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Archive for the ‘Zinfandel’ Category

So Janice and I might not have been the smartest when it came to picking a theme for the DGS – we could have made our lives a lot easier had we stuck with say, Shiraz, instead of Zinfandel. But on the whole, I have to say I was pretty pleased with our selection. :) And everyone definitely had enough to drink, for we had hot buttered rum to kick the evening off and capped it with some spiced wine. Ah, the hot buttered rum was nice and buttery in its sinful goodness, and made me all nostalgic for the Duke of Perth. It was only this time last year that I was sitting in there with Peiyun, downing such a mug and trying to keep warm. Good times… Aye.

But I think the Zinfandel Christmas theme went really well, no thanks to Janice and her delicious roast potatoes and carrots, and the turkey, stuffing, ham, and crispy pork that we ordered from Cold Storage. We also made some tiramisu to round off the evening with; mmm. If I say so myself. :)

Wine-wise, the Beringer turned out to be a hit! I quite liked it myself, for the subtle sweetness and delightfully light and playful bouquet it gave off. The Marr, a $74 bottle of Old Vine Zinfandel from Mendocino County, was a bit of a disappointment though. But the favorites of the night was the Irvine from Barossa Valley, The Curse which really softened out after a while but remained nice and spicy, and The Outpost from Howell Mountain. :)

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Having grown used to the bountiful selection of Zinfandels in the US, Janice and I were disappointed to find the striking scarcity of Zinfandel here in Singapore. A search of SEVEN, and I repeat, SEVEN wine stores turned up just six bottles of Zin. Most of the stores had just one label in stock, while a couple had two, and on average, the bottles cost around $70. Not cheap. :(

Perplexed at the paucity, I asked a sales clerk in one of the stores, who explained that Zinfandel hasn’t quite caught on with the local palate. To top it off, most stores stock very few labels from the US anyway, and the if they do, these are invariably the Cabernet Sauvignons. Which is a pity, because I’ve grown to become quite fond of Zinfandel over the years. When I started out drinking, I hated the metallic tinge that seemed to be associated with it, but then that was because I was mainly swilling down the likes of Yellow Tail, Beringer, and Sutter Homes. I think Mike first opened my eyes to good Zinfandel, when he brought a bottle of Burford and Brown Zinfandel 2003 to Wendy and my new year’s party three years ago (wow).

In the end, we did manage to scrounge up the number of bottles we needed, though we quite extended our budget in the process. Oh well. These wines better be exciting! We did include a bottle of Beringer White Zinfandel, which Janice thought might be fun to try, and hey, it was the cheapest bottle we got!

The wines:
1. Beringer White Zinfandel 2007
2. Collage (a Kendall-Jackson brand) Zinfandel-Shiraz 2004
3. Marr Old Vine Zinfandel Mendocino County 2005 (I’m keeping my fingers crossed on this one; it was one of the few old vines we could find. We found the other, a St. Francis Zin selling for $70 after a 30% discount, only after we’d already bought the Mendocino one)
4. Outpost Howell Mountain Zinfandel 2004 (I’ve read good things about Outpost, and Wine Spectator has pretty rave reviews of this wine, so I’m quite excited about this)
5. The Curse, Tscharke, Zinfandel, Barossa 2006 (Which seems to have garnered strong reviews from RP as well… neat)
6. Irvine Zinfandel, Barossa 2005

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Now, a word of disclaimer: we didn’t choose the wines to suit the cuisine – peppery pork rib soup, Malay beef curry, and stir fried chili vegetables.

Beringer Founder’s Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 $10 – Not bad

Fruit forward – strong blackberry nose. Light tannins. Mild wine, very sippable. Some websites described the wine as “boring”… but hey, in my book, wine’s never boring. Horrible maybe (the heavy kerosene-scented muscadet I tried in Ushuaia, Argentina comes to mind), but never boring. Granted, it may not be the most exciting of wine – I’d call it the girl next door. Very pleasant. :)

Brown Estate Zinfandel 2004 $40 – Damn good

Let me preface by saying that I’m not really a big fan of Zinfandels. But that could just be because the earliest Zinfandels I tried were cheap bottles pulled off shelves without much thought, other than the fact that they were cheap. Consequently, most of them had a really heavy metallic flavor that frankly just left a bad taste in my mouth. One trip to Napa, I tried a Zinfandel port, and that nasty metallic flavor shone through too. After that, I tried to steer clear away from the wines.

But then, at our New Year’s party last year, Mike brought a bottle of Zinfandel, which he claims is his favorite wine ever. I was skeptical of course, but gamely tasted some. Unfortunately, I cannot recall the name of that bottle, though, if I need to, Mike of course remembers. But it was a beautiful wine – fruit forward with bursts of berries, rich, and smooth.

This bottle of Brown Zin that Jon brought out for dinner reminded me of that one that Mike brought. Jon had purchased a whole case, following a tasting at the Tasting Room for my birthday this year (I’ve actually procured a bottle from him too, but intend to leave it in his wine fridge until after I move). If the cabernet we tried earlier was flat, this was exciting. The flavors of berries just danced in our mouths, and the light tannins allowed us to swirl the wine around without that dry puckering feel. It opened up more with time and became even smoother. Quite an elegant wine.

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