Wines from California
American wine consumption more than doubled during Prohibition, from about 60 million to 150 million gallons, mostly due to families making wine at home.
Wines for this lesson include: a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, a Chardonnay, a Merlot from anywhere in California, a Pinot Noir from the Russian River, Carneros, or Santa Barbara, a Zinfandel and a Petite Sirah.
For food pairings, it was a berry kind of night…
Our wines included 5 reds and 1 white. The highlight of the evening (at least for me) was our final wine, Rancho Zabaco Zinfandel. Zinfandel is a genetic twin to Primitivo but the wine reminds me of Amarone which I quite enjoyed when we tasted it in Lesson 10.
Here’s what we tried:
2008 Starmont Chardonnay, 100% Chardonnay from Napa Valley ($20.49). Smelled a bit of apples and vanilla, was medium acid, not sweet, full bodied with fairly high alcohol and a slightly buttery feel in the mouth.
2009 Castle Rock Pinot Noir, 100% Pinot Noir from the Russian River area in CA ($18.99). This light ruby colored wine smelled light and fruity – a bit of strawberries, had high acid, soft tannins and again, higher alcohol. It had a light body with a quick and warming finish.
2006 Peachy Canyon Petite Sirah, 100% Petite Sirah from Paso Robles ($16.97). The wine had very deep color, smelled of dark fruits with a hint of bramble. High alcohol, high tannins, light body, quick finish. Paired well with cocoa covered almond.
2006 Estancia Merlot, 100% Merlot from Keyes Canyon Ranches ($14.77). This dark ruby wine had hints of black currant, anise and smoke. Higher in acid, medium tannins, light body, fairly quick finish, improved on airation.
2008 Avalon Cabernet Sauvignon, 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot from Napa valley ($16.99). Deep ruby, hints of dark fruits and vanilla, firm tannins, sweeter than the previous Merlot, light to medium body, well balanced.
2008 Ranch Zabaco Zinfandel, 91% Zinfandel, 9% Petite Sirah from Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma ($13.97 on sale marked down from $22 something). Super dark ruby, smell is reminiscent of Port – like cinnamon, raisins, cherry, blackberry. Very balanced – good level of acidity and tannins. Full bodied and paired excellently with chocolate covered strawberries. For me and for a number of folks this wine was the #1 of the night. Dave and I liked it so much we went back and bought a case just to have around. This was the first time either of us had ever bought a case of wine so this is really saying something. (Of course we split the case with Vicky and Dennis so technically we only bought 1/2 a case but never mind that.) Now we will have to make a bunch more chocolate covered strawberries to eat with it. YUM!
Next time we move on to wines from Washington and Oregon. Cheers!