Thursday, August 13, 2009
Wine Blogging Wednesday #60
Zinfandel has a special place in my pantheon of wines. When I was starting down the road to being a wino, I became friends with a guy who had been buying zins since the late 1970s.
Needless to say, being friends with a complete zin-nut exposes you some really great wines. He was a big fan of Ridge Vineyards, and I tasted some extraordinary Ridge wines and other magnificent zins thanks to him.
So, I was thrilled that Megan at Wannabe Wino selected zinfandel for the theme of Wine Blogging Wednesday #60. It gave me an excuse to seek out something new and different…and to spend a little more than my usual budget.
The wine I picked was Fritz Winery Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley 2005 ($17.99, Green’s). Dry Creek is a great region for zinfandel, and 2005 was a good year overall for California. It’s also an estate-bottled wine, which I always like.
Right next to the bottle I selected was a Fritz 2005 “barrel select” zinfandel for almost double the price, which had received a 91 point rating from one of the wine magazines. This told me that the winery most likely had a stellar vintage worthy of a top-dollar wine. That also told me that their front-line wine was probably pretty damn good.
I was correct. One whiff of the nose gave up a heady mixture of red and black fruits along with menthol and spice. The first sip was more of the same with a lush, rich mouthfeel and a wonderfully long finish culminating with a firm grip of tannin.
I don’t throw around that kind of wine speak lightly. It’s really good stuff.
Megan asked us to grill or barbecue something to go along with the zin, but rainy weather kept my cooking efforts indoors. I ended up pan-searing some tenderloin fillets and serving them up with my go-to favorites: balsamic reduction and some goat cheese to top the steaks, and roasted garlic mashed potatoes and sautéed spinach on the side.
Any longtime readers know that steaks are my Achilles Heel. I’ve been on a roll lately, so I was due for a screw up. For all my talk about being a decent cook, I've ruined more steaks than I care to think about, which is somewhat astounding because I like them pretty rare.
You wouldn’t think it would be that damn hard.
But, they were thin fillets, and I left them in the pan a little too long. The steaks ended up being served with an extra helping of profanity. Sigh. At least I had an excellent wine to distract me.
Over the course of dinner, the Fritz zin opened up even more. We tossed around descriptors as we sipped: strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, black cherry, raisin, cinnamon, anise, mint and few more I forgot.
Thanks to Megan for picking a great theme and to WBW founding father, Lenn Thompson.