Friday, August 1, 2008


The other night a group of us got together and shared five bottles of Zinfandel with a picnic of gourmet burgers, baked beans, and corn on the cob. The wines; Seghesio Cortina, Renwood Grandmere, Imagery Taylor vineyard and a blend from Linna Calodo Problem Child and Magito Panorama another blend. All of the wines were good, but of course some were better than others. The Renwood was a little past its prime ( 2002 ), however with it's dried plum and dusty notes it may well have appeal to some. The Magito, which was a kitchen sink blend anchored by 75% Zin, was a nice wine and would have shown better in less sophisticated company. It had good fruit and was not to jammy, a good Zin for the summer heat since it was a little lighter than the others. The Imagery is from a project that Benzinger started about ten years ago. It started as a boutique label within Benzinger and has evolved into its own winery with several labels of its own. This was a very nice wine that evolved as it got air, the wine was a 2003. It had a nice richness with ripe plum and a little black raspberry and spice. The Seghesio, what can I say, This is a wine from a producer that knows what to do with the grape. My wife and I have never had a bad Zin from Seghesio. The Cortina is one of their single vineyard products and was rich with fruit, while not being jammy. It had some restrained black pepper and the flavors coated your tongue like Greater's ice cream. The finished lingered and it complemented the spicy burgers beautifully. Finally the Linne Calodo, this was a Zin dominated blend with syrah and mourvedre which added lushness to the wine. I have been wanting to try this wine for over a year, but the right time just never presented itself. I am glad to have finally had the opportunity, it is a very nice wine with a complex blend of Red and Blue fruit and the same lushness that I associate with southern Rhone wines. Calodo actually has another Zin blend which I imagine is also very good and will now have to try. All of these wines went very well with our picnic fair. The Magito was over powered by the other wines, but this was not unexpected, as it is priced at less than half of the other four. I think the Seghesio for the money is worth the splurge, however for those of you on a budget, they also make a Sonoma label, which is in the mid teen price point and a very good wine. Finally, I have to mention alcohol levels, the Imagery at 14.5% was the lowest and the renwood at 15.5% the highest. People have gotten used to high levels of alcohol in wines, but it was only 12 to 15 years ago that Zins used to top out around 13.5%. While none of these wines were "hot" ( having noticeable alcohol flavor), I would just as soon see the levels drop some, as lower levels allow for safer enjoyment of this wonderful wine.

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