Frank Family Napa Valley Zinfandel.
Frank Family Napa Valley Zinfandel.

W ell, my son Michael was home from Atlanta for a Thanksgiving visit, and we continued the feasting throughout the weekend. After roasting one turkey and frying another one, we had plenty of leftovers. Not to mention hamburgers and shrimp.

Trying to be creative, he and I made turkey tacos one night, and since the prodigal son was home I pulled out a special Zinfandel. (I couldn’t find a fatted calf.)


It was a great wine that made a pretty good meal even better.

Michael with our leftover dinner and the first Advent candle lit.
Michael with our leftover dinner and the first Advent candle lit.

We had the 2011 Frank Family Napa Valley Zinfandel. It was full of rich, luscious fruit that filled your mouth with juicy goodness. It begins with a deep magenta color in the glass, and a delicate red fruit and violet scent. As you swirl the glass, the aromas keep getting stronger.

It is a medium-bodied Zin with juicy black cherry pie and black pepper flavors. It is an elegant, soft, smooth wine, and not a fruit bomb like some Zinfandels. The smooth finish is long and lingering.

I thought the wine was a little too smooth for Zinfandel, and I was right. I discovered the wine is 89% Zinfandel and 11% Petite Sirah. The Petite Sirah gives the wine its elegant, juicy palate. You can taste the oak from the aging, but it blends seamlessly with the fruit. It is a well-made wine.

The wine spent 18 months in 35% new French oak barrels, and 65% once and twice-filled French oak barrels.

Frank Family makes a wide array of special wines, and its Zinfandel is some of the best in Napa Valley.

From: Napa Valley
Winery: Former Disney executive Rich Frank started visiting Napa Valley from his home in Los Angeles in the late 1980s and eventually bought the historic Larkmead property, which had been home to Kornell Champagne Cellars.

Rich and Connie Frank bought the property with Koerner Rombauer and then bought Rombauer out in 2007. Since the first vintage in 1992 they have made outstanding wines.

The old Larkmead building, which dates back to 1884, is on the Registry of National Historic Places, but the winery is new. It opened a new tasting room in 2008 in a 1930s Craftsman home. The tasting room has been one of the most popular in Napa Valley for years, and won the reader’s choice award from the San Francisco Chronicle in 2010 and 2011.

The winery makes a range of varietals, including Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and some incredible sparkling wines. We had the Frank Family Rouge sparkling wine for Thanksgiving, and it drew raves.

The wines are made from 200 acres the family owns on parcels scattered throughout Napa Valley.

Rich Frank now also runs his own entertainment company, Prospect Park, which is developing television projects.

Cost: $36.75
Year: 2011

Teri, Jamie and Michael around the dinner table.
Teri, Jamie and Michael around the dinner table.

Goes with: We had it with turkey tacos, tortilla chips and refried beans topped with a four-cheese Mexican blend. I love Mexican restaurant food, but when I have leftover poultry I like to make tacos or enchiladas. The food doesn’t feel like leftovers when you put the meat in a Mexican dish.

We found standup taco shells that have flat bottoms and hold more goodies than regular taco shells. So we filled them up with chopped turkey warmed in the taco seasoning that comes in an envelope, chopped lettuce, chopped tomatoes, green onions, grated cheese and salsa from Vallarta. What a feast!

The wine was a great match, as the rich, luscious fruit and spice cut through the hot spiciness of the tacos and salsa.

It also would pair well with pizza, burgers, grilled meats of all kinds and hard cheeses.

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