Sunday, February 28, 2010

2004 Nalle Zinfandel for OTBN

The wine of choice for Open That Bottle Night was a 2004 Nalle Zinfandel from California's Dry Creek Valley.  Zinfandel is sort of like a long, lost love to me.  At one time I owned and drank quite a bit of it.  It was good and it was inexpensive and there was plenty of it.  Then some vintners began to take it more seriously and boosted the extract, the alcohol levels and tannin and oak to a point where it became a caricature of itself.  Oh, they also boosted the prices greatly since someone had to pay.  Dry Creek Valley seemed to be a hold out for a time.  Rafinelli and Quivira made wonderful Zins, but now even those wineries are pushing 15% alcohol and $30+.   

So, there was a pan seared rib steak and a baked potato with black truffle salt, butter and a little sour cream for dinner and the cork came out of the Nalle Zin, all 13.9% alcohol of it.

The color was medium and not inky dark, the nose was alive with red and black raspberries and a hint of clean, dry earth.   The taste was the berries again over a solid core of earth.  The body was medium and perky with acid and perfectly ripe fruit that never was allowed to over ripen.  The tannins were dry and they were knitted into the whole package in perfect proportion.  This is a wine that made me smile.  It flirted with elegance, but in the end it was just a happy wine that went great with the steak and potatoes.  The owners of every winery that produces Zinfandel should be required to sit down with a bottle of this wine and a steak and then rethink their heavy handed, syrupy concoctions that resemble port more than a table wine. 

My only complaint is the price.  At $35 this isn't a cheap, every day wine, but if you get to 'jonesing' for a zinfandel with a steak don't bother looking any farther than this one.  So, my long, lost love is back, but she's a much more expensive woman now.

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