Today is National Wine Day, or at least today and February 11. The people who make this stuff up can’t really make up their minds but what the heck, two National Wine Days is better than one, right? Any reason to pop a cork is a good reason to me. I won’t always make recommendations for specific wines but the wine I’ve chosen for today is widely available and sells for only $8.99/btl. Gnarly Head 2009 Old Vine Zinfandel (www.gnarlyhead.com). I’ll be drinking this tonight with a nice grilled NY Sirloin. I want to enjoy this wine before the hot weather really settles in. It’s hard to drink a big, full-bodied red on the patio with temps in the 90’s. Like the Peter Lehmann Seven Surveys GSM I was originally sucked in by the story on the back label.
winemaker’s notes:Gnarly Head 2009 Old Vine Zinfandel is made from gnarled 35 to 80 year old head trained vines. Fruit from these unruly branches is intense and powerful, and as some of the oldest in California, these brash old vines produce exceptional, full flavored grapes. This intrepid Old Vine Zinfandel has a gnarly core of rich, dark raspberry and black cherry flavors with layers of spice and chocolate balanced by complex French and American oak toast. Try pairing this wine with braised short ribs, chicken enchiladas, or dark chocolate.
Zinfandel, not white zinfandel, but full on zin is known to be a fruit bomb of jammy dark berries and plum fruits with a little spice, and the characteristics of oak aging, with an alcohol content of between 14% – 15%. Old vine zins are known to produce a smaller, more concentrated yield. I have a lot of respect for these old vines, still cranking out their grapey goodness.
The zinfandel grape is almost exclusively grown in California – the Lodi area is well known for its zins. There is some controversy about the origins of the zinfandel grape. For many years it was thought to be a clone of the Italian Primitivo grape (found in the southern Puglia region of the heel of Italy’s boot). Most experts today agree that the grape was brought to California by Croatian immigrants.