... the beer is a gluten free beer out of Oregon called Omission - tried this Monday night and it tasted like real beer, these guys have got it right.  The cider was from Ireland called Magners ... the bottles of wine ranged from Pinot (2) to Cab (1) and even a Chardonnay (1), plus a really nice recommend of a Zinfandel (I never leave Dave without at least one bottle of Zin).  Reviews of these wines will appear in the What I'm Drinking blog over time (like this Lyeth wine I tried on Sunday night) ... but the wine we shared this afternoon was a T-Vine 2010 Napa Valley Zinfandel.

The T-Vine has long been one of Dave's favourites and he has a few good stories to tell around the wine and original maker ... of course those are the moments you share when enjoying a good bottle of wine, me I'm just gonna let you in on how good this wine is.  The wine is made using natural yeast (I always find a wine using this method to have some really unique character), 14.9% alcohol (we did polish off a good three-quarters of it) and is produced using an average of 60+ year old vines ... then aged in 50% new American oak, and 10 months in a mix of French and American oak ... following so far?   It's a limited production wine of only 675 cases.

The wine itself has got the stuff that has made Zinfandel famous: plum, chocolate, and spiced cherry, all in droves, it's a big wine with lots going for it - plus there is a nice smokiness that begins to emerge at about the 30-minute mark.  The finish is lovely and silky, but wait, there is also a touch of heat coming from the almost 15% alcohol ... Dave and I continue to drink it over the course of an hour in the hopes it will open and blow off that alcohol heat (it never does), but it does open up very nicely in spite of the heat; that smokiness would make it a perfect pairing with grilled lamb or BBQ.  For this wine you just gotta love Zin and know that on occasion with those big flavours and big alcohols you might find them to be a little hot under the collar - when it comes to this T-Vine, you gotta like 'em big.

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