7 Deadly Zins Zinfandel 2016, Lodi
I really like it when great packaging and a good wine come together, as it does with 7 Deadly Zins ($19-21).
It’s pretty easy these days to come up with a good marketing program that makes people want to try your wine. But that only lasts for so long. If you don’t have the wine to back up the marketing, people stop buying your wine.
American wine drinkers have gotten sophisticated enough to not buy really expensive wine just because some expert thinks it’s special. They also will not buy an inexpensive wine just because the price is right. The wine itself has to capture your imagination.
7 Deadly Zins Zinfandel grew out of the imagination of Michael and David Phillips, who blamed their Catholic school upbringing for the name of this wine. When they launched the brand in 2002, the name also referred to the seven certified sustainable old-vine zinfandel vineyards used to create the blend.
It worked and now the wine is the best selling zinfandel in its category.
The label has a stylized 7 that also looks like a Z with a halo over it. The back label has some funny bits about hedonism, lust and pride. It all makes for a memorable package.
The first thing you notice when you pour a glass is the inky dark, almost purple color. It is an aromatic wine, with hints of dark fruit, leather and oak wafting out of the glass. Complex flavors of jammy dark fruits, currants and toffee follow, with a lingering spice finish. It is a round, layered wine with a silky mouthfeel.
The grapes are grown in Lodi, which is known for its great zinfandel. The Mediterranean-like climate with warm days and cool nights also is ideal for merlot, chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon and sauvignon blanc.
The winery also produces 7 Deadly Red, a blend of zinfandel, petite sirah, cabernet sauvignon and merlot.
The wine is available at local supermarkets, and other locations such as Costco, Walmart and Target, often at prices below the suggested retail.
In case you have forgotten, the seven deadly sins are wrath, greed, envy, vanity, sloth, gluttony and lust. Drinking this delicious wine could make you susceptible to several of those sins.
About 300,000 cases of the wine are sold every year.
Winery: This wine sprang from the creative souls at Michael David Winery, known for premium quality wines and clever, eye-catching labels. The roots of Michael David Winery go back to great great grandfather Andrew Harshner and his wife Lucille who homesteaded 160 acres near Lodi, CA, following the Civil War in the 1860s.
Vegetable farming led to fruit farming which led to grape growing which led to wine making. David started his first winery in 1984 and was joined by his brother Michael five years later.
Last fall Michael David Winery sold the 7 Deadly Zins brand to The Wine Group.
“We think it’s a great thing that The Wine Group will be more involved in Lodi,” David Phillips told Wine Business Monthly at the time of the sale. “It’s great for Lodi, for the growers, for everybody.”
The Wine Group includes such brands as Franzia, Cupcake, Stave & Steel, Almaden, Benziger, Big House Wine Co., Concannon, Flip Flop, Imagery, McManis Family Vineyards and Trapiche.
The Wine Group originated within Coca-Cola Bottling of New York when consumer product companies were getting into the wine business. After a leveraged buy-out in 1981 The Wine Group became a privately held company owned by its executives in 1984.
The company continued to grow through acquisitions and by creating new brands. Looking at their past practices, I would say the clever marketing and great wine at 7 Deadly Zins will only intensify under The Wine Group.
Goes with: We had 7 Deadly Zins with chop suey, a soup I make from a recipe handed down from my mother. It’s a rich, meaty soup, but because it has a generous portion of soy sauce, it can be tricky to pair with wine.
The rich, lush fruit flavors of 7 Deadly smooths out the soy sauce and brings out the flavors in the beef and pork. It was a terrific meal.
7 Deadly Zins also would pair well with pizza, most grilled meat, tomato sauce and pasta, hamburgers and a wide variety of cheeses.
Here’s the recipe for chop suey:
[box] Chop Suey
2 pounds beef and pork trimmed and cut to bite-sized pieces
3 tablespoons shortening
3 large cartons of beef broth or stock
1 cup onion chopped
2 cups celery chopped
2 bunches green onions, sliced thinly
1 tablespoon molasses
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons corn starch
1/2 cup cold water
Melt shortening in Dutch oven. Add meat and onions and brown. (Sometimes I add veal to the beef and pork, if I can find it.)
Add celery, broth, about a half cup of hot water and salt to taste. Cover and simmer until meat is tender, about 30 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and cook for 10 more minutes.
Mix corn starch into the cold water. Stir into the chop suey to thicken the broth. Cook about 10 more minutes until the broth thickens slightly. Serve over rice. Makes eight servings. [/box]
If you have questions about wine you can email Dennis Sodomka at email@example.com