Artezin Zinfandel 2016, Mendocino
Cost: $17-19
Y ou can find history all around you. That certainly is true in the wine industry, where winemakers honor history, even while trying new techniques or new styles
In parts of central and northern California immigrant farmers arrived and immediately planted grape vines they had brought with them from Europe. Many of these farmers were from Italy, and they planted a lot of zinfandel.
They often wanted big, dark, robust wines, so they blended their zinfandel with other varietals such as carignan and petite sirah. Some vineyards had various varietals mixed throughout the vineyard. When they picked they created a field blend of all the different grapes and fermented them together.
The folks at Artezin keep their vines separate, but they did mix in 14 percent petite sirah and two percent carignan with 84 percent zinfandel for this wonderful wine.
The wine is a gorgeous red in the glass with tints of violet on the edges. It opens with pleasant aromas of cherry, pomegranate and boysenberry with touches of black pepper and spice. The lush mouthfeel presents multiple fruit flavors, predominantly raspberry, currants, cinnamon and clove. The finish lingers with hints of toasted oak.
A simpler way to say that is the wine is warm and smooth in your mouth, with many pleasant fruit flavors. The wine is well-rounded, with no sharp edges spoiling the pleasure.
The wine is 100 percent barrel aged, mostly in French oak.
Some zins can finish with a high alcohol content, but this one comes in at a relatively modest 14.5 percent.
This is one of those wines that is really fun to drink.
Winery: Artezin is one of the labels produced by the Hess Collection. The winery sits high on Mt. Veeder and includes a spectacular art collection, which I suspect is part of the wordplay of the name. Art + Zin=Artezin, or artisan.
The winery says the vision behind Artezin is to honor the art of making zinfandel from old vine plantings and to work with family-owned farms throughout Mendocino and Sonoma counties.
Artezin wines have been handcrafted by winemaker Randle Johnson since Artezin’s founding in 2002. His work reflects the tradition of zinfandel winemaking that has been handed down through generations.
Artezin focuses on heirloom varieties particularly suited to their terroirs. They work with growers who practice sustainable farming.
The winery makes one other zin, the Collins Vineyard Zinfandel, a Garzini Ranch petite sirah, an old vines carignan and a Napa Valley charbono.
Hess Family Wine Estates is a family-owned, fifth-generation company with a deep commitment to responsible agricultural and business practices. Their portfolio includes The Hess Collection, Colomé, Amalaya, Artezin and MacPhail Wines.
Grilled shrimp, rice and salad was a great meal with Artezin zinfandel.
Goes with: We had this delicious wine with grilled marinated shrimp, a wild rice blend and a tossed salad. What a treat.
One of the things I love about living in Augusta is that I can grill outside all year long. There usually only a few days (or some years a few weeks) when it’s not pleasant enough to grill.
I marinated the shrimp in soy sauce, orange juice, sugar and ginger. They marinated in a zip lock bag in the refrigerator for about an hour before I put them on skewers.
I grilled them over medium heat for about 7-8 minutes per side. You could even cook them for a shorter time if the heat is a bit higher. The trick is to not overcook the shrimp; they can get tough and stringy.
I think the soy sauce and ginger are what makes this work so well with zinfandel. It is not a wine usually associated with seafood, but this combination was terrific. Zinfandel is a versatile wine, and the lively fruit in Artezin make it even more versatile.
This also would go with hamburgers, grilled duck, grilled pork chops, hearty stews and strong cheeses.

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