02 June 2014

2012 Rancho Zabaco Zinfandel

Summer is here, but it doesn't mean that you have to pack away the red wines quite yet. The classic pairing for the BBQ is California Zinfandel, though I've got a lot of other thoughts on the matter. However, sometimes traditions are there for a reason, and it's a style that works well with both flame and smoke applied to meat outdoors. (The classic grilling vs. barbecue argument that is reaching levels of conflict not seen since the Thirty Years' War. While I understand the distinction, I have no problem with the generic term BBQ as applied to food cooked outside involving fire.)

I appreciate the combination when the food is served indoors. If I'm outside during a hot Memphis summer, I prefer iced tea or a light white or dry rosé served well-chilled. At a recent cookout I was sipping Vinho Verde with smoked brisket, because sometimes, it's just too damned hot to be drinking red wine with dinner out in the sun.

This particular bottle of Sonoma Zin comes from Rancho Zabaco, who offer four different bottles with varying levels of specific grape origin.

2012 Rancho Zabaco Zinfandel
Sonoma, California
93% Zinfandel, 7% Petite Sirah
$15, 14.88% abv.

Classic aromas of black plum and leather. Even without decanting the wine shows mild tannins, a round mouthfeel, and a short finish. Good balance with great dark fruit flavors that should hold up well against that slow-smoked pork and molasses-based sauce.

Note: This wine was provided as a sample for review.

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