Wine Group Lesson 14 – Moving into the USA

Posted by on July 1, 2011
Wines from California
California wine

Wines from California - 5 reds, 1 white

The Everyday Guide to Wine says:

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…

Fresh picked strawberries

Fresh picked strawberries from Brad and Bonnie, Lora's parents. Thank you.

Fresh berry gourmet arrangement.

Dave's a gourmet cook - check out his fancy berry arrangement. Pretty.


Sushi from Vicky - deelish.

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!

Comments are closed.