At the request of the old coot, the remaining members of Hamburg Township Emergency Labratting Response Team convened promptly at 7 PM. (Claymore, who posted just above, is the follicle-challenged guy!)
Prodigious quantities of pulled pork and barbecue brisket from Chef Chris over at the Boogie Woogie rested in the oven for the post-tasting gluttony. Lots of Spiegelau waited to be broken at each place setting. And up for tasting: the golden ticket 2004 Chase Hayne Vineyard and its three zinous challengers: 2006 XYZin 10, 2003 JC Cellars, and 2004 Rafanelli.
Tasted unblind. After the first round of tasting, we proceeded to the barbecue, with lots of Zin still in the glass to test their foodworthiness and how they were opening.
2006 XYZin, 10 Year, California
Mid-ruby color that's significantly lighter than the others in the group. An odd mixture of herbs and jam on the nose, reasonable fruit on the attack but quickly runs into trouble due to a weak body, sucked-out mid-palate and a hot, alcoholic finish. One of the other tasters described it as having Gamay character. Definitely the skunk at this garden party; no one volunteered to return to see how it worked with the food. Score: 79
2003 JC Cellars Zinfandel, Iron Hill Vineyard, Sonoma Valley
Now that's more like it! Ultra ripe jammy nose, bright red fruits, hints of white pepper, plump mid-body, good depth but slightly lacking in the acid department, fairly short finish. To some of us, the fruit tastes more like Paso Robles than Sonoma. Nice food match, but could use a bit more acid. Score: 88
2004 Rafanelli Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley
A long-time benchmark to judge other Zins by. Quickly Indicates the vintage issues of 2004: lighter-bodied and less gnarly and concentrated fruit than typical Rafanelli. But what great fruit it is: pure, sweet black cherry flavors, dark tones almost reminiscent of a Mendoza Malbec. Silken palate, beautifully balanced acidity. Great with food. Score: 92 (unanimous among the group)
2004 Chase Zinfandel, Hayne Vineyard, Napa Valley
OK, I confess: I saw "Hayne Vineyard" and expected Turley. The Woot writeup doesn't exactly discourage that train of thought. The wine with the monster fruit and even bigger alcohol, designed to clash with and ultimately crush all attempts at food pairing. Custom-engineered to garner 98 points from Parker's palate.
That's why the Chase was a surprise. Whether a result of the vintage or the winemaking, this is a Pretty Wine -- a description never applied to Turley. Slightly lighter color than the Rafanelli, a white-choclatey nose with lots of raspberry. Exotic Asian spices. Elegant palate, silky, slightly plump, well-balanced and very round. Became even "prettier" as it opened in the glass.
The best food wine in the bunch -- one of our tasters rated it "Number One with a mouthful of the greens and pulled pork." It begs for spiced dishes. Score: 91 (group range 90-92).
Just the (golden) ticket for a Tuesday night...
MoCool 2008: Bordeaux x Cinq x Five