Labrat reporting in!
With the wife gone for the evening at grad school, I was determined to share the wine with someone who would appreciate a fun evening of wine tasting -- my mother. She was the one who originally got me hooked on wine, and I knew I could trust and value her opinions. After keeping the wine moderately cool in the wine fridge (we already have the heat on here in Wisconsin!), I set off for her house with a batch of homemade swedish meatballs, some cheese, and chocolate, so as to try out some different pairings.
We opened the bottle at 6:45 p.m. Here are my tasting notes:
The wine has a beautiful scarlet color with purple hues. The initial bouquet had some strong alcohol fumes, not overpowering, and a hint of fruit -- cherry or cranberry. The first sip was thick, almost chewy, slightly tart, and had a little pepper aftertaste -- it needed to open a bit.
Paired with Black Diamond Grand Reserve Cheddar Cheese, the wine mellowed out nicely, and wrapped around the cheese flavors. It didn't pair well with some Mediterranean green olives, as the brine from the olives overpowered the wine. Paired with some Artichoke Piquillo Bruschetta spread on bread brought out the spice/pepper in the wine, which made for an interesting combination.
We decided that it would probably pair great with pancetta-wrapped asparagus with a little cracked pepper, or a big juicy cheeseburger.
20 minutes after opening the bottle the wine had opened up nicely, with the peppery notes emerging, leaving my tongue tingling.
35 minutes after opening the wine paired very nicely with the swedish meatballs -- it had become very smooth, with cherry undertones, and didn't retain any of the chewiness that was first encountered.
This wine is definitely not an overpowering fruit bomb!
I noticed some chocolate undertones with the fruit flavor. On that note, we decided to try some chocolate pairings. About an hour after we opened the wine, I tried a Godiva Milk Lion of Belgium (butterscotch caramel in milk chocolate), which paired BEAUTIFULLY with the Zinfandel. It was quite decadent! Paired with an Almond Praline Raindrop, the wine took on a nutty flavor which was also quite delicious.
An hour and twenty minutes after opening the wine there were still some alcohol fumes, and a slight smokiness had developed in the palate. The wine was still smooth, clinging slightly to my tongue.
This wine is not terribly complex, but rather very accessible!
Tasting notes from my mother:
Color -- Garnet with some purple
Bouquet -- fruity (cherry? raspberry) - alcohol fumes but not overwhelming
Taste -- tight - needs to open up. Chewy texture.
Label notes: Scary graphics but very cool border on label.
With extra sharp cheddar at 6:55 p.m. -- a little pepper aftertaste - very nice
With mixed Mediterranean olives -- not good - overly-briny aftertaste of wine
With artichoke piquillo bruschetta -- brings out heat of wine
7:05 p.m. -- opening up nicely - peppery
7:20 p.m. -- very smooth, cherry-ness is really coming out. Chocolate on the nose (cocoa powder?)
7:30 p.m. -- thick and smooth - delicious!
8:00 p.m. -- smokey undertones - still great
Overall, this was a very accessible Zinfandel that needs a bit of time to open up. We would recommend decanting it for a while before drinking.
I saved some wine for the wife when she arrives home, so I'll add her thoughts in as an edit as soon as possible!
Thanks, WD, for this truly wonderful experience! Can't wait for my order to arrive as I want more of this tasty Zin!
Edit: Wife's Tasting Notes -- Note that she normally doesn't like red wines at all
Smell -- Like Welch's grape juice, and cherries
Color -- Dark cherry color (like the color of the juice when you bite into one)
Taste -- Dark chocolate
"I hate reds but I could drink it. Not as dry as other reds."
"Warm tummy! :-)"
Good with chocolate! Neither flavor overpowered the other (probably good with CAKE! Haha)
So there you have it, folks: Even someone who doesn't like reds could drink this wine!