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Posts tagged “Zinfandel

Vino Veritas: Michael & David Wines

Michael & David Winery

The Phillips boys know wine. They are fifth generation wine growers and they specialize in Rhone style wines as well as the mighty Zinfandel grape that the Lodi region of California is known for. This tasting featured two of their offerings, the reserve Zinfandel known as Earthquake, and a little known varietal called Symphony.

2006 Earthquake Zinfandel


Old Lodi Vines, yielding supreme
Like ancient volcanoes, releasing their steam.

Danger is present, felt but unseen
Vines of such power, such high self-esteem.

Intentionally hostile, purposely bold
Nice not an option, when truth must be told.

Energy captured, awaiting release
Zinfandel Vines, the great seismic beasts.

Instilling such fear, a risk few will take
Nothing prepares you for the Zinfandel Quake.

Are you ready for the big one?


Put simply, this big brother to Michael & David’s Seven Deadly Zins is a powerhouse of flavor. Big and jammy, it is a mouthful of bright raspberries with hints of clove, vanilla, coffee, chocolate and wood spices that linger through the long smooth finish. This wine fears no food. Bring on the beef, the lamb and if you happen to have a Tuscan boar turning on a spit nearby (Or some nice smoked and stuffed chops if you don’t), bring that too. This is also one of those dry red wines that is a great pairing for chocolate desserts, so if there is a chocolate cake waiting in the wings after the boar, be sure to save a glass.

 2007 Michael and David Symphony

Symphony is a hybrid of Muscat  de Alexandria and Grenache Gris developed in the 1940’s by Dr. Harold Olmo at U.C. Davis. The Michael and David vines were some of the first planted of this varietal which is almost exclusively found in California.

I have had the Symphony grape on one other occasion (actually grown outside of California) and it seemed to be a combination of a Gewrztraminer and a Gruner giving it a floral lightness combined with a solidly acidic punch. The Michael and David Symphony is a horse of an entirely different color probably due to the much warmer climate of Lodi. This Symphony is much sweeter with an almost citrusy/melony juicyness followed by an acidic finish that contains a slight funkyness shown by some muscat wines. It is quite tasty, but unique. Because it has a unique flavor profile I’m kind of having a hard time with food pairings except to say that spicy asian flavors like Thai food would be the best compliment. Honestly, the best pairing for this wine may just be a group of good friends and a couple of good stories after a hectic week.


Vino Veritas: Valentine’s Day Wines

Klinker Brick Old Vine Zinfandel

2006 Lodi, California

Harvested from Zinfandel vines older than fifty years, old vine Zinfandel wines tend to have a deeper richness and complexity.

Tasting Notes:

Color:  Deep rich red with a hint of purple.

Nose:  Light and fruity.

Taste:  Lots of bright cherry-berry goodness with very little tannin (it is almost sweet) and a long, long lingering finish.



Tomasello Winery

Blackberry Wine

Made from 100%  blackberry fruit.

Tasting Notes:

Color:  Pale reddish-brown.

Nose:  Sweet and very slightly spicy blackberry.

Taste:  Like blackberry cobbler in a glass. It is almost as rich as a ruby port without the alcohol heat of a fortified wine.


Normally this is the part where I offer food pairings to go with the wines being tasted. I usually base that on what I am tasting at the moment from the wine and what I think would go nicely with it. However, this time around I’ve specifically chosen these wines to accompany a specific food, in this case chocolate cake. Now, before somebody thinks they misread that, yes, dry red wine (Zinfandel) and chocolate cake (brownies too!). Klinker Brick Old Vine Zinfandel in previous vintages had a darker fruit and almost cocoa-like quality that made it a phenomenal match for chocolates (shared flavors between foods and wines make great pairings). The bad news is that the 2006 vintage seems to be lighter and fruitier without the cocoa darkness. The good news is that the almost sweet character of the 2006 vintage is still a great match for chocolates, specifically dark chocolates. The bitterness of the dark chocolate in contrast to the brightness of the wine will create a flavor profile that is unique and very tasty (sometimes contrast in flavor is a good thing too).

Trust me, you will not be disappointed.

Tomasello’s blackberry wine is a bit more utilitarian. This port-like fruit bomb is also great with dark and milk chocolate pieces, cheesecake, angel food cake (really almost any cake), and when mixed with vodka makes a really great martini. If your Valentine’s Day tradition includes a bottle of bubbly (and if it doesn’t it should), a splash of blackberry wine in your flute makes it something extra special.

Vino Veritas: Steele Writer’s Block Zinfandel 2005

Steele Vineyards Writer’s Block Zinfandel

2005 Lake County, California

Jed Steele is a heck of a winemaker (as well as being an all-around really nice guy according to friends of mine). The Zinfandel grape seems to be one of his very favorites and the Writer’s Block wines show his very considerable talents.

Tasting Notes:

Color: A nice brickish ruby.

Nose: Dark fruit with woody/spicy notes.

Taste: Plenty of jammy dark cherry and plum flavors with a nice herbal/clove/cedar spiciness.

If you have a couple of racks of ribs on the grill, or a nice roast in the oven (heck, a roast beef sandwich would work), I’d be thinking of opening up a bottle of this Zinfandel. However, it isn’t too tannic for a smoked, grilled and/or stuffed pork chop.